Tracy Chapman, Owner of Yorkshire Wolds Photography and Glamping
Offering a range of photography courses alongside a glamping site with four pods and four converted railway wagons as accommodation
Surviving breast cancer 15 years ago gave me a different perspective on life and really made me question what I wanted out of it.
Back then, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry as an operations manager. It was a big, busy role I’d worked hard to reach – having ascended the corporate ladder within the same company for more than a decade. I’d enjoyed my career, but after initially receiving the all clear and then undergoing preventative surgery two years later when I discovered my BRCA2 gene was defective – putting me at greater risk of the cancer returning – I was ready to take my life back.
One day, sitting in my beautiful glass-walled office on a summer’s day, I thought: ‘I don’t want to be sitting in here; I want to be out there…’ When an opportunity to take redundancy arose in 2013, that was my sign. I left the corporate world to move back home to Yorkshire from Surrey.
I wanted to find a home which had a building I could convert into a photography studio. Taking pictures had been a passion of mine since my teens, and I had the confidence to go professional because I used to sell my work to colleagues through a lunchtime stall – donating all the proceeds to Cancer Research and other charities. I bought a place with five disused railway wagons, so I had to think of something fast which would make use of them! The business idea soon evolved from not only running photography courses, but also providing a glamping site so customers could stay over.
Sustainability is very important to me, which is why I’ve converted four of the on-site wagons into accommodation with a little help from my parents and a retired neighbour (the fifth is a big birdhouse with nesting swallows!); then I acquired four shipping containers and transformed them into unique camping pods. I’ve also planted 1,500 plants and trees to preserve and enhance the natural habitat.
Although I’m busy running everything single-handedly, I can honestly say that, these days, my life is richer and more fulfilling. I am grateful for my cancer diagnosis because it gave me the courage to take a risk.