He had the courage and did what many people are just dreaming about. He followed his heart and left something good and secure for something new, exciting and unknown.
Ryan Scott is a 39 years old Scottish guy with a passion for trailrunning and the outdoor lifestyle.
Only a few weeks ago Ryan and his family (Fiancée Jo and two children, Ferdinand 5 and Rosa 2) took the step fully and moved from the countryside outside Glasgow in Scotland to St Gervais les Bains in the French Alps.
This is the beginning of a new journey for Ryan and his family and many challenges and exciting adventures are waiting for them.
The situation right now is that Ryan splits his time between being a stay-at-home parent and his trailrunning business, TrailFest.
TrailFest started as a one-day trailrunning festival in Scotland 2015 and has since evolved into one of the biggest trailrunning communities in Scotland with regular group runs and a trail race series which was launched in 2018.
And the best part? Ryan manages his Scottish business online from his apartment in the beautiful French alps! I had to admit that I’m a little jealous about that myself.
Next step in life for Ryan is to grow TrailFest and open up more trailrunning opportunities across Scotland.
This is Ryan’s story…
Your passion for SkyRunning? Where is that coming from?
I started climbing the mountains in Scotland with my Dad as a teenager. I left the mountains behind for many years in my 20s until I discovered trailrunning in 2010. Since then I have been increasingly drawn to mountain ultras and it is here that I am most excited. The challenge to scale endless ascents and descents over and over on long mountain races is both daunting and rewarding. My most favourite part of running is a long, technical descent. I’m a great descender and it is here I can overtake many runners and feel like I’m flying.
It took me 35 years to really start finding my direction in life and tune in to what I really wanted to do. But now I know. I feel deeply connected to nature and want to live a life full of outdoors experiences together with my family.
You have done a change of direction in life that many people are dreaming about. Can you please tell us a little about that?
I was a communications and marketing officer for nearly 10 years. Before that I worked in many things: horticulture, the military, bar work, driving jobs, student.
We moved with our children from Scotland (just north of Glasgow) to St Gervais les Bains in the French Alps in December 2018.
We did this for a number of reasons:
- We both lived in the French Alps in 2011, but it didn’t work out. Ever since then we have felt a very strong urge to return
- We were not happy with the situation around Brexit and felt we would be better to leave the UK before Brexit happens
- We had been speaking about moving back to France for a long time – when we reflected, we realised that years of our lives were passing while we did nothing about it and we did not want a life of regret
- Our children are at a good age to move, so we felt we should move before they are much older.
How did you do it?
Every holiday we had, we spent in the French Alps. In summer 2018 we decided to spend a whole month in Chamonix to see how the children got on for a longer period there. They loved it and we were both able to do work throughout the month. When we got back to Scotland, we realised that we knew our answer– we had to move!
We spent 6 weeks planning out options and how to go about moving and selling our house. We then spent 4 weeks decluttering our house before we put it up for sale and it sold in 4 weeks! The buyers wanted to move in before Christmas (giving us 8 weeks to move out), so we moved out on the 5th of December. Our son was still at school, so we put our stuff in storage and used a local Airbnb to stay in while he finished his school term. We then toured round family over Christmas before embarking on a 4-day road trip from the UK to our new home.
Now we have been in St Gervais for 8 weeks and it has been brilliant! My fiancée and I are both falling back in love with running, our children are having a great time (skiing, ice skating etc) and so far, St Gervais has been the most friendly, welcoming place we have ever lived in.
I put this down to making the decisions to do the things that make you happy in the place you need to be which puts your life in alignment – in flow.
Which are your personal strengths that has helped you through this journey?
I never give up hope, though I can come close to it at times. I am passionate about trailrunning, being outdoors and making my business a success. I am determined and tenacious (this is applicable both in building a business and running ultras). I am full of love for my family which gives me strength.
Now when you are settled. Which are the biggest differences between Scotland and the French alps?
It’s definitely the weather. In the West of Scotland it was raining a lot of the time, and here in France the sun is never far away! This makes a big difference for us with the children – it’s much more pleasant to play outdoors without them getting cold and wet every time. It makes life so much easier and more enjoyable here. Where we lived in Scotland meant we had to use the car for every journey, but now we walk everywhere; to school, the playpark and, of course, the local bar!
Do you have any dreams and goals that you like to share?
I’d love to know what it feels like to finish on a podium, but the age of my children just now means this is a long way off happening. As for my business goals, I’d like to see TrailFest grow and evolve.
Races I’d love to run: UTMR, UTMB, Ultra Pirineu. Zegama. Glen Coe Skyline. Ultra Trail Petit Saint Bernard.
How does your game plan look like for that?
Currently no game plan on the running side of things, except for working with my mentor in growing my trail-business.
What is your advice to other “hard working office people” that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains?
The mountains are there, but they are not waiting for you. Only you can make the decision to change your life into what you really want it to be. Making no decision is not an option as it’s a default to the status quo – so no decision is a decision to stay put and keep dreaming. The fears are real and will not go away, but bravery is facing up to those fears and doing it anyway. And once you start doing what you’re passionate about and being where your heart longs you to be, life suddenly become easy and bloody brilliant! So, give yourself a deadline and go and do it.
Do you have anything else in your life that you like to share or talk about?
I sometimes have periods of depression and anxiety. I started blogging about these 3 years ago to help give me an outlet. It has been surprising to me to have received so many messages from friends say they feel similar, yet to me and the world nobody would know. I think more people, men especially, should learn to be more trusting of people and be more open about how they feel. Not only would it help them to feel less alone, but there is also a great inner strength in being open. The problem in the UK is scary: suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.
Name: Ryan Scott
Family: Fiancée (Jo) and two children (Ferdinand, 5 years old & Rosa, 2 years old)
Country/town: France/St Gervais les Bains
Running level: Amateur
Favourite races: Maxi Race France, Ring of Steall Skyrace (Scotland), Mamores VK (Scotland), Marathon du Mont Blanc, Classic Quarter Ultra (England)
Instagram: @trailfestscot & @ryanjohnscott
Thank you, Ryan, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! Wishing you all the best luck in the future both with your trailrunning business and your SkyRunning.