Journey of Life (just the good bits!)
This life began in the mid fifties in a small industrial town in Lancashire, England. It wasn’t the happiest childhood, as my mother died when I was ten, and my father, a Polish refugee, who preferred to forget his roots, was a troubled soul. I was a bit of a wild girl and my family called me "animal mad". I loved to write even then, my longest creation being “Stories of the Champions”, a minor epic chronicling the lives of several generations of horses on the American Plains. That is now lost to posterity, but as a teenager I wrote my first diary and have been writing journals ever since.
From somewhere I inherited the gypsy blood and after I left home at 18, I kept on going. I studied German at Birmingham University and in West Berlin, long before the Wall came down. Before graduating, a chance meeting with a journalist, sparked a desire to travel to Latin America, so I went back to Berlin to learn Spanish - yes, Spanish - at the Latin-America Institute, and study journalism. Completely out of my depth, I abandoned the journalism course after one class, but I continued with Spanish. However, a year later, I found myself on an entirely different trajectory in London, where I apprenticed as a carpenter, at a time when women were just breaking into traditionally male trades.
Still with South America in mind, I worked and saved for a year and bought a cheap one-way ticket to New York. But instead of heading south, I went west, and ended up in San Francisco for 13 years. I never did make it to South America, but in 1985 I crewed on a tall ship sailing around Central America and got as far as Panama.
My time in San Francisco was edifying. I worked for some years as a carpenter, and diverged into landscape gardening and tree trimming. I also met my husband, Shane, a wood carver, with whom I had a son, Koa, now 25 and in Ecuador. During my pregnancy, I trained in a more feminine discipline - massage therapy, which later led me into the realms of Aromatherapy and Herbalism, then Shiatsu, Thai Massage and Chinese Medicine.
We moved to the Big Island of Hawaii, where our son was born, then to Brisbane, Australia, and finally back to San Francisco. During this time, we woke up to the devastation being wrought on the Earth and worked together on environmental art projects. I did a lot of photography, delved into the performing arts and educated myself and others about growing food, composting, recycling and planting trees. That work took us to Prague for a while in 1992, just after the Iron Curtain had opened. I also spent time with my father’s family in Poland.
In 1995, I moved back to England with my son, where I discovered the ancient magic of my own land with its rich pagan history. We settled in a little cottage in rural Yorkshire, for a decade. I developed my Shiatsu practice and taught a variety of Complementary Therapies. Some years later, when my son had flown the nest, my feet started to itch again, so I branched into EFL teaching, with the intent to travel. I taught English in the UK for two years, mainly to Kurdish and Iranian refugees and South Asian migrants, which further kindled my fascination with Asian cultures.
And so in the summer of 2005 I embarked on my journey to the east. It began in Istanbul, and took me through Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and lastly, Vietnam. There, my work as English teacher branched into Environmental Education, and I began writing articles and short stories about travel, culture and our relationship with Mother Earth and our animal kin.
India and Nepal called me back again and again to explore Buddhism and yoga, but Vietnam held my fascination for three or four years and I always returned. After travel to south China I left Vietnam for good, this time for Kenya, where another fascinating adventure unfolds.