She overcame the difficulties posed by dyslexia to write a book about her journey to self-acceptance – Finding Me, Myself and I. She talks to MiNDFOOD about what inspired her to write the book and the nine-year-long writing process.
What can readers expect from Finding Me, Myself and I?
Finding Me, Myself and I is a book that is about loving your authentic self. To be able to love your authentic self you must know your authentic self, so for me to love my authentic self I needed to learn who I was. The reason why I went on a self-discovery journey was the fact that I spent 30 years of my life feeling I was not good enough, feeling I was not loved, I didn’t belong.
That limiting belief came from my school days, from as early as the age of eight. As an eight-year-old sitting there full of fear in the classroom, the teacher constantly told me that I am not good enough, I will not amount to anything, I am an embarrassment to the school, to the class, to society, to my family.
Those words hurt so badly, those words created so much pain that it was hard to breathe through it. To avoid that pain, as an eight-year-old, I locked it up – I locked it up so deep inside me and I pretended that it didn’t exist. As time went, and I got through high school and started university and started work, I became someone who I wasn’t.
What inspired you to write the book?
My biggest inspiration was my children, my two daughters. They were the main reason I persevered so hard and pushed so hard to write this book. The reason I wanted to write this book for my daughters was that as I was growing into a person that I didn’t like, and the person I wasn’t born to be, I started to notice I was teaching my daughters to do the same thing. I was teaching them by my actions.
It broke my heart to see that my inner demons were affecting my children. I was reflecting low self-esteem onto them, and they were embodying the same emotions that they are not good enough, even though I said again and again that they are beautiful and I love them exactly the way they are. So before I, as a mother, made a mess of my two daughters’ lives, I needed to change something – I couldn’t help them unless I helped myself. And that’s what the book is all about.
It took you nine years to write Finding Me, Myself and I. Can you take us through your writing process?
I started when my second daughter was very little and I was doing more journal-style writing, just journaling every day what I was feeling. The journaling went from two sentences to one page for one day, then two pages for one day and three pages for one day. And of course, nobody could read my journal because of my spelling and grammar, but I could; I knew exactly what was on those pages.
Then just before my 40th birthday, I sat down to clean up my cupboards, and I came across these journals. I started to read them. The more I read, the more I realised that I am borderline suicidal, I am depressed, and I am stressed out and burnt out, and I’m really struggling. I’m struggling with every part of my life because I’m not happy with what’s happening inside me. That was the moment I decided I had to make a change, and I took off on a solo trip for 10 days to London. It wasn’t until I got to London that the penny dropped, because I had time to think.
From the process of journaling everything, I went into a process of blogging and the blogs were more uplifting because I was trying to only share what made me happy. And then I got so many emails from women who started to connect with what I was saying, to connect with similar emotions that they feel stuck in their minds, in their bodies, in their hearts. They’re struggling with anxiety and depression and stressed out, they’re wearing way too many hats, and they don’t have time for themselves – there’s no time for that person, they don’t even know who that person is. That pushed me to the next level of writing.
As I was also travelling to different places and meeting lots of different people who were on solo travel journeys as well, my investigative mind was always wanting to know why they were travelling alone. I learnt there were two reasons – (1) they were running away from something, but they didn’t know what they were running away from; (2) they were trying to look for something or find something and yet they did not know what they were looking for. I could connect to both of those messages. And then I realised that if I don’t share my story, I am not going to help my daughters and I am not going to help anybody out there.
What is it about solo travel that is so beneficial?
After I started solo travel to self-discovery and I made myself a promise that every year I will go somewhere by myself, for myself. After almost 10 years I am still doing that, and I’m very proud of that, and I think I will be doing this forever. I encourage every woman who wants to live a life that is on her terms to do the same.
With solo travelling you are in your own company, you learn to love your own company, you learn all the things that you like about yourself and also the things you don’t like about yourself. When you’re travelling with people, you are always doing things for others, or if not, then you are always dragging people to do things that you want but they don’t want to be there, so there’s never a moment of just total freedom. Whereas in solo travel there are moments and moments and moments of total freedom. You get to pick when you want to wake up, you get to pick what you want to eat, you get to pick what you want to do, you get to pick what you want to see. All of that creates a different level of freedom inside you – it opens your mind to a different level of awareness, a different level of who you really are. Also you learn to take responsibility, because if you make a decision that goes wrong, it is totally on you, you can not blame anybody else.
The other part of solo travelling for me on a spiritual level is that when you are alone you connect within, you connect within to the full level of your energy, to the true you, the true you that motivates all the greatness in life, and that for me is powerful. So solo travel for me is a must – I really suggest that every woman should do this once a year. It doesn’t matter how long you can afford to go for, how far you can afford to go, but you must go – this is the present that you need to give yourself.
You started a business, Traveling with Me, Myself and I. What services does it offer?
I wasn’t looking to start a business. When I was on the road, my business found me. I started off with offering people my services and my knowledge and my understanding on how to solo travel, so I became a solo travel specialist. My mantra is travel safe, travel smart and travel solo. And I loved helping people, I still do. From there my business evolved into also doing a lot of motivational speaking, keynote speaking as well, and I have been privileged enough to speak all around the world as well as in Australia. So my business Traveling with Me, Myself and I is all about you being you and loving your authentic self and tapping into that power of your authentic self.
Anyone who may be feeling distressed can contact the following organisations for support –
Lifeline 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or text 4202
Youthline 0800 376 633
SANE Helpline 1800 18 72 63
Lifeline 131 114
Beyond blue 1300 22 4636