It was just over 3 years after my divorce that I decided to go to a Travel Exhibition with a friend one cold, depressing January weekend. It wasn’t like I had lot of other things to do and it was a day out!
I’d always loved travel and had regularly gone on holidays with my husband. But since my divorce I’d lost my enthusiasm for it and didn’t really have many single friends to go away with.
I met a Wildlife photographer at the show who I got talking to and he gave me a flyer for a photography trip he was running to Kenya in June. The trip sounded amazing - but the only trouble was - I had no one to go with.
After a lot of deliberation, and encouragement from my friend, I finally decided to book – telling myself that it was only for 5 nights - so what was the worst that could happen 😱
Now don’t get me wrong – this was MASSIVELY out of my comfort zone. I’d never been away on my own before with a group of people I’d never met. Kenya was also the place where I’d got engaged and held special memories for me of my husband - so that was something I had to get over.
I don’t know how many times I nearly cancelled the trip before going, I was so anxious about it. But eventually I bought all the kit I needed, including a Digital camera and zoom lens, and told myself I’d read the instructions on how to use it on the flight over there.
From the moment I arrived I had the most amazing time!
Discovering my love of wildlife photography literally changed my life after my divorce! I know that sounds like a bold statement – but it’s true.
I hadn’t laughed so much for years – real belly aching laughs. I met some kind, genuine, fascinating people and made some life-long friends from that trip. Most of the people on the trip were on their own, even if they weren’t necessarily single, and around my age.
The most refreshing thing was that everyone accepted me for who I was and how I showed up on that trip. No one asked about me about what I did for work or what my background was, which I’d been dreading, as I knew I would probably end up in tears if they asked. They just accepted me for who I was in that moment and that was liberating.
I’d always loved wildlife and we saw some incredible sights and made some magical memories. The highlight of the trip was seeing a Cheetah mum with her 5 cubs all lined up in a row! Of course, I messed the shot up and to this day the photographer never lets me forget it 😂.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a morning person, so the 4.30am starts were a bit of a killer, but it was so worth it. Being out in nature, with great company and seeing the animals in their natural environment helped me to forget everything that was going on at home and just be lost in the moment.
Yes, there were some really tough moments when I was in tears when I thought no one was looking – wishing my husband was there with me. But I can honestly say that trip was the turning point for me in healing after my divorce and I never looked back. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’ve travelled to places that I probably never would have done, if I’d still been married.
I got my confidence and my sparkle back and it led on to so many other great things.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world with this hobby. I came back and immediately booked a trip to India to see the tigers and the Arctic to see the Polar bears with a friend I’d made on the Kenya trip. I’ve since been to Antarctica, The Pantanal, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Alaska, Sri Lanka and many other amazing places. And I’ve been back to the Massai Mara, where this all started, many times. It’s my favourite place to be.
I’ve made some really special friends who I otherwise wouldn’t have met, and we travel together regularly on photography trips.
Sometimes we have to move out of our comfort zone and try new things to bring different things into our lives. It’s not easy, and it can make you feel sick and anxious, just like I felt. But it’s so worth it.
You only get one chance at life, so make the most of it. Don’t look back years later and feel that you wasted years of your life.
Say yes to all the opportunities you get – who knows what will come from them?
Be curious about life.
What’s one thing you could open yourself up to, or try, that could really help you move on or make your life more fulfilling? Take some time to think about it or journal on it.
Try something you've never done before. What have you always wanted to do but never got round to, or what couldn’t you do whilst you were in your relationship? It doesn’t have to be travel – it’s whatever lights you up.
Follow your passion – there’s nothing to say that this next chapter of your life can’t be even better than the first one!
The photo is of me in Antarctica in a snow blizzard waiting for the Emperor Penguins
If you want some support to get your confidence and sparkle back or gain some clarity on what you want your future to look like then drop me an email at [email protected]
If you need some support whilst you're going through your breakup then head over to my free Facebook group - The breakup and Divorce Lounge. It's a community of women all in the same situation who are there to support and encourage each other in a safe and non-judgmental space.