I paused for thought longer than usual this morning, as I wandered the Southend Shoreline.

Catching sight of this perfectly formed shell, I snatched phone from bra strap – its normal hiding place – as I walk the sandy edge. My fingers turning pink as the bitter wind battered me. Thoughts rose from my belly. “I don’t want to use a camera for my photographs.” I’m a simple gal and I like a lightweight life. I enjoy the freedom an iphone gives me.

I balanced low on my toes in the mud, gradually feeling my feet sink downward, as the cold salty brine began to kiss the tiny holes in the material of my trainers.


For the first time in a while, I had the urge to write – the need to put words to paper (or laptop in my case) as I began to reflect on the learnings I’d experienced and absorbed, not just over the last year but since I began to write in 2007.

 ‘Ah yes,’ I thought to myself. New Year will soon be upon us!

Beach Huts

A reflective time, and one which is very important. A chance to look back and see how the past has shaped our present, as the future stretches out in front of us and yet as I sit here writing this, I wonder if the past will play a hand in my future or for the first time in life will I be walking forward, simply, remaining ever in the moment. Then I realise this is a point where I understand why, there are so many schools for thought in the realms of pyschology and different approaches in therapy.

But at this stage in the game, my knowledge, experience and wisdom, tells me it all depends on your starting point.


So what have I learned this year?

On a practical and even deeper level than before, I’ve learnt that my online portal has finally taken shape and though the external still needs a few nip and tucks, finally it is defined. It knows what it is and where it needs to go. I understand the forward planning required and the strategic goals necessary, to enable it to become what I wish it to be, within the online realm. Yet, there are many challenges still to be dealt with, now I have arrived at this stage.

On an emotional & psychological level there has also been much learning. As over the last decade I’ve personally experienced huge upset,change, loss & grief which has been little understood by those around me or those who have created it – world travel with my husband and children, its higlight and the very thing which has pushed me to create TravelwiththeStrings and reconnect me with me. This enabled me to find my happiness on a very deep and personal level and heal from a personally experienced trauma. One which I am writing about in my manuscript ‘The Rediscovery of Aurelia Moon’ but one which I am unsure will ever come fully to fruition. Such is the delicate nature of the story. A decision is yet to be made.

I’ve realised writing is what has kept me sane, at points when there has been no sanity in my life.

I’ve learnt that many people don’t want to face themselves and how they hurt other people for a multitude of reasons and I’ve experienced that some people don’t even realise that other people are around them. It’s like they live in their own bubble. Some call this independence, sometimes I call this the Mr Magoo factor.

Beach Huts

One thing I have experienced and been shown by life again and again, is that the internal yearnings of our soul, need to be listened to – as much as the worries and concerns in our head and the words which pop into our hearts. I’ve learnt not to battle myself and instead to listen to all internal parties and what they have to say, before making a choice or a move – if they are in disagreement.

I’ve learnt that doing what you want is not always the best thing for yourself and there is something magical about being a human being and connecting on various levels with other people – no matter how hard those interchanges are at times.

I’ve learnt from me that the guiding factor in my life is still love – I love me, my family (and I’ve learnt that family doesn’t always remain the same, its dynamic can change – whether it be born out of blood or choice) and having children has shown me, how much a heart can be stretched, to take in as much of the world as possible.

I’ve also learnt that life can shut you down, close you up and wither your belief in mankind. It seems I’ve been fortunate enough to learn so much, in such a short space of time!

What have you learnt and what do you reflect on as your life changes?


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