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Stella Bolam - I was scared and excited at the same time

“I was scared and excited at the same time, and if you’ve ever had that feeling you know you’re heading in the right direction” - says Stella Bolam in this interview on About The Adventure Podcast. She shares why she began reflecting on what to do with the rest of her career, how she found the courage to explore a new path, and what life has been like since she started taking the first steps. We recorded the interview while sitting in the beautiful Bolehill Wood in Grindleford, surrounded by birdsong. You might enjoy listening with headphones for the full surround sound experience.

"I’m a great believer in taking a bit of risk in life"

In this episode, I interviewed Stella Bolam, who has switched from a long-term career in communications and writing to join the wonderful world of tree care and science, working in Community Forestry.

I think that it will be of particular interest to people who don't feel happy in their work, who are looking for a gentle approach to career change, who are drawn towards doing less in life, and who have an interest in connecting with nature.

Here’s the full list of questions that I asked Stella:

  • Why did you start reflecting on what you want to do with the rest of your career?

  • Questions from Milly on twitter - What gave you the courage to make the final step out of your previous career? Was it a gentle bit by bit shift or was it a down tools and step completely into the unknown?

  • What does your work involve as a volunteer street warden? What are the sorts of issues that you look out for?

  • Through talking to people, what did you find out about their relationships with the trees?

  • How would you best describe your personal connection with trees and how has that evolved over time?

  • Is there a type of tree or woodland that you particularly like?

  • Were there any aspects of your previous work that you found difficult to let go of?

  • How did you find out that you were really drawn to this work? Did anything make the decision really clear in your mind?

  • Is the certificate you’ve got an expensive course to pursue?

  • Are you still spending a lot of time at your desk?

  • Do you feel like it is an accessible sector for people to enter?

  • Is there anything that you’ve learnt or experienced so far that has really amazed you?

  • Has this change in career had an impact on other areas of your life?

  • Do you feel like there’s been any shift in your identity?

  • How has it felt to reconnect with your interest in trees and nature?

  • How has it been for you to learn new skills?

  • Have you noticed a change in your energy and motivation?

  • Do you feel like your work now is more meaningful?

  • What’s the experience you can get from touching nature?

  • Do you have a particular approach that you want to take with this new career path?

  • Do you have an idea about when you’re going to finish your diploma?

  • What question would you ask people that might help them get beyond the block of thinking it’s too late for a career change?

  • How can people start to explore outside of their current world?

Tune in to this episode of About The Adventure Podcast on the player below, or click one of these links through to Spotify, Apple Podcasts, in your other favourite apps or click here to download it.


This episode was recorded while sitting in Bolehill Wood in Grindleford, by Sarah Lister on 14th March 2022, and edited by Gabby Wolstenholme.

You can follow Stella's journey on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Read her article: 'Why I chose arboriculture as a career' which was submitted to the Arboricultural Association's Student Book Prize Award 2021 and won first place in the written category in March 2021.

About The Adventure has a patreon community where you can support this podcast and receive support with your own career change through a Facebook group and outdoor events in the Peak District.


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