Hi I’m Marc and in my last job I started my first day of work with odd shoes on. This was not intentional.
I think that I’m the product a largely dissatisfied generation. No access to the certainty of the baby boomers and yet born in a time when we were still expected to have a career path at the age of 15.
Well, I’m 47 now and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have at various points in my life been an intensive care nurse, a front end developer (that’s a computer programmer to you), a business owner and head of innovation at a large marketing agency.
If I had to choose a single thing in which I could claim a degree of expertise it is generalism. My parents didn’t really encourage me to achieve a great deal, so I’ve never seen any good reason why I shouldn’t be able to do anything I set my mind too. It seems to have worked so far.
If pressed, I think I am really rather good at making bread and making pizza. More on this later…
Marc Curtis at our recent Sense Supper Club in London
h3>What I’m up to in the real world.
My day job is running the innovation team for a global office solutions company. It’s interesting and challenging work and it draws on my fascination with problem solving and disruption.
However, ask me what I’d rather be doing and the answer will involve me showing you pictures from my instagram account of the food I’ve cooked, the things I’ve made and my two boys (which I also had a hand in making).
Marc’s home made pizza
I collect interests. I’m fascinated by finding new ways of doing traditional things. I love to bake sourdough (using a starter I captured), or hunt for mushrooms, or run barefoot (I completed the London marathon in 2012 with nothing on my feet), or build crazy projects like my pizza oven or my pallet shed.
So when my wife and I sat down to work out how we could escape the rat race and support ourselves doing what we think will bring us satisfaction, we looked at the activities that bring us joy – cooking, making, exercising etc – and considered how people normally react to finding out how difficult we’ve made our lives.
Many people will say that they don’t know where to start or that they don’t have enough time and it can certainly seem overwhelming to consider trying to change so much so quickly.
However, we didn’t wake up one morning and say “Lets bake bread, make all our food from scratch, run 10km, run a website, grow vegetables…”. We arrived at these activities over time by simple expedient of trying stuff and recognising that a lot of our time was spent slumped in front of the TV binging on netflix.
So our idea for Living Unplugged was this: provide people with a nudge. Show someone that making a loaf of bread is not a huge commitment, that exercise needn’t be a punishment, that ownership of a house full of stuff is not a destination.
We’re at the start of our journey. The website and newsletter are our initial attempt to crystalise our thinking and share some of the stuff that brings us joy.
The next step will be to run workshops and weekend retreats where people can come and learn new skills, share great food and return to their lives equipped with some of the tools they need to live a more intentional life.
Different need states require different locations. We moved to Kent specifically so we would have access to the countryside. I find that walking in the woods restores my sense of calm and helps my mind unravel into the sounds of the wind blowing through the birch leaves.
I do struggle with procrastination. For me, the most powerful way of getting things done is to have a deadline. I constantly amaze myself with what I’m able to achieve in a limited time. Sometimes the enemy of productivity is to much much time in which to complete a task.
Failing that, a long run normally gives me the energy and optimism to embark on new ventures. Some of my best ideas come to me at about the 10km mark.
As much as some activities are solitary experiences for me (writing, running etc), I love to bounce ideas of other people. We need to hear the opinions of others, and I know that I always benefit from discourse and disagreement.
Other people provide that random element that so often sparks creative thinking or problem solving.
Living Unplugged is a passion for both me and my wife, so we inspire each other to create great food and great experiences for ourselves and our kids. When we remember to, we try and record some of these moments on the website – but for us, this is always secondary to enjoying the moment in real life.
I live in Kent, just outside Ashford. We moved here for the space. We have a garden (an impossibility in London) and access to acres and acres of woodland – which we make use of every weekend.
The older I get the more I appreciate natural beauty. Knowing that my weekends are going to be filled with woodland walks, climbing trees with the kids and walking the dog make the week days easier to deal with.
Other than simply enjoying the Kent countryside, you might consider visiting the beaches along the Kent coast which are also stunning.
There have been so many points in my life where I’ve changed direction in either my career or personal life. But the biggest change was when I met Laura, my wife and found out what it really means to love another person. I can pretty much trace all of the good things in my life back to the moment I met her.
Bread is a constant challenge. Every loaf is different, every bake has the potential to go wrong or be the best loaf you’ve ever made. I know I’ll always be learning and (hopefully) improving my skills. If you want my favourite recipe, it’s got to be my Soughdough…
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