“Did you imagine you would really be travelling the world and earning your living from your travels?” one of my dearest and oldest friends Becky wrote in an email to me the other day. “It’s quite extraordinary when you look back,” she wrote. “It probably seemed like an impossible dream to many.”
While travelling the world has been a dream since I was a kid, working as a travel writer came much later in life. My dream as a ten year old was to write books (yes, I was a very serious little girl) and by the time I was fourteen I wanted to be a journalist. In my first year at uni, I began the courses I hoped would prepare me for newspapers – politics, philosophy, psychology, and fine arts – and then I went and changed my career aspirations. A year later, I switched universities to pursue my new dream, to become a filmmaker. Over twenty years later, I’m working as a travel writer.
Life takes us places we could never have imagined. That’s what’s so wonderful about it. In the process of living – through a combination of events, encounters and interactions, from moments, meetings and minds that inspire us – we begin to form ideas, to shape goals and to create dreams for ourselves. But how many of us ever get to live those dreams? It takes imagination, spirit, determination, stamina, passion, verve, and some kind of magical combination of circumstances – along with a little serendipity – to live a dream.
My dear friend Becky has a wonderful life. A husband and four children she loves, family and friends who love her, successful businesses, a career she can be proud of, academic success that would be the envy of any student. I’ve known Bek since we were 14 and starting a new school together with another dear friend who was also a new kid in town. The three of us bonded and we’ve been loosely bound together ever since, even as our dreams and our lives have pulled us apart and tossed us all over the world.
As teenagers, Becky and I knew everything about each other. Living in the same neighbourhood, at times it felt like we spent more time with each other than we did our own families. We rode our bikes or caught the bus to school together, we spent weekends on the beach, and we slept over at each other’s houses. My parents treated Becky like a daughter. I was one of her bridesmaids and made a speech at her wedding. Becky came to visit me in Dubai when she was pregnant – just weeks before she was to give birth! Yet, as close as we were and have always been, I never knew about Becky’s dream…
Today my dear friend Becky is fulfilling a dream. Becky is one of a 23 all-women crew sailing the only tall ship, the South Passage, a 100’ gaff rigged schooner, in the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race. Around 308 nautical miles, it’s Australia’s second biggest ocean going yacht race after the Sydney to Hobart, and it’s on the international yachting calendar.
The race will take Becky’s team about 40 hours to complete. They left Brisbane at 11am today eastern standard time in Australia and they will sail into Gladstone Harbour on Easter Sunday, the 8th April. Around 60 yachts will compete and the difficulty of the race depends on the weather. They’ll travel up to 40 miles off shore, so they’ll be well and truly in the rolling swell and away from safe harbours.
Becky’s team is called WomenRace4…Redkite. WomenRace4… gives 23 novice female sailors, of all ages and abilities, the opportunity to participate in the race. While an experienced crew of seven oversees the journey, the 23 women sail the ship, handing it back after they cross the finish line. (If you’re in Australia, you can watch the coverage on Channel 9 on Good Friday.)
Becky and her gutsy team-mates are using the journey to raise money for Redkite, a charity that supports families of children and young people with cancer by providing practical, financial and emotional support. In Australia, around five children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every day, yet at the time of diagnosis only one in five families know about Redkite and access its support. Becky wants to increase awareness of their service and raise funds so Redkite can expand its coverage.
So far, the 25-member crew of WomenRace4…Redkite have raised A$11,000 through Everyday Hero and their goal is to hand over a cheque to Redkite for more than $20,000. Becky herself has raised $2500 and she has a personal goal of $50,000. There’s still time to donate to this important cause, and it is a great cause, and you can donate as little as $5 or $10.
“Thanks for your interest, encouragement and support,” Becky emailed me the other day. “I have had some interesting responses from different friends and I can tell you, it is opening my eyes in so many ways. It’s a journey of the spirit for me – but then, I think, everything is!”
So, to all my traveller friends around the world, the people who share Becky’s same sense of adventure and see travel as a ‘journey of the spirit’, the people who have dared to live their dreams, even when those around them didn’t understand why they wanted to pack a bag and get on a plane or boat to see the world, if you can spare $5 or $10, please click here www.everydayhero.com.au/womenrace4redkite2012. Thanks in advance x