Then I realised that I was not coping well with life. I was overwhelmed because of family bereavements, a hysterectomy, the menopause and how I felt I was being treated in my workplace. I felt voiceless and marginalised. My daughter had also left home after years of me being a single mother, I definitely felt the empty nest. I could not envisage ever being truly happy again. I was in a dark place and I wanted to find another way of living and feeling happy. So for a few years I wracked my brain for ways of doing that. Then out of the blue I thought of getting a motorhome. I told anyone who would listen that I was going to retire at 60, buy a motorhome and hit the road travelling Great Britain to challenge ageism.
So it was I retired at 60, I got rid of my flat and sold my worldly possessions. I wanted to show that you could live life with far less STUFF than we often convince ourselves we need to be happy with our lives.
In September 2019 I turned the key in the ignition of my Motorhome, that I named ‘Dora the Explora’ and set off to explore Great Britain and Ireland without a real plan but with a feeling that somehow if I went with the flow life would work out for the better.
At first I was a bit lost and scared. I just hoped that if I took the first step the rest would somehow follow. It has not all been plain sailing. I weathered storms and even a pandemic, all of which just served to make me stronger. I have found so much courage on my travels fending for myself. I’ve met some incredible people and learnt to live in the moment and take in my surroundings. I have stood on the side of a Loch in Scotland late at night, screaming and crying to help heal my emotional traumas in life. I vowed then to leave all the anger and negativity I had been harbouring and to move forward to help other women who had found themselves lost and afraid of what life had to offer them as they got older. I wanted to show that we did not need to accept the cards that society seems to deal us as we age.
Earlier this year I realised my lifelong dream of exploring the Outer Hebrides. It was while standing on top of a hill on the Isle of Lewis with my arms outstretched that I knew that I had done the right thing embarking on my motorhome adventures. I felt stronger and happier than ever. I felt like a warrior who has battled through so much in life to get to this point. The journey had been a rocky one, but well worth it. A journey that so many other women are on. I want to inspire younger women not to fear getting old and older women to age positively.
My nomadic life has enabled me to reflect on all of my life’s tribulations and come to the conclusion that I am a kind, strong, woman, who has a voice. I want to use that voice to help other women who’re struggling. I regularly give Corporate and Women’s Institute talks about the stresses of ageing, facing fears, challenging ageism and how to age more positively. I also hope that my book ‘Retirement Rebel,’ that is out in October with Vertebrate publishing, will be the for many women who need to re-evaluate their life. It will help them to see that tomorrow is another day and they should cherish every moment and rebuild themselves and find their inner strength and courage. Now that I have got my mojo back again I will never let it go.