Hi there, I’m Pam, Pamela or Dr. P depending who you’re talking to and I’m really excited that you’ve found me here on Travellingbag. I know there’s a lot of us out there so I’m honoured that you’ve stopped long enough to check me out.
So who am I and how did I get to be on the screen in front of you?
Well, how long have you got?
I’m really no different to any of you reading this right now. I was married at 19 and had my two daughters by the time I was 24. Like many young families there were times when we struggled but we worked hard and saved and were able to build our own home and travel the world.
But then, somewhere in the middle of what I considered my well-ordered life, there was a glitch. I began to feel restless, I didn’t know why but I knew there was more out there – apparently there was, it was called life. So, I made a huge decision that was to have enormous consequences, in my 40th year I decided to return to study (YIKES!). At seventeen I hadn’t been ready for university, apparently, at forty I was.
It took some doing but after fifteen years of part time study I finally emerged from the University of Western Australia with a PhD. in Classics and Ancient History in my hand and a very bewildered look on my face. What just happened?
Well, quite a lot actually in those fifteen years – amongst the grind of daily life, of working and studying:
- I helped to organise the weddings of two daughters. I revelled in the birth of four grandchildren – two boys and two girls (perfect balance).
- I saw those two daughters through three divorces between them- that’s life I guess.
- I dealt with the move interstate of one daughter and granddaughter.
- I went through my own divorce – yeh, that was one huge change, for someone who’d never even lived alone before!
- My mother sadly passed away before she saw me complete my studies.
- And initially my thesis needed a rewrite before it was passed.
What got me through?
Other people’s belief in me? Definitely.
The need to prove to myself that I could? Abso-friggin-lutely!
So, anyway, there I was in my fifties, living alone for the first time ever and facing the prospect of hitting the dreaded sixty. What to do?
I travelled a lot in those ten years. I opened my eyes and I opened my mind to possibilities that I would never have entertained before. I flew in an open sided helicopter over the Bungle Bungles (me, the one who’s always avoided anything higher than a ten storey building), I fished for Barramundi in the Ord River (yes, there were crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks) and I travelled solo for the first time, venturing to places and cultures that I’d always stayed away from. A few years ago, as I sat by myself drinking beer in a bar in Bali, I remember thinking to myself that this was not the me who had travelled to Europe all those years ago with a husband and small children, it wasn’t the me who had searched out ham sandwiches in Venice rather than eat the local food and it wasn’t the me who spent evenings alone in the campervan while my husband socialised because I was too insecure to join in.
So I’d done lots but what was I going to do to celebrate my upcoming milestone?
Set myself a challenge, obviously.
And I don’t pick small challenges, I go for the big ones. I decided to trek to Everest Base Camp to celebrate my 60th birthday (WTF). I’d never trekked before and I’d never been at altitude before but hey – if you’re going to do something, do it big, right?
That was one hell of a walk! And that’s putting it mildly, you should try walking over five kilometres in a vertical direction and trying to do it with only half the oxygen that you normally have in your lungs! It was the most physically and mentally demanding thing I’ve ever done, but I did it. Two months short of my 60th birthday I stood at Everest Base Camp and experienced the most exhilarating and rewarding moment of my life.
But as I stood there, at 5,340 metres above sea level, with the mighty Himalayas soaring around me, I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I’d got so far out of my comfort zone.
And then …
Silly me – not content with doing it once I decided to wander a little further out of that zone of comfort and trek a harder and more challenging route again two years later, this one would see me reach the summit of Gokyo Ri at nearly 5,400 metres above sea level (go me!!).
However, this time not all went according to plan. We had un-seasonally high snowfalls that resulted in one of the mountain passes being closed and the group having to spend a horrendous day backtracking through the snowdrifts to find another route. Then, to top it all off, Mother Nature, bless her, produced the ultimate test for me.
I was still in Kathmandu when the major earthquake hit in April 2015 killing nearly 9000 people and destroying homes and ancient monuments,
It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through and the most humbling, and I must admit to struggling with the dampness behind my eyes as I write this a year and a half later. Although I came out physically unscathed, for a long time after I was questioning why I’d been there. I wasn’t supposed to be, my original travel plans would have seen me out of Nepal two days earlier but I’d changed my flight, deciding to have an extra couple of days in Kathmandu.
Long story short – There are no accidents in life. Everything I’ve done in my life and everything I’ve been through has led me to where I am today, and right now, I’m loving life.
I’m healthy and happy and I’ve created a business and a future for myself that I’m passionate about and that I’m thrilled to be able to share with you.
So there you are, that’s my story.
How about you?
Where are you at? I’d really like to know, so get in touch, let’s chat and see where you could take yourself.