When I was 10 years old, on the day of my confirmation, the bishop came to our church to administer the sacrament. He said he’d received letters from all the 5th graders in the province and one letter in particular had caught his attention. That letter was mine. And he read it. Out loud. In front of the entire congregation. Naturally, all I wanted to do was hide under the pew and take my bright red cheeks with me. My mother’s pride, however, beamed so bright that she looked as though she’d been touched by God’s very hand and it was quite clear who, in that church, had written that letter. For the life of me, I don’t remember what my 10-year-old self had to say that was so compelling. What I do remember, however, is hearing my mother say on multiple occasions from that moment on: “Maybe you should become a writer.”
I wish I could say that I took her advice and studied English literature at university. I did not. I studied sciences instead, and discovered like many of my fellow alumni that a bachelor’s degree in Applied Zoology is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. And university degrees don’t guarantee you a plum job in your chosen field. And so, I did the only logical thing I could think of at the time… I started running. And spent the remainder of my 20s and early 30s gallivanting across Canada and taking the odd job to support my nomadic lifestyle. They were meant to be stop-gap jobs until I figured out, you know, what I wanted to do with my life.
For 15 years, I wandered and worked as a hostess in a steak house, a guide at the Gilles Villeneuve museum, a sex toy shipper, a veterinary clinic receptionist, a planned giving coordinator at a major university (let’s talk about bequests), a bird researcher on the Island of Hawaii, a web designer, a café manager and an administrative assistant for a large financial firm. I even helped James May build a pizza oven. It’s like I went to the career buffet and ate everything on the table.
In 2003, I launched a blog (which died at the hands of a vicious virus) and then Wonderings & Wanderings in 2008. What started off as a pet project became, over the years, something I needed to do. The kind of thing that made me want to stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning, just so that I could do it. I had to let it out, this creativity, lest I be devoured by it. And that’s when I finally realized what my mother knew all along. That thing I want to do with my life? Is writing. And apparently my passion has a sidekick called photography. Words and pictures go together, after all, like peas and carrots. When a thousand words fail, photography gives expression to those things in life that simply can’t be described. But that was then. This is now.
I currently live in London with my husband, who loves Bovril more than life itself (truth). But anyone who has the guts to propose while growing a moustache for charity deserves my lifelong love and affection. In 2015, our lives changed forever with the birth of our daughter, Wren. She is our sunshine. These days, I’m busy with the business of being a mum, which, as any mother knows, is a very busy job indeed. As such, writing has been sitting there, on the back burner, for a good long year, along with photography and running and yoga and shaving and all the things we set aside while we look after our little ones.
But now, I’m finally ready to get back in the game and give this writing lark some wings. This portfolio is just the beginning. Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss a potential story or project. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram. xo
* Photo by Xanthe Berkeley