I'm sat at Heathrow Airport. It's the 2nd January 2023 and I'm 40 years old. I have wanted to take this trip since I was a small child. While I sit amongst a thousand strangers, I cannot help but reflect on the twists and turns my life has taken to get me here!!!
When I was a young child, we went on holiday in the UK. I grew up in large family and foreign holidays were....well foreign to me! I first went abroad when I was 18!
I dreamt of seeing the animals I read about in books and watched on documentaries. I feared I may never get the chance. I worked as hard as a young person could, to raise money for charities like WWF. I worried they'd all go extinct before I got the opportunity.
When I was 15 years old, I had a life threatening eating disorder. To think that my life might have just ended then is now inconceivable. I have not forgotten how all consuming my ED thoughts were. I lost interest in everything. I had no dreams, no plans, no future!
Thankfully I received medical intervention and got a 2nd chance at life and while I sit here, ready to embark on one of the biggest adventures of my life, I recognise just how fortunate I am!
Since those dark days I have met a man who loves me entirely as I am. We have been married since 2007. We have two wonderful children and a brilliant dog. We have lifelong friends, whom we love like family.
We have a lovely little house in the countryside, I have had an extraordinary career as a public servant, achieved a first class degree in my 30's and started my own business, coaching women stuck in the clutches of disordered eating, just before turning 40.
I have travelled all around the world and seen sights that have enriched my life beyond comprehension. I have loved and enjoyed the love of others in such a way that my heart swells whenever I reflect on how much love I have. I have learnt so much about the world I live in and the part I play within it. In my capacity as a public servant and a coach I have had the privilege to help others.
So while I sit here waiting to board my flight to South Africa. I'm filled with pride, love and gratitude!
My reason for writing this is simple really. You cannot know the life you have waiting for you. Life can be challenging and complicated and when we have no other option but to fight it can be tempting to give up. But don't, because the future can be so much more than you could even dream of!