My working life involved a substantial amount of international travel, landing me in exotic, far-flung places. When I stopped working and relocated to a quieter country life, trips to these amazing destinations came to a sudden end. I didn’t miss the work too much, but I really missed the travel and relationships with my international business network in a profound way.
The change definitely left a vacuum in my life. Something that had a lot more significance than I’d realised was suddenly gone. With that in mind, I soon began to think of ways to get myself back on the road and involved in a meaningful way with the countries and people I loved so much.
Travelling has always been part of who I am: both professionally and personally.
At the ripe old age of 19 I took off for Europe vowing never to return (that lasted two years). My journey took me to Norway which had, for no good reason, always held a strong attraction. Having never even met a Norwegian before, I took a ferry from England to Norway, planning to stay for a week. I fitted into life in Oslo without missing a beat and stayed for two years. Being blonde haired and fair skinned, most people mistook me for a Norwegian – a transformed identity I was happy to adopt. (That was until the locals saw me skiing, then my cover was well and truly blown. No self-respecting Norwegian would ski the way I did.)
Sensing my restlessness and desire to start travelling again, friend and Lonely Planet author Stan Armington (Trekking in Nepal guide book) invited me to join a small group he was escorting to remote Upper Mustang up near the Tibetan border in Nepal.
Travel for many of us can be a transforming experience and this trip proved itself to be a life-changer. It allowed me to shed my skin in some ways, to re-think and re-invent who I was away from my past working life.