Reader, I’ve been bad.
An entire season has passed without me writing to you. Last year I did a good job of charting the birth, growth and success of Falmouth Uncovered, but this summer I’ve not found my way into updating the story at all. To be fair, the main reason for my writing sloth has been the state of general contentment I’ve been in… but more on that later.
Firstly, let’s answer the obvious question. How has Falmouth Uncovered’s second year been?
Good. But not overwhelmingly so.
In spring I told all who would listen: ‘I’ve got an established brand now. The tour will hit new heights this year!’
I won’t go into the blow-by-blow of it, but essentially this didn’t happen. I had started to train another tour guide to help with the rush, but it became increasingly clear that this wasn’t a good idea. The numbers just weren’t there. Ticket sales generally bobbed between rubbish and okay, and I got accustomed to throwing myself into giving great tours for a handful of people, just like when I had first started up. There were some fantastically busy days, but these certainly weren’t as frequent as I would have liked.
There are some obvious reasons why:
Last year found Cornwall the busiest it will ever be.
Last year found a post-lockdown population hungry for (safe, outdoors) stimulation.
Last year found a post-lockdown population with unspent money to spend.
This year was a great deal quieter.
This year was overshadowed by a cost of living crisis.
This year was far, far too hot for an afternoon walking tour.
I had various plans for selling tickets in new places, but most of these didn’t pan out. That was partly because of me: the tenacious proactivity you need to really drive a business just wasn’t to hand.
Because, well… I was having too good of a time to get too stressed about it. When I started Falmouth Uncovered I was emerging from lockdown a directionless, disconnected chappy, desperate to build a life with some meaning. A sparse, lonely life can be a great platform for achievement — you have the unhappiness to drive you, and the time to get things done.
By the time I started touring again this year my life had been transformed. I had become someone with a reputation for knowing everyone, and it had become impossible to walk around town without a succession of pleasant catchings up. And beyond the acquaintance collective I had also found my way into an array of authentic, intimate friendships. I have always had a great capacity for connection, and this last year has seen that capacity break into a joyous gallop.
The interlocking tapestry of friendships, folky and otherwise, has created a new community in Falmouth this last year, and there are now a dozen or so bright souls happier for finding each other. I believe all humans truly wish for is to know and be known, and to find themselves part of something valuable. I know this is all sickingly earnest, but I've found just that!
The only issue is, of course, that contented days spent playing music on sandy beaches doesn’t exactly encourage one to work, work, work. Some people cannot help but drive themselves, but clearly, now my core needs are being met, I’m not that sort of person. I almost found myself feeling nostalgic for last year: ‘Sure, I may have been more unhappy, but I got so much done!’
But yes, anyhow, how has the tour actually gone? I am being a little hard on myself. The tour actually made more money this year than last year! Being hired to give tours to scores of newly arrived students in September certainly helped, but it’s also true that hundreds of tourists experienced Falmouth Uncovered over the last six months, and, it would seem, thought highly of the experience. I’ve got good at this, reader. There is no alternative to experience in forging a true professional.
I am now looking forward to another year. There is excitement: I ran a ghost tour on Halloween that went perfectly, so plans are afoot to make it a regular thing. But there are also questions: I’m about to turn thirty — should I be working a ‘proper’ job? Is Falmouth Uncovered my future, or just an enjoyable little project? Is it okay to make relatively little money in exchange for satisfaction and enough free time to play lots of music and love lots of people?
Who’s to say? But right now it all still feels right. And all you can ask for in life is to feel like you’re in the right place, doing the right thing.
I hope your year has been, despite it all, a pleasant one, good reader. Perhaps I’ll see you about Falmouth’s streets. Come and say ahoy, for you can trust that I’ll be happy to see you — bumping into people is now my favourite hobby.
Keep well, and Merry Christmas,
P.S I also developed type one diabetes this year but forgot to write about it. In short, it’s crap, but okay. Mince pies just need to be accompanied with the right amount of insulin.