My Great Escape
It was 2009. I had finally completed my studies but was struggling to find a job at any local newspaper in the wake of the world’s economic meltdown. I was 24, living at home with my mum and had recently broken up with my boyfriend.
My home, by the way, is a town in the north west of England called Wilmslow. Though pleasant enough for families, it's a fairly small place, and part of Cheshire's 'Golden Triangle' (an area so-called for its popularity with footballers and those who like to drink champagne and have cosmetic surgery - though presumably not that in order). And so, there I was, bored and restless. At night, I fantasised about living in a city by the sea, perhaps with a beautiful beach or sparkling skyline I could marvel at from my bedroom window.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, my luck changed. Having worked my way up from call centre person to PR manager at a small company that offered something to do with recruitment, I pitched an article to a Dubai-based construction magazine and landed my first reporting job. Next thing I know, I'm stood atop an unfinished, 60-something-storey building, gazing out at the Persian Gulf while only half listening to the project managers talk about piling and rebar. All I could think was: Wow, this is my life now, and it's awesome.
A whirlwind of adventures later, with two years working as a journalist in the UAE and more than five in Hong Kong, I have evolved from a city-loving, party girl to a yoga-and-horse-mad vegetarian, armed with stories to tell, and of course some to keep close to my chest. Between city moves, jam-packed holidays and press trips I have set foot in at least 30 countries (a few more if you include territories) from pre-civil war Syria to Malaysian Borneo, discovering an eclectic mix of people, spicy foods and cultures (not to mention creepy crawlies). I have written for a mix of publications across general news, business, sports and lifestyle, both as an editor and reporter. Though I’m not the most daring of explorers, I relish opportunities to climb mountains, ride horses through the sea or strike a yoga pose in a Bangkok karaoke bar. I love gawping at exotic animals and sunsets while battling with the vivid colour setting on my camera. Equally thrilling are opportunities to write about celebrity stunts on the world’s tallest building.
The simple truth is I cannot imagine my life without travel and excitement. This kind of existence has opened my mind, helped me in my career and brought wonderful people into my life, all the while boosting my knowledge of the world. Though I still have countless places left to see, I can only hope that my stories and photos so far might inspire others to pack up and live their travel dreams, whatever they may be.
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