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What’s your “puffin” thing? The big thing you must do?

As you are reading this, hopefully I am on my way to, or landed on, the Isle of Mull. 

It’s my favourite place of them all. A few hours’ drive from my house, a 45 minute ferry, and...I’m literally a world away. It’s quiet. There are single track roads and few people. “Traffic” consists of Highland cows and sheep, who take their sweet time crossing the road. Or toddle along on the road ahead of you for ages (while you have sheer rock to your left and a drop off to the sea to your right). 

The views are incredible. The space is open. The peace is something that settles in the moment I get on the ferry. It’s like all the troubles and concerns and fears and confusions and challenges just fade away in the wake of the ferry rumbling through the waters, as I watch the mainland disappearing.

I haven’t gotten to visit Mull for 15 months. The last time I was there was on my birthday in 2020, in February. It’s been hard having it so near and yet so far away. 

In former times, when I’d go to Mull, I’d be going to get away from everything. Have some alone time, some peace and quiet, some space. Thanks to a worldwide pandemic and a leeeeeetle more of my own personal time with myself for a year, that’s not quite my goal this time. I still need the rest, and i definitely need the break from screens. I don’t think I’ve properly “turned off” in the past year. I am so grateful for my phone, which has been my way to stay connected with people when I wasn’t able to see them or visit them or have them in my home or hug them….and I’m also weary of it and looking forward to the fact that the house I’m staying in has no wifi and may have no phone signal, either. 

Whenever I travel anywhere, whether it’s for a day or a weekend or a week or longer, I always have ONE THING that I for sure want to do. Just one thing that matters the most, and if i do that, it doesn’t matter if I achieve anything else. It helps keep me from planning too many things and then being exhausted when I’m supposed to be resting. I have loads of other plans besides my ONE THING, but it’s also okay if I don’t get to any of them. 

It’s like if you were to go to Paris, and your ONE THING was seeing the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe yours would be the Louvre, or walk along the Seine, or go out to Versailles, or something else. It doesn’t matter why it’s your one thing - it’s yours. You get to decide. But say you had only a day or two, and you wanted to do loads. Choosing your ONE THING means if your plane is delayed, or you lose your luggage, or it pours rain every day of your trip, or the other tourist places on your list are closed for renovations….you’d still focus on seeing or doing your one thing, and you can be happy. 

I mentioned to a friend I was planning on going to Mull for a week, and they asked “what have you got planned on Mull?”, so I replied with this list: 

“I have major, major plans on mull:

1. Sleeping
2. Coffee and reading (maybe, but especially coffee) 
3. Walking 
4. Sleeping 
5. SEEING THE PUFFINS IM GOING TO SEE PUFFINS 
6. More walking 
7. Maybe a little journaling or reading but probably more sleeping 
8. Whisky distillery and chocolate shop 
9. Repeat steps 1-8”

As is clear from the list, seeing the puffins (point 5) is the big thing. I’ve booked the boat trip and will sail away to the uninhabited Treshnish Isles and wander about (carefully), watching the puffins fly in and fly out and waddle around and bring joy. 

Other than the puffin trip, everything else will work itself out. I have a book of “40 Walks on Mull and Iona” which I’m slowly, slowly working my way through. I may do one or two of those. I’ll definitely visit the whisky shop and buy more Ledaig and Tobermory whisky. And the chocolate shop for the best chocolate in the world. And reading and writing and sketching for my children’s book (on puffins, of course) and whatever else I want to. 

On Friday I was meeting with our marketing manager and we were talking about how much there is to do in our own PF marketing. Her lists of to-do’s are miles long, and even with getting help from our assistants and our admin and ops manager and the design team and me and the whole rest of the team there is still tons to do. Plus there are new things we haven’t started yet and want to….and budgets to create and events to plan and more team members to hire… 

….and she and I have a full day planned (in person, no less!!) to strategise our marketing. To take those lists and prioritise them. We’re conscious we could just talk all day long about All The Things, and barely scratch the surface.

So I told her about my trip to Mull and my plan to see the puffins, and how the puffins are the one thing. The big thing. The “if I achieve nothing else” thing. 

And I asked “for our marketing strategy day, what’s your puffin thing? What one thing do we for sure need to work on, discuss, plan out, and finish - even if we literally don’t touch anything else on our massive list?”

It was a good question for both of us. And it’s a good one for you. 

Steph is going to work on what her puffin thing is, and I’m going to see the actual puffins. 

What’s your puffin thing next week? 

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