This week: It's been a lot of fun

The End

Friday 23rd December 2016

When I started Lost in Thought I was in a pretty dark place. Four of my good friends had recently left the town where I live, and I was feeling lonely. This is the story of how I started this blog, and why I'm ending it. 


A dark place

In the autumn of 2014, I wasn't very happy. In addition to my friends leaving, work was stressing me out. I was thinking that I'd had enough of running my own business. It was affecting my sleep, and that was making me tired and annoyed. I dreamed of quitting work and cycling around the world. 

Kat and I weren't getting on that well either. She was starting to feel more like a friend than a partner, and I didn't feel loved. 

My notes from that time read:

I feel trapped and I can't make the most of life.
I don't have a purpose. I'm just sitting here waiting and hoping life will improve.
I want to experience everything the world has to offer. 

Maybe I just need a new hobby?



The meta-hobby

And that's how I came up with the idea for Lost In Thought.

Rather than one new leisure activity, I would start the meta-hobby, industrialising the process to have as many new experiences as possible. 

So I sat down and wrote a list of all the things I wanted to do - there were about fifty items on the original list.

Many of them were learning to make different things: butter; salt; charcoal; a sword.

Some of these things are still on the list two years later, and I hope to make them one day: golden syrup, elephant toothpaste (what?); magnetic putty. 

Other items were experiences I wanted to have: drive an electric carstay silent for a day; be fruitarian for a week.

And some of those are still to be experienced: prepare a body for burial; find a tardigrade; hold a fluorescent tube under a power line and watch it light up.  




A new me

I set aside Fridays for my new hobby. Friday mornings I check my work email and reply to anything urgent, then leave the office to add something new to my life.

Some posts took a few hours like making a spectroscope, while others took a month or more, like building a pizza oven.

Lost in Thought has made time pass more slowly for me, it's taught me to be more inquisitive and think more analytically. I love having the time to consider everything in as much detail as I want. For me, time is the ultimate luxury.

I know it sounds daft, but Lost in Thought has given a real purpose to my life and has completely rejuvenated me. Losing 5% of my body fat probably helped.

I've astounded myself with the things that I've managed to do, from driving my car on a race track to casting my own sword. Yes, it's probably a mid-life crisis, but I'm really enjoying it!

I honestly feel like a totally different person to that sad Mat of late 2014. I have a renewed enthusiasm for the world and a love for life. It's given me huge amounts of confidence and made me realise that I can do just about anything if I put my mind to it!

I've done all sorts of things that I would have never expected, from learning lace-making to eating lungs, and I've loved every minute of it. Except maybe the lungs.

In addition to the posts I've published here, I've written others that are just for a select group of people, and one that I wrote just for myself. 

I've been overwhelmed by the number of people who've read my posts. 5,000 people have read about my experiences making salt from seawater, and 6,000 read my post about making Nutella from scratch. The video of making my bronze sword has had over 125,000 views on Youtube!

I've discovered that I love writing, and I've been overjoyed to find that other people have enjoyed reading it, getting involved with comments and suggestions about new experiences I might enjoy. I want to thank you with all my heart for reading this.




The end

But it's come to an end now.

Two days ago Kat and I moved to Valencia in Spain for a new adventure for a couple of years. Our lives have become considerably more complicated, where even a trip to the supermarket is a fascinating experience. 

I've spent the last few months trying to decide whether to carry on writing Lost in Thought from Spain. I'd love to chronicle everything I'll be experiencing, but I think it's going to be challenging enough for me just to live it without also having to write about it. 

But more importantly, I've come to realise that writing this blog was just another hobby for me. It's been beautiful and has changed me more than I can express, but I think I've had enough of it. I might well write the occasional post, but this is the last regular post for now. 

Thanks for coming with me on this journey, and I hope to see you in Spain!



Previously on Lost In Thought...

Five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall

Five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall

In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...

Read more

Owning less stuff

Owning less stuff

We're off to Spain for new adventures in a couple of weeks, and we've spent the last three months sorting our possessions into the four S's: ship, store, sell or skip...

Read more

What's this about?

Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.

Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.

Also in Inside my brain...

Drink driving

Drink driving

Having previously said I don't drink, I'm going to see how drunk I can get and still be under the UK alcohol limit...

Also in Inside my brain...



I've never understood nostalgia, it's always felt dishonest to me...