Writer, Poet, Artist and Photographer. These passions all go hand in hand with my love of travel, hiking, and the great outdoors.
Wow! That seems like a mouthful, I know, but there is in fact many more hats I like to wear, as I do seem hell-bent on a mission to cram as many adventures into this life as ‘the powers that be” will allow.
My wish, is to bring joy, hope, peace, and encouragement through my different methods of storytelling, based upon my own life experiences, and to inspire others to embrace both the light and dark moments in their own lives. I hope my zest for life and all the adventures it brings, may also inspire you to make the most of this precious gift, for waking up each morning is indeed just that.
May you also be brave enough to make the changes you know are needed, while still staying authentically ‘you’. I believe there is much power to be had in sharing and listening and helping each other on this journey. I think we all crave that genuine human connection with others, even more so now, and just want to be accepted for who we are, despite our differences.
So, let me tell you a little of my story up until now:
Happily married for 30 years to my childhood sweetheart, I am first and foremost a proud mother of two grown children, who also happen to be my greatest accomplishment in life. I do know, without a doubt, nothing else in this life will ever compare to the joy that parenthood brings me.
‘Fabulous and Fifty’, as they say, and an ‘Empty Nester’, my husband and I are now reaping the rewards that all the blood, sweat and tears of raising a family can bring. I can honestly say, there is no greater joy than having a close relationship with your grown children, and to have them return that love tenfold, we are truly blessed!
"Perfectly Flawed”, like everyone else on this beautiful planet, I like to think of life as a constant journey and I am one very ‘Curious Traveler’. The day I stop being curious will be the day I cease to exist on this earth.
“Live life, and remain curious, and life will always be one big adventure”. This is my motto to always seeing the world as the big and wondrous place that it truly is.
A proud optimist, it has taken me almost a lifetime to reach a place where I have truly found peace - a gentle calm, even amongst the storms that life can bring. I love life, despite its ups and downs as its what has shaped me into the person I am today.
As in all things in life, I have my burdens to bear. Anxiety and depression have always been an unwanted friend of mind. However, I have learnt to accept and deal with this condition as part of my everyday life -embrace it even, as it is all part of the DNA that helps make up the many puzzle pieces that make me, uniquely “me”.
Diagnosed with Melanoma when my children were little, I faced the real fear that my children may grow up without their Mother. Thankfully, it was treated early, and I am now cancer free. However, there is always that niggling doubt that it may return -hence my urgency to fit as much into this life as I possibly can. Having a life -threatening diagnosis makes you fully aware of how precious and fleeting life truly can be.
A self-confessed ‘gym junky’, I was at the peak of my fitness three years ago when struck down by a severe autoimmune condition, all triggered by a tiny mosquito whilst out hiking in my beloved rainforest.
This life changing health condition has brought about many highs and lows - grief even, for a body and life I once took for granted. It is through much soul searching and reflection I can now honestly say I’m thankful for the lessons it has taught me, for I know that ‘even out of the darkest of nights, the sun will always rise’, and I am truly grateful for each and every day.
I mention these conditions, not out of want of sympathy, but for the fact I know so many also suffer in similar ways, both physically and mentally. I tell you to let you know I understand the constant struggle. Sometimes it’s hard enough to just get out of bed in the morning and make it through the day. Believe me, I’ve been there many times - and I ‘get it!’.
The arrival of the pandemic in 2020 has certainly shaken the world, and literally brought us to our knees in so many ways. As a result, my career path is heading in a whole new direction. It’s both exciting and challenging at the same time, and I can honestly say I’m loving it. I now have something that makes me want to leap out of bed in the morning, and that’s such a wonderful feeling.
Prior to the pandemic, I could hear little whispers in my ear, telling me I needed to start getting creative again. It seems I had gotten into the habit of just going about the everyday routines of life and work, having completely abandoned my love of reading, writing and creating art in the process. It seems as quickly as the whispers came - I brushed the voices aside. I figured I would get around to doing the things I loved again when I finally got “the time”. Little did we know how much “time” was waiting for us, just around the corner.
The notion to write was originally sparked when I attended an Author Luncheon with a friend of mine. It was a book launch for the Author’s new novel, and I adored her writing style (I had just finished one of her books, a Xmas gift from my husband) so I decided to tag along.The way this Author spoke so confidently and told her story of her own writing journey, and how she began writing at a later stage in life, truly inspired me to consider doing this for myself. It was the strangest thing – she had rekindled a flame I didn’t realize was slowly burning all these years. I came away feeling excited and full of purpose, but once again I placed the idea on the back burner as both work and life consumed the flame once more.
March 2020 holds some very special memories for us as a family. Both of our children managed to make it home to Australia for a visit - we even managed a little seaside holiday together. I am so thankful for this time - it was like a special gift from ‘above’ sent to help see us through the isolation that was yet to come. The kids had no sooner left to return home overseas, when COVID rudely announced its arrival on our very own doorstep, sending us all into lockdown.
As a result, my job as a Field Interviewer came to an abrupt halt. My husband was considered an “essential” worker, so we never got to experience the lockdown situation together.
So, combine, lockdown, husband still working, and both my kids living overseas, I found myself feeling very isolated, and struggling to find a way to be productive. Being stuck indoors most of the time, felt like prison to me. It was a situation that brought me much anxiety, given the fact my job had always taken me out into the field. Cabin fever quickly set in, and I dearly missed being able to get outdoors and hike the trails here in our beautiful rainforests, a place where I had always found such peace and sanctuary.
I began to search for connection via other means, and like so many, began a new journey into the ‘virtual world’ of Zoom, Facetime, and other social media platforms. These platforms were literally my lifeline in many ways of keeping me connected with not only my children, but humanity itself.
It was during this new phase of communication I made a connection with an Author - Ivan Scott, who offered me a wonderful opportunity to beta read his new novel after I had given a review on his first novel, “Redhead in a Blue Convertible”. It was through the process of beta reading his second book “The Redhead and the Ghostwriter” that I found myself thinking of trying my hand at writing once more, as the passion for writing had once again been re-kindled through this reading/editing process. I gained so much from this experience. It was Ivan who patiently encouraged me and gave me the nudge I needed to put pen to paper, and start to write, and I will always remain grateful for that, and the friendship we have formed. That gentle nudge unlocked the beautiful new gift of writing, which gave me the oxygen I needed to just breathe and get by during that harsh lockdown period, and it still does, every day!
I also joined a few Writers/Poetry groups which helped to connect with other writers and artists who share the same passions and are on a similar journey. As a result, some lovely friendships have been made with people from all around the world.
The day also arrived when I finally acknowledged I needed help in coping with my chronic illness struggles. I was going through a rough patch physically, so I took the plunge and joined an online support group which has also been a godsend in helping to cope with my chronic condition. It’s a wonderful place where I can receive and offer support to others who are going through similar situations.
“A problem shared is a problem halved” - Never be afraid to reach out, I wish I had done this so much sooner.
Upon reflection, if there is one thing this pandemic has taught me is this: Nothing in this life is certain, except for change, nor is anything black and white. There are so many different shades in between, just like a beautiful photo or piece of art, there must be both light and shade to make a picture complete.
I am thankful to have something so bright and beautiful come out of such a dark time in our lives. So many have suffered deeply through sickness and loss of loved ones due to COVID, and I know how fortunate I am to come through this time so unscathed.
We have all felt isolation, pain and loss to some degree. I don’t think anyone has been left untouched by this whole pandemic experience.
I am happy to say I have discovered a newfound patience and I am so grateful now for just the simple things in life, namely: family, health, and human connection.
I know I shall never take travelling for granted again. I long for the day when my husband and I can see our children once more. I know we will all hold each other that extra bit tighter and longer, especially when it comes to saying our goodbyes.
In conclusion, my pledge in moving forward now, as we reclaim our lives, is to live each day with added gratefulness and purpose.
I’m hoping my journey may inspire you in some way, to perhaps take a leap of faith towards change and self-growth and give you the confidence to create new pathways that also make your heart smile.
While good advice never goes astray and is always helpful, I personally draw my inspiration from the example people set in living their lives, and listening to the stories they tell in how they overcame the obstacles that were thrown their way.
Sometimes telling your story or having someone listen, can help lead to healing and moving forward. We all have our story to tell and own unique path to follow. For me, writing and sharing my journey through writing, photography and art, does just that. I wish you all the luck in the world with your journey and thank you for taking the time to share in mine.
An important attribute to being a good storyteller is also being a good listener, and I would love to connect with as many of you as I can.
Please feel free to connect with me via email, or you can also find me on Instagram on the link provided - and, of course, you can follow me here with my personal blogs and publications. Thank you kindly for your following, I’m very much looking forward to getting to know you all.
Kim- Annette xx