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Inspiring women travellers: Elaine Wilson

 

When Elaine got in touch to tell us she had quit her steady job to become a travel blogger in her 40s, we were intrigued. It’s a bold and inspiring move, by anyone’s standards. What prompted Elaine to take the plunge? This is her story.

“I learnt the hard way that you have to take some risks in life. As the saying goes

“if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

A very long relationship ended and made me question everything else. I was in a job I didn’t enjoy and time was ticking by -  I just thought, ‘Life’s too short.’

I’ve always been a writer, and I used to be a teacher and worked in communications for lots of public sector organisations including the NHS and the local council. About five years ago I visited a friend in Perth, Australia where I volunteered for Native Animal Rescue for three weeks. I was sending emails and photos to a journalist friend in Canada and when she suggested I start a blog, I went for it!

From then on, I started blogging more regularly, looking for places I wanted to go and boldly asking them to support me. I was finding my day job soul destroying. There’s not much scope for being creative in the council sector, and the environment was depressing me. I thought, ‘There must be a better way to use my skills in marketing, writing and photography…’ So I decided to see if I could turn travel blogging into a job.

I’ve been writing my blog, Eccentric England, for a while now, and I’ve managed to build a bit of a following. I’ve started collaborating with hotels and attractions who are interested in using personal stories and social media to spread the word. I’m not quite where I want to be yet but I am blogging full time, even if I have to dip into my savings.
 

“At 48, I’m not too old for this level of change!”

I think it’s more about people’s attitudes than physical age. If you’re not prepared to embrace change and go along with it, you’ll get left behind. I try not to think too much about it, or let any doubts creep in. It’s not been easy but whatever I’ve achieved I’ve created by myself – and that’s so much more satisfying than clocking in at the council!

“I’m never happier than when I’m heading off on my next adventure.”

But packing is still a trauma! I still manage to forget basic items like toothpaste and mossie spray! This year, I’ve been to Guatemala, Belize and southern India. Last year I visited Japan for the first time. Japan is surreal, like being in a science fiction film! I experienced an 8.5 earthquake whilst I was there. It was the deepest earthquake ever recorded, although it didn’t even make the news. Next year I hope to visit more new places – Romania’s Dracula hotel is top of my list. But my favourite travel experiences often involve horses; horse riding in the mountains of Mexico was the next best thing to owning a horse!
 

“Travel to me is the courage to go into the unknown.”

I’d never planned to go to Japan but the deal I saw on flights was too good to turn down. It’s an incredible, amazing world, and there are things out there that you can’t even imagine. Yes, there are lot of horrible things but lots of good things too. Travel gives you a different perspective on life.