Welcome to my new blog: The Mermaid’s Guide to Hitch Hiking! What’s it all about? Well, it’s about empowering women to live their dreams, and here is the back story!
As we sat on the beach at night whilst my dad fished, my mum and I sat looking out to sea; cup of tea in hand and the tiley lantern burning bright next to us; I turned to my mum and said “I want to live out there”. At the age of 8, I already had a love of the ocean, and a very driven nature. My mum never doubted my dream of living at sea would come true; until I met and married a tall, dark, handsome stranger, moved to the city, built businesses and travelled the world with him. 7 years after we met, we had our two incredible boys.
Fishing was my dad’s passion. He loved it, and it is his passion that has led me to mine – the ocean. She’s just so beautiful. With her strong, wild, unpredictable nature, juxtaposed with her calming energy, her very essence resembles my own personality in many ways.
My love of the ocean never left me, and every given moment that I could get to the beach, I would; regardless of the weather (which is essential living in the UK with our varied weather, mainly windy and raining!). If I was travelling, and there was a ferry crossing, I would choose the ferry instead of flying every time, timescales permitting. Being up on deck, with the sound of the water splashing against the hull, the smell of the sea salt air and feeling the spray on my face was my favourite place on board. I felt energised, alive, especially when the wind got up and the waves got bigger (not something you hear many women say!)
After 18 years, my marriage ended and I was catapulted into a world of being a full time single mum; although ask those that know me well and they’ll tell you I have effectively been a single mum since the boys were born 15 and 11 years ago due to the ex-husband travelling so much for our business. A common occurrence for many women. I had encouraged him to travel, the one who had won the international contracts for our business; but now I was the only income earner and so had to ensure that I created an online, location free business that enabled me to be the full time mum I wanted to be. I took my 20 years of running businesses, developing teams, empowering women, regenerating communities, understanding different cultures, organising fund raising events AND raising two young boys, to create my coaching and mentoring business; with the intention of writing as many books as I could to fulfil my other passion of writing.
As my business grew, so did my awareness of just how many women put their own careers and dreams on hold to support their husbands and their children; often forgetting about their own, and in many cases not even knowing what their dream life would look like. I started to see a global shift happening. More and more women were fed up being the one taking care of everything and being financially dependent on their husbands. What would happen to her lifestyle if they divorced? What if he became sick, couldn’t work and they lost his income? Why had she let go of her dreams and career to support him, sometimes for so little love, attention and thanks? My male clients were saying similar things. They were fed up of being the ‘bank account’, sad about not spending value time with their families, feeling under pressure to keep providing, seeing the woman they fell in love with lose who she was, along with the energy and passion she once had, simply because she was so busy taking care of him and the children. I was witnessing two sides of the same coin present itself to me.
With this depth of awareness and my love of the ocean and writing, I knew I had what it took to make a difference to others, especially women. I had spoken on stages, radio, been on TV and featured in various magazines and podcasts around the world, that public speaking wasn’t an issue. I was also an international bestselling author, and never saw my writing as work. Writing was my way of clearing my head and sharing my knowledge and experience with others; I just had to wait until both my boys had completed their exams and were interdependent enough to be without me. 2022 was the year I was going to head off and live my life on the sea. Or so I thought.
I became restless, started looking at homes by the sea, began sailing on the Tall Ship Excelsior and chose to do my coaching at sea. But this wasn’t enough; and the boys knew it. With the coaching and mentoring I was receiving, and giving, I knew I couldn’t put off my life at sea. If I was going to go and live at sea, I had to do it now. So after many discussions with my boys, and with my ex-husband, I received their full support and encouragement.
They all understood I wanted to lead my boys, and my clients, by example, so encouraging them to live a life they loved, making their dreams a reality, and not doing it myself was totally out of alignment. Telling my boys that there is a whole world out there and to go explore it, without having done it myself, made me feel like a hypocrite; and a hypocrite I am not. I also needed time by myself to heal from some of the personal challenges I’d faced over the past 4 years, both directly and indirectly associated with my divorce.
How it was going to happening I didn’t know, but that’s the beauty of following your dreams and wanting to create a positive impact in other’s lives as well as your own, you can just forget the how and allow the Universe to co-create with you.
I wanted to empower other women, learn all about different kinds of sailing, the history of sailing in all the countries I would visit, gain an understanding of the male dominated (often seen as sexist) world of sailing AND I wanted to get all the qualifications I needed to be able to coach my clients at sea, on my own boat.
Having realised just how many boats need crew members, and how I could combine my travel plans with those needing crew, I knew I could achieve all I wanted to do, and more. So I chose to share all the knowledge I would gain through a blog The Mermaid’s Guide to Hitch Hiking, and share my journey of stepping back so my boys and their dad can step up together, all of us working together to up level our lives; something many men and women could learn.
I’ve been called a mermaid by friends and family for as long as I can remember due to the amount of swimming I do, and my love of seafood, so it was no surprise to them that the blog would have the word mermaid in it; plus thinking with my business brain, The Mermaid’s Guide would then give me a platform to create spin offs to other Mermaid’s Guides.
Letting my mum know what I was doing, and when I was leaving her first words were “it’s about bloody time you’ve put yourself first for once”, followed closely by “I’m really proud of you. What you are doing for yourself and other women is admirable” (before giving me a dressing down on being careful and staying true to my own vision!). Only 2 people have told me I’m being incredibly selfish and abandoning my boys, whereas most people understand the importance of what I am about to do for myself and other women. The support and encouragement I have given is incredible; from both men and women.
I already miss my boys, but I miss myself more; and I can’t be the mother I wish to be if I am not the person I wish to be. Loving others wholly and completely can only truly come from a place of owning who you are yourself; and if you are running on empty, then you need to recharge… just like you would your phone or your laptop. With technology as it is, staying in touch with them will be easy, and I’ll still be able to attend parent’s evening by joining my boys on a Skype call. We chat daily via What’s App, sharing photos and giggles, and my mobile network enables me to call home for no extra charge. So regardless of where I am, I’ll never be more than a week away from a video chat or phone call with my boys. The added bonus for my boys is that their school holidays have now taken on a whole new level of excitement, with supervised flights on Emirates, they get to travel the world, meeting mummy in new places and enjoying new countries, cultures and of course water sports with a side order of weird and wonderful food!
So here’s to women all over the world going after their dreams, stepping up and stepping back from their families, so the whole family can up level together!
You can support my journey by visiting www.patreon.com/themermaidsguidetohitchhiking – I am working on the video side of things at the moment, but it is there! I promise! 😉