The full story of how I got here & how I get to see the world.

Has life has passed you by? It’s never too late to start, believe me, I know!

                       “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”  Terry Pratchett

Welcome to my page.  My name is Cherie, being an introvert, I had mixed feelings about starting this website. Who would be interested in what I have to say? Who would care about my journey?  I figured, I have nothing to lose apart from the chance of being embarrassed and it might just help you to take the plunge and follow your dreams and passions too. I’m 62, turning 63 in May and I’ve only just taken the plunge in the last few years to really follow my dreams and I’ve turned my life around in lots of ways, but still have a way to go.                                                                                                                                  I hope you will follow me on this journey, enjoy my ramblings, and that I can pass on some helpful tips and the inspiration to follow your dreams.

                                                  “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” - Helen Keller

Five years ago I was unhappy, stressed, doing a job I hated, and could see no way out. I had been single for over 20 years after 2 failed marriages, so all the responsibility was with me. I had to be the adult and show up every day, work, pay the bills, look after the house. I had my first child at 17 and by the time I was 29 I had 3 kids and was on my 2nd marriage, so I’ve always been looking after someone else. When my marriage ended and the kids left home, I took on the responsibility of looking after my Mum who had dementia, and lots of other family members. I think part of that decision was unconsciously a way to not have to look at myself and always to have that distraction and responsibility. I seem to be the go-to person if there is a problem but I also volunteer myself. Don't get me wrong, I love helping people and that won’t stop but the trouble was, back then, it left no time or energy for me. 

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” - Jack Kerouac

At 57 (5 years ago), I was a bit lost. I have always tried to educate and improve myself, but my biggest issue was I didn't really know who I was outside of being a Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend? Who was I as a person? What are my wants, desires, and passions? What do I want to achieve and leave as my legacy? I have always said “I have given birth to 3 amazing children who are all wonderful people in their own right and that's my legacy”, but in reality that is their legacy, not mine and they are all grown and have their own lives, partners and children now. My nest is definitely empty.

                                                “Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret” - Oscar Wilde

I started to think about what my passions were, what I got excited about. I’ve always loved art and craft and still do and I’m ok but not exceptional at it. I love to read and have devoured hundreds if not thousands of books, but I’m a reader, I have no talent for writing and not a lot of imagination which is no good for art or writing. I love music but can’t play an instrument or carry a tune, sadly.

I love some TV series and movies and 2 of my children work in the industry but as much as I would love to do that,  1.) I’ve left it too late and have no training and 2.) I’m self-conscious in front of a camera.

I love photography and I have taken some great photos (mainly flukes) but would need to study hard to be an expert or make any money from it. I have so many things that I enjoy but I don't excel at anything that I can make an income out of.

The only thing that I get really excited about is travel and I love, love, love Scotland and Outlander. I love visiting film sites and meeting the actors from my favourite shows and movies. It's as close to the film industry that I can get I guess. I love meeting new people from around the world. When I think of those things my heart beats faster and I feel a surge of energy. When I talk to anyone about my tours I can hear the excitement in my voice, so much so, that I have to make a conscious effort to slow my speech down. So I figured that’s my passion and that’s where I will start, I will find a way to travel and if I can find a way to make an income doing it. 

                                “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” - Mark Twain

WHY SCOTLAND AND WHY TRAVEL?

I have always been a bit of a gypsy and get itchy feet if I stay too long in one place. Until I landed in QLD I moved a lot from the age of 17 until 40. I lived in several states in Australia and often moved from town to town. I always yearned to go overseas but having started my family so young, I didn't feel it was an option.

In my 50’s I decided it was time, my children were grown and left home, I had been single for more than 10 years at that point and I just wanted to go. The trouble was I had no idea how to go about it. The only overseas travel I had done at that time, had been a cruise to Noumea with 3 younger, single, friends who organised everything. I just got my passport, packed my bag, and turned up. Even that had some issues. I was talking to a girlfriend, saying I really wanted to travel and she said “let's just go”.

So a couple of weeks later we were heading to Thailand for 10 days. I’m not a spontaneous person so that was a massive step. We had booked our flights and accommodation but that was it. We flew to Patong and spent 10 days there. Had a lovely time but was completely naive about the dos and don’ts.  

So that was it, I had the travel bug. I ended up going to Thailand 6 more times in the next 3 years. I liked the fact it was reasonably cheap, the flight was only a few hours and I knew where I was going, it became familiar. I loved the people I met, the massages of course and I made some great friends of both locals and other travelers that went each year. By my last trip - which was a month on my own, the gloss had worn off and I got sick of being harassed by shop keepers, the traffic and drunk tourists, the scams and corruption, the shopping bargains that turned out to be rubbish and realised I was mainly going to catch up with friends and the cheap massages of course. I’m not saying Thailand is not a great travel destination. It’s an amazing country, full of some amazing people, but after those trips, the worst side was starting to become predominant. Maybe because I was yearning for more?

I still longed to go to Europe and the UK. I’ve always had an interest in the UK and Europe. I love British tv and comedy, I love the accents, I am quite partial to a man in a kilt lol, however, the thought of going that far on my own was daunting and I was being ruled by fear.

                                                        “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” -Suzanne Collins

keep an eye out for my Blog - MY THAILAND TRIPS AND TIPS

I’m not sure what makes me so fearful of everything, I realised I have lived my whole life ruled by fear. Fear of the unknown, of not being in control, of failing and embarrassing myself, of not being good enough or being mediocre, of missing out, of being excluded, of having regrets on my deathbed. This last one is what motivated me to make a change.

I think some of it is from my childhood where I had no control of situations and I was afraid and felt let down. Some are due to 2 bad marriages where I was cheated on, controlled, and degraded, and made to feel worthless and afraid.  I think being an introvert is also a factor. I’m happy at home and quite comfortable with my own company, so the thought of packing a bag and heading off overseas alone or with strangers is daunting.  Having to navigate the different airports, not being able to speak the language, not knowing where I am going is scary.

However, the idea of not going is worse. I can't imagine coming to the end of my life and thinking about what I missed out on. I’ve also learned that what’s in my head and my fears are way worse than reality.

I decided I had to bite the bullet and push myself to step out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I did. 

                                                  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch

THE FIRST TOUR - 8 WEEKS IN THE UK AND EUROPE. When I go I go big lol.

My youngest daughter was living in Leeds, England, attending uni on a scholarship.

Mallory was only in her 20’s and extremely shy when she first went overseas, so I figured if Mallory could do it, I could. Plus I had the safety net of meeting her there and we could travel together.

I still had to organise everything before I left though, had to have total control. I planned the whole trip, booked accommodation and tours, etc. Almost all of the time was planned out apart from the first 2 weeks when I would be staying in Leeds at Mallory’s until her uni break started. I did it myself apart from the flights which I booked through an agent. (the first and last time)

Having it planned out helped with the anxiety and knowing the bulk of the cost upfront. Everything was booked and paid for, all the accommodation, tours, our own mini-tours to different places, our entertainment. I left very little for spontaneous trips or activities.

I felt I needed to do that to control my anxiety and to make sure we were safe, always had somewhere to stay and there were no nasty surprises.

                                                           “Not all those who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien

We spent the first couple of weeks in Leeds while Mallory finished her semester at Uni and on the weekends we headed off to Liverpool and Manchester and visited sites around Leeds. Then we headed for London and other parts of England,  Europe on 2 tours, Ireland, Wales, Scotland. We had a ball and I crossed so many things off my bucket list like seeing Madness at the O2, seeing a musical at West End (Matilda), visiting the Peace Wall in Belfast, Going to Paris and climbing the Eiffel Tower and going to the Louvre and seeing The Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo, seeing snow in Switzerland, taking a gondola ride in Venice, and so much more. Because we both love music and film we tried to incorporate this into our tour doing things like the Beatles tours in Liverpool, doing a Harry Potter Studio Tour and a GOT tour, etc.

For a first go at traveling alone (sort of the flight to and from England was solo) and touring the UK and Europe, it was great, and doing it with my daughter was even better. I knew I would want to go again and I knew there were things I would change.   

“What good is inspiration if it’s not backed up by action?” – Tony Robbins

(watch for my blog - THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF TRAVEL AND WHAT I LEARNED) for the details.

I had mixed feelings about going on a tour but knew it was the only way I was going to get to see all the countries we did. I liked the safety of knowing it was organised and I didn't have to worry about the details but the thought of being stuck with people I didn't know, in places I’d never been before was daunting. As I said, I’m quite shy and don't find it easy to talk to people unless they talk to me first.

It turned out I like the process of the tour and the safety, but there were definitely things I would change and there were mistakes I made on several tours over the next few years. Things I learned that I’m going to pass onto you and that I hope you will find helpful.

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” - Oprah Winfrey

(watch for my blog - THINGS I’VE LEARNED AND THE PROS AND CONS OF TOURS.)

THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE TRIP

Apart from spending time with my daughter, the highlight of my trip was the 3 days in Scotland. Based in Glasgow and we took the train to Edinburgh for the day, so we didn't see a lot but it was enough to fall in love with it. I knew I needed to return to Glasgow and see more of Scotland. Then I came home and did a DNA test and found out I’m 36% Scottish and I discovered Outlander and that just sealed the deal. It gave me the drive to find out more about my ancestry and why I felt so drawn to Scotland.

It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world, the history is fascinating, the men are handsome and the whiskey is delicious. But don’t eat the macaroni pies.” -J.K. Rowling

MY LIFE CHANGING DECISION

I decided I needed to do something drastic, to take that leap of faith. I took a leave of absence from work for 2 years and sold my house. I moved into a friend's granny flat initially and I started working on my next trip. I’m not advising anyone else to do this, I just know it was the right decision for me, or I would still be stuck on that cycle of working to pay bills and trading time for money. It had gotten to a point with my job, where I felt sick going to work. 

SCOTLAND IS CALLING.

                     “Wherever I wander, wherever I rove; the hills of the highland forever I love.” Robert Burns

So I knew I wanted to return to Scotland and I knew I wanted to factor in some Outlander sites and the good thing about Outlander is that it automatically includes Scottish history so I started to do some research and chatting with people on different Facebook pages.

Facebook is a great place to talk to people and get great tips and advice but you need to do your research too.

check out our Travel to Scotland Page -https://www.facebook.com/groups/341997169880036/

I found out about an Outlander Event in Blackpool Highlander’s 2 and decided that's where I’d start my trip planning. The idea of going alone was scary, but I had decided to bite the bullet and I figured if it was at an Outlander event, I would have something to talk to people about.

I weighed up the idea of doing a trip around Scotland solo against a tour but the tour option seemed like the best way to go especially for my first solo trip as the idea of hiring a car and driving myself around wasn't appealing, plus I didn't think I would cope with getting myself around the sites and wanted a guide for the first time so I knew I wouldn't miss anything.

I started looking at what tours were available, at that time there wasn't a lot to offer in tours that included Outlander sites and nothing took my fancy.

It's funny how the universe works though if you are open to it.

“Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” – Caroline Myss

I got chatting to a couple of ladies in particular and turns out one of them, Sharon, who is from the States, used to be a tour guide in Scotland and take people from the States to show them around. Sharon kindly offered to put together an itinerary for me, I gave her my list of must-sees places and we approached a travel agent in Inverness with the itinerary. It was 12 days and started in Glasgow, went up to the highlands and ended in Glasgow taking in iconic Scottish places and sites and some Outlander filming sites too. I didn't really want to do it on my own and as much as I wasn't keen on tours, I figured again, if we were all Outlander fans we would have that common connection and it would be easy to talk. I also thought, there must be more women out there like me, that want to travel, but just aren't sure about how to do it and don't have anyone to go with.

I wanted to work with an agent that understood I didn't want the usual tourist experience. I wanted a relaxed tour, that didn't feel rushed and that gave time at each site. I didn't want to spend hours each day on the bus, arriving back each day really late or leave too early in the morning and be a little bit flexible so things could be changed up slightly if needed.

I also didn't want budget accommodation or hostels, I wanted comfort and wanted older women 40’s to ’80s to join it.  It’s a hard sell when you look at most tours - especially back then.

         “I travel not to cross countries off a list, but to ignite passionate affairs with destinations.” – Nyssa P. Chopra

keep an eye out for my blog -PROS AND CONS OF TOURS SOLO TRAVEL AS A MATURE FEMALE AND MY EXPERIENCES

So after some negotiation, I found my agent and 5 years ago the first SPIRIT OF OUTLANDER TOUR came about. Julia, from Spirit Journeys Worldwide, said if I could get 20 people on the tour she would do it. I did it! I found 19 (plus me) Outlander fans who wanted to come along ranging in age from ’40s to ’70s. I figured a lot would be thinking the same way as me and be nervous and would want to get to know each other before we met up, plus I wanted to support them along the way, so I started a private Facebook page and online chat.

Turns out there were a lot like me, widows who had hadn't traveled since they sadly lost their husbands, couples where the wife wanted to do an Outlander Tour but hubby didn't, single ladies who didn't have a travel buddy, and some gents who were happy to travel with a group of women (and loved it).

It was so nice, chatting most days, everyone was getting excited and sharing their thoughts and concerns and talking all things Outlander and by the time August came around it was like chatting with friends and we all felt supported in the process.

When we finally all met up, it was like we had known each other for years. (and now we have). We even had one lovely gent, who braved the trip with 20 women (including Caroline our guide) and he said he had a ball. Our guide, Caroline, is such an incredible tour guide and an Outlander fan and she was as instrumental as Julia in making our tour a memorable one.

One of the group, in particular, Juanita, and I just hit it off, like we had been friends for years, we chatted often. (the wonder of Facebook).

Being that this was our first solo trip, Juanita and I decided to meet in Manchester, before heading to Blackpool for the Outlander event, but I gave myself 10 days alone first to see how I went.

On my first trip to the UK with my daughter we had gone to Manchester and I had really liked it there, and the airport is much smaller than Heathrow and I was familiar with it, so thought I would chance it and spend some time alone.

I did enjoy some of the being solo aspects but there were things I didn't like. I learned a lot about myself and my comfort zone and limits.

         “Sometimes the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did.” - Neil Gaiman

I also figured if I was going to go all that way, thinking at the time it was going to be my only UK trip, I wanted to see as much as I could. Juanita and I decided to add two tours at the end. One to Italy and one that started in Italy and ended in Spain. We decided we would go all out. It's cheaper to add on a tour when you are there than to fly back.

I was taking a chance and I knew that. I didn't know any of these people I was dealing with. I’d never met Juanita, we had spoken on the phone a couple of times and chatted online and by email but I figured if she was brave enough to take a chance on me, as she was in the same boat then we could brave it together. What did we have to lose really?  At the time I didn't want to think too hard about that question.

                           “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.” - Terry Pratchett

I’m so glad I did. Even though Juanita and I live on opposite sides of the country as she is in Perth and I’m in Brisbane we have formed such a close friendship, we have traveled to Scotland 3 times, Italy, India, Ireland, and Singapore and Juanita has flown to QLD twice. Once Covid is under control I plan to go to WA to visit her. We have had so many laughs and such a great time together, if we both let our fears rule us we would never have met or had those experiences. I know my travels have been enriched by the shared friendship and journey we have taken together and I couldn't ask for a better travel buddy.

 

                        “You never really travel alone. The world is full of friends waiting to get to know you!”–Unknown

Our Tour to Italy was an interesting one and I learned more of the pitfalls of booking a tour online with no input yourself. It was very similar to the first Europe tour we had done. A rushed tour, just a little taste of each place, not enough to really enjoy it. Our guide was young and very lovely but she wasn't really able to control the tour group. It was quite a large group and people didn't listen, got lost and left behind, argued about where they were going to sit on the bus and no one really mixed. They all kept to themselves and no one considered the group as a whole. I like Italy, but I wouldn't rush to go back and that tour experience wasn't that enjoyable. I did love seeing Venice again though and would return if the opportunity arises. The 2nd tour didn't end up happening and I learned a huge lesson with that one. So we ended up back in Glasgow for 2 weeks, which we were both happy about, even though it cost us over $2500 in lost tour payments. We spent the 2 weeks just exploring Glasgow and chilling out before heading home again. My love of Glasgow just grew.

A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.” - Douglas Adams

lookout for my blog on 2017 SPIRIT OF OUTLANDER TOUR, UK AND EUROPE.

 

Like I said at the time I thought it was going to be a one-off, I made so many friends on that tour, had such a great time, and learned so much, but the tour was over and I went home and thought that would be it. The loss I felt at leaving Scotland was surprising and one I couldn't shift, plus I missed my new friends even though we were still chatting most days. There had been a lot of people that had wanted to come but couldn't make it in 2017 and I had a list of names of interested ladies. I also knew that Julia and Caroline were people I wanted to see and to work with again. They are both so lovely, so professional, honest, and trustworthy and they went above and beyond for us all. We spoke about it and decided to do it again. As much as that first tour was wonderful we knew we could improve on it, plus I had more places I wanted to see so the SPIRIT OF OUTLANDER 2018 TOUR was announced.

                                             “What good is inspiration if it’s not backed up by action?” – Tony Robbins

I knew by this time I knew I wanted to continue to travel but I also knew I couldn't remain in my job. It was a high-stress Government job and with commuting, it was 10 to 12 hour days. I also knew I was close to breaking point but I knew I couldn't afford my house if I wasn't working. So I made the radical decision to sell my house and quit my job. I just knew I wanted to travel and needed to make it happen. This might seem impulsive, but to me, it was the only way out. I figured it would give me time to heal and to work out my next step. Turning 60 had made me consider how I wanted to spend my remaining time on this planet. I knew the clock was ticking and if anything, it seems to speed up each year. I was losing people around me and I really didn't want to waste any more time working to pay bills. Nothing wakes you up quicker than when someone younger than you dies unexpectedly.

                              “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi

 

There were twelve women on the 2018 tour ranging in ages from ’50s to ’70s and I wanted to see some new things so we added in the Outer Hebrides and extended the tour to 16 days. By this time my friendship with Julia had grown too and we would chat often about how we could change and improve things.

This time I was going solo though, and as much as I missed having my travel buddy Juanita with me I still had the best time, we all did. I saw some amazing places, met some more amazing ladies, made some more friends and the highlight was the Gala Dinner on our last night  - Greeted at the door by a piper we enjoyed a ceilidh and an 18th century inspired dinner at the magnificent Gosford House with some of the cast of Outlander. Julia outdid herself.

Another highlight for me was meeting up with a friend I had met online, Grace. One of the loveliest people I know. We connected because of our love of Outlander but it was more than that and I know we will be friends for life. I’m so grateful that I took the chance to follow my dreams or I would never have met these wonderful people and be blessed with these new friends and experiences.

Sometimes you meet people and the bond and connection are instant, sometimes life forces you apart but the bond is never broken. I had that instant bond with Juanita and with Grace are they are now two of my dearest friends and even though there are miles between us that will never change.

 

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” -Lawrence Block

watch for my blog 2018 SPIRIT OF OUTLANDER TOUR

I returned home and the pull for Scotland was still there and stronger than ever but I also wanted to see other places.

I had turned 60 in May, so to celebrate, I decided to add a trip to India as well, something really out there for me, really pushing my comfort zone. Julia once again planned the whole trip and I had 3 girlfriends who wanted to come and celebrate.

Days later I left for India and we met on route in Singapore airport.  This time I was meeting up with Juanita, from the 2017 and Italy tour that I had known for a year and traveled with, Mechelle, a girlfriend from Brisbane I had known for over 20 years and worked with and who I did my 2nd Thailand trip with and another girlfriend Suzanne (Suzie to me) that I had known from birth to the end of high school but had not seen for 40 years. None of them knew each other and they all had different connections to me. So 4 women aged from ’50s to ’60s and only one of us, Suzie, was a seasoned solo traveler and completely fearless. She had been to India before too, which boosted our confidence, that and the fact that Julia had put the tour together for us.

We met up with another group and joined their tour in Dehli for 6 days and then we had a private tour for 10 days

Again an amazing trip. I was really scared but intrigued to do a trip to India and it was so worth it. Such an amazing country, such lovely people. I had asked a few people who had been to India before what they thought and everyone said the same thing. “It’s a sensory overload but wonderful”.

I was talking to Simon Meacock (Scottish actor at our Gala) and he said "sensory overload is an understatement. " He was so right. It's really not something you can describe successfully and do it justice, you have to go to really understand.

I do want to return but it doesn't pull at my heartstrings like Scotland. I don't think I would venture there on my own and again we wanted to do it in comfort. We had a 5-star tour on a budget cost, it was amazing.

Again I had that unbroken bond with Suzanne, after 40 years it was still the same. Suzie and I are friends from birth and even though there are miles and time between visits it doesn't change. The same for Mechelle, we don’t see each other all the time but when we do, we just pick up where we left off.

 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. “ - Mark Twain

watch for my blog SPIRIT OF INDIA TOUR

So my 2018 tours were over and I was home once more.

Still, the pull was great, I realised the only time I am truly happy and true to myself is when I am overseas and traveling and especially in Scotland. Seeing new things, meeting new people, and catching up with friends. I’m not worried about bills or what to cook for dinner, no one wants anything from me and I’m not glued to a screen -TV, phone, or computer. I truly unwind and I laugh so much my face aches. It's the only time I feel truly alive. It's also the only time I am truly at peace with who I am as a person. I can just be myself.

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds.  When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then.  People don’t have your past to hold against you.  No yesterdays on the road.” -William Least Heat Moon

Our 2017 tour members were keen to catch up, we were still chatting most days online and again and there were some new people wanting to join us. Different people had different budgets and time restraints and the 2017 members wanted to see some new things, so Julia put together a 7, 11, and 16-day tour for the new members and a 16 tour for the 2017 reunion tour which was a similar itinerary as the 16 day 2018 tour but with new Outlander sites added. It was planned so our tours crossed over and we would meet up along the way and they all came together on the last night at the Gala Dinner.

My confidence to travel was growing, both with being an organiser and with the travel. I had learned a lot and my love for all things Scottish was growing and I wanted to immerse myself more so I asked Julia to add on the Edinburgh Tattoo and A highland games.

Julia came up with a 3 day Robert Burns tour which included The EDINBURGH TATTOO as a pre-tour and a day at the BRAEMAR HIGHLAND GAMES on the last day. Two more things off my bucket list.

It was so lovely to catch up with the 2017 tour members and to meet the new people and of course to get to spend time and travel with Juanita again.

As a surprise, Julia had arranged a few things not included in the itinerary. Back in 2017 and since then on all the tours, Caroline introduced us to local Scottish music and in particular Robert Robertson from Tide Lines. We all loved the music and have been known to dance in the isles of the bus when it's played. We all listen to their music at home too.

Imagine our surprise when we had a private concert by Robert and Ross Wilson from Tide Lines at Bogbarn Farm. She also surprised us with music from Bruce MacGregor from Blazin’ Fiddles and Davey Holt, both award-winning musicians and included in the night of entertainment was a Highland Dance and a demonstration by the Badenoch Wool Waulking ladies from the Outlander episode  'Rent' and stalls from local craftspeople.

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” - Irving Wallace

Sadly I missed the gala on the final night as I got food poisoning the night before. Everyone raved at what a great night it was though. I'm sad I missed it as the MC for the night was Frazer Hines. I’m a Doctor Who fan as I’ve mentioned before and Frazer played Jamie McCrimmon in DW and was the inspiration for the character of Jamie Fraser in Outlander. I did get to have dinner with him and Julia the previous night so even though I ended up sick it was worth it, he is a lovely man. 

I spent a week with Juanita in Scotland and we caught up with Grace and Steuart and they showed some more of stunning Scotland. It was a lovely way to end the trip.

I just feel so blessed to have followed the path I have and taken the chance I took or I would never have met all these amazing people and have all these wonderful memories.

Writing this blog has brought back such joy thinking about it all again. That's the wonderful thing about travel. Even when you come home you still have the memories.

Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes! My peace with these, my love with those. The bursting tears my heart declare; Farewell, the bonnie banks of Ayr.”   Robert Burns

THEN THE YEAR THAT WAS 2020 HIT.

What I year. I was happily planning my next trip, getting excited about seeing everyone again and meeting new people. First the fires in Australia, then Covid. I could go negative and think about what I have lost but that would just be self-indulgent and selfish. I’m one of the lucky ones. I live in Australia and we haven’t been hit that hard, I’ve stayed safe and healthy. I cant travel at the moment but I know at some point in the future I will.

It did give me time to think, re-evaluate and contemplate though. Lots of time.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that pursuing the normal milestones of life just wasn’t going to make me truly happy in the long run. 

I did some research, (and I still am), did some soul searching, and decided I was on the right path but I needed to change it up even further.

                         “It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Over the last couple of years, I’ve made some decisions that have cost me a lot financially.

When I had the money I helped who I could. That's what you do. I still believe in helping where I can but I lost thousands too. So that money I had as my safety net is almost gone.

I have a small income as a carer for my sister and a bit of savings but not enough to sustain me and I have a lot of outgoing bills.

So after listening to some personal development audios and doing some soul searching and self-reflection, I decided it was up to me to change the path I was on.

  “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”  Mahatma Gandhi

I looked at what I want and how I was going to not only obtain it but sustain it. I know I want to travel, I don’t care about being rich but I want financial security so I’m not counting coins at the end of the week. I need a plan for when I’m too old to travel and work, I don’t want to have to rely on my children, I want to set myself up with a passive income.

I want to do something I feel passionate about and not trade time for money.

So I’ve made the decision to start an online business, just doing what I like doing which is travel and help others do the same. I can take my laptop with me and work when I’m away. I know there are people out there doing it already, so why can’t I, and why can't I inspire others to do the same?

Now, I’ve not changed that much, that I would just jump in without doing my homework and I don't want to spend thousands of dollars on online courses. I don't have them to spend as I’ve already done that.

I spent $5000 on an import from China class 5 years ago, $22,000 on an at-home printing business before that, and never got the equipment and after going to court several times had to just walk away and chalk it up to experience. I lost over $160,000 on a cafe that I had to close just as covid hit. So I’m not going to invest lots of money I don't have into another scheme.

One thing I do have though is time and I like being on the computer. I have limited computer skills when it comes to building websites and an online business, so I needed to find something that was really foolproof and that I knew I could master.

I also know that since covid, online shopping has boomed. I’ve always shopped online but have had some bad experiences too. Bought some great products but also bought some duds and lost money and been ripped off.

                             “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

So I thought about it and asked myself “what experience I have that I can apply to a business”?

At 62,  I know I have learned a lot of 'what not to do' and a lot of 'what works'.   I’ve learned a lot about traveling and again what not to do and what works.  With all the books I’ve read and videos I’ve watched by the “experts” who are making a living from any online or other business the one commonality I have noticed is they believe they can do it. They know they deserve it. They keep on trying. I've also noticed eventually people suss out who is genuine and who is fake and the genuine people succeed.

So I have to tell myself every day “I deserve this, I can do this, this can be my life!” Which for me is difficult as I’m usually telling myself, I can’t do it, I don’t know enough, I’m worried about failing. But I asked myself “how’s that working out for you Cherie?” lol, not all that great.

What I do know is I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes, people like what I’ve done with the tours and the online pages and apart from the covid hiccup, our tours were growing just from the service we offered. There are a lot of other people, but especially women out there in the same boat as me.

I asked myself “what do I want out of this?”

More freedom  - to set my own hours

                          - to work from anywhere in the world

More Money    -  to be able to travel with family and friends

                         -  to take in new experiences without double-checking my account balance

                        -   to not have to say “No” because of lack of funds

To be able to help others do the same and save them from making the same mistakes I made.

To be able to set up a passive income so I can retire comfortably

                                        “Be the change you are trying to create.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Who do I want to help?

I’d like to see more older women travel and follow their dreams. (and men if they want to join us).

I’d like to see more older women become self-sufficient financially so they are not reliant on others.

Older women are the largest and quickest growing statistic of homeless people.

Women who have stayed at home and raised families and supported their husbands and now finding themselves alone, with no skills, little or no income, and no support.

Older women—those aged 55 and over— were the fastest-growing cohort of homeless Australians between 2011 and 2016, increasing by 31%.

https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/age-discrimination/projects/risk-homelessness-older-women

                “The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.” - Anonymous

An online business will allow me to set my own hours and work from anywhere in the world and be my own boss. So I figure I can help others by talking about my experiences, recommending what I know works and talking to others about their experiences and what they have learned, and passing that information on. Being here to support others and answer questions anyone has.

My travel dream is still real but it will more than likely be at least another 12 months before I can travel again, so that gives me time to fit in another dream of being my own boss, working the way I want, and making sure I’m in the position of never having to be reliant on others financially. I know it will take time to grow and there is no guarantee but I’ve got nothing to lose apart from the time at this stage. Two dreams are better than one.

      “The fact is: You are not a manager of circumstance, you’re the architect of your life’s experience.”  - Tony Robbins

My goal is to share my journey, my travel stories, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Hopefully, entertain and help others to follow their dreams too and to build an online community where we can support each other to do the same.

The world is a huge place, the online market is massive, there is room for everyone, so I will promote products that I have used myself and hopefully become an affiliate for businesses that I know are not all hype and deliver what they promise.

If I can help someone else not get caught as I have then I will be happy, if I get affiliate payment for doing that, all the better. Eventually, I will sell my own products. I actually have printing equipment so will be selling personalised travel products and clothes as well.

I will not promote products for the sake of it. I will only promote a product I have used or know someone who has and if that's the case I will say that.

                           “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” - Robert Kiyosaki

So If you are in the same place in your life as I am, and have similar goals please join my community and let's help each other.

Being part of a community that is matched to your mindset and goals is crucial to supporting you through these difficult times but also to be inspired and energized through the newly formed friendships and support.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. If you would like to become a part of this new community and follow my journey click here

Slainte Mhath (cheers)

gus am bi sinn a 'coinneachadh a-rithist (until we meet again)

Cherie

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.

Douglas Adams