Sailing around the world was never a dream of mine, although I have always been a little crazy and I don't think it overly shocked my friends and family when I said this was what I was going to do!
When I was little I was a pretty good kid, always did my homework and was relatively academic (believe it or not!). I had a bit of a rebellious stage through 16 and 17, where I nearly drove my parents into an early grave, but who doesn't!
I have always been quite stubborn and if I wanted to do something, I was pretty determined to succeed. Once I put my mind to it, I WILL do it! My parents talk about the time when I first started walking. As soon as I knew I could get about on my own, I refused to be carried or pushed around and apparently I used to walk miles!
Even though I had a mind of my own, I have been raised with good morals and to know the importance of being polite. Dont get me wrong, I am outspoken sometimes, but I hate to offend people and am generally pretty accepting and I like to think I'm a kind hearted girl.
I had loads of different ideas as a kid of things I wanted to be when I grew up ... a pilot in the RAF, I wanted to join the army at one point, a hairdresser was an option, but one thing that was consistent was I loved being with children, and I seemed to be quite good with them.
After school I went to university. It was a bit of a blur doing the applications really. I applied for a few courses for maths and economics I think (only because I had done those subjects for A Level) but I got rejected from most of those uni's, which wasnt a huge disappointment or a shock. I didnt do very well in my exams - I think I'd had enough of that school by then and I just wanted to have fun!
Like a lot of young people, I hadn't had my heart set on any particular career. Looking back, I think I would have lasted 2 minutes as an accountant or economist, it would have bored me very quickly! My mum was the person who suggested doing something with children and so I applied and got accepted into uni doing Early Childhood Studies. It was a good course for me as it was pretty open so I hoped that during the 3 years, I would decide on a specific job I wanted to go into. And I did - teaching.
After 3 years at Uni, I did a further years study and qualified as a teacher. I specialised in Early Years and had my first teaching job in a nursery school - which I loved. Kids say the funniest things, they're so honest and innocent. They don't beat around the bush and every single day they would make me laugh, a lot. Teaching is such a rewarding job too, especially in Early Years. When children start they can't read or write and are in effect, big toddlers. When they leave they are little people, able to read and write, manage school and have developed proper personalities. It's amazing to see and I loved it.
I met Ryan in August 2017 on an online dating app - Bumble! We clicked instantly and I ended up moving into his house just after that Christmas - yes we moved pretty fast! I wanted to go travelling but Ryan had already done the whole back packing thing and he wanted to go sailing around the world. He showed me some of the popular YouTube sailing channels and I thought 'yeah I'd like to do that!' Ryan had a small boat - a Hunter Sonata - that he bought with his friend, Mick, and they had been out on it only a couple of times. I joined them for 2 more sails and then we found and bought Chelsea. I probably had about 6 hours sailing experience before we sailed Chelsea back from Cardiff! Some say impressive, some say stupid, but sod it we did it anyway!
Lots of people ask how I could afford to buy the boat with Ryan on a teachers' salary - good point! My Grandpa had died a couple of years before and sadly my Grandma died early on in 2018 and I inherited the money to buy my half of Chelsea. I hope that my Grandparents would be proud of what we have done. My Grandpa did used to sail a bit himself, long before I was born, so I think he would be quite impressed. Although I know they would have worried, probably more than my parents did!
So we sailed Chelsea back in a week to Lymington and started preparing to leave the UK that summer. I must admit, I hadn't appreciated everything that we needed to sort out. Quitting our jobs was a big one, not because it was an involved process, in fact it was one of the quickest jobs to complete on our list, but it was quite surreal and scary. I'd never not worked, even through 6th form and university, I worked. I was quite proud of what I had achieved in my career and giving it up was pretty sad. Then again, I was going to be travelling around the world so that was quite a big consellation! The tricky jobs that we needed to sort before leaving work were things like doing my ship radio license, ryan doing his navigation theory, sorting out all the paper work we needed, registering the boat, getting the insurance sorted, finding out all the equipment we would need and buying it and then learning how to use it, moving everything onto the boat and out of our houses, renting our properties out, making sure we had everything we needed for Poppy, getting the relevant jabs... it was a never ending list! Plus, we became pretty nervous that we hadn't been able to factor in any time to actually learn how to sail!
We both finished work about 3 weeks before we left England and it was the busiest 3 weeks of our lives! We could have carried on doing little bits for months but we set a date and that was when we left. It was actually pretty much exactly 1 year to the day that Ryan and I had had our first date - we fit A LOT into that year!!