You could write a book about your life in the last couple of years Laura, but for those that haven’t come across you yet can you briefly tell your story?
I am 52 and, in November 2020, I left my marriage because I knew that there was more to life than being in a marriage that was mediocre. We had been looking at relocating to France and I had the dream of living in a French farmhouse with animals and land. I now think it was my dream more than my ex-husband’s and that it was me who was pushing for the new life.
I remember realising one day that even if we were in France, living this fairy-tale life we would still not be happy. I remember looking at what was the 100,000 house online and sitting in the office where I worked with my husband and knowing that I could not go on like this anymore.
The whisper inside me had turned into a scream and the only way to silence it was to end my marriage. I told my husband that day and within 6 weeks I had left, forever…although at the time I wasn’t sure it would be.
So I bought a small car and set off to France alone. I thought if I don’t do it now, I would end up settling in the UK and this, although less scary, did not feel right.
I found a small house to rent in the south of France, a small town in an area where I had never been before and set off on the 31 October, just as they announced a full lockdown.
Many people have dreams of escaping to a foreign country and starting a new life but most never do it. What was your motivation? Where did you find the strength?
My motivation was the calling within me, the inner voice that needed me to listen. The idea of living in a place with more days of sunshine and a lot less traffic and noise was, and had been for many years, very appealing. I have always been someone who is willing to move to better my life and I have lived in many places, moving every 18 months or so has been quite normal for me.
What challenges have you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?
I am in perimenopause and one of my symptoms is driving anxiety, so I have had to deal with that on my journey down through the UK to Portsmouth and then driving on the other side of the road in France. Sometimes it is debilitating and I must stop and have something to eat and then set off again. I also use breathing techniques along the way and some NLP anchoring techniques. I also left my marriage with very little money and a fledgeling coaching business. I do not have enough money to buy a house and so that fear of survival is constant in my life. We did not own a property and settled out of court.
Leaving behind loved ones and friends. Especially my 20 year old son. Changing phones and getting a wifi signal set up to be able to work from anywhere has been challenging.
Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
I have never felt like giving up, it is not an option. I just keep going. I have never regretted my decision and although times are challenging, I know that I am doing the right thing for me.
Can you share some of your favourite times along your journey?
Some of my favourite times… pulling up at a beach on my way to Barcelona to take the ferry to visit my mum and seeing a beautiful sunset.
Driving towards the Pyrenees when I was living in the small French village and seeing the snow capped mountains.
Climbing mountains in Mallorca with my brother in law.
Walking along deserted beaches in Mallorca in the middle of winter.
SUP boarding in the Dordogne
Christmas 2021 in the Dordogne with friends when my son visited.
Buying and living in my Hymer motor home… feeling free and having something to call mine has been wonderful. It has always been a dream to have a camper van.
Meeting my French man and falling in love.
How has it been taking your job ‘on the road’ with you?
It has been fantastic to be able to work from anywhere… as long as I have a signal! I have been able to grow my coaching practice, set up an online menopause directory and membership and deliver online menopause awareness sessions to organisations from anywhere. I am living a digital nomad life.
What are your non-negotiables? And have they changed since you left England?
My non-negotiables are regular exercise, regular space to re charge my batteries. Checking in with myself to make sure I am still aligned to my core values. Regular coaching for growth and connection. Healthy nutrition, drinking in moderation and having fun!
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
This life, our one precious life. My son, my survival instinct, and my dog will need a pee!
What would the closest person in your life say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally love about you, and the one that drives them insane?’
I asked and they said that I’m kind and tolerant, open minded and resilient would be the thing they love …not sure what would drive them insane… I will ask around! He said nothing!
How would you describe yourself in no more than three words.
Feisty, fabulous and brave
What is your favourite quote?
I have chosen 2 !
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” Ann Frank
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” Anais Nin
If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great 12 months it’s been for you, what did you achieve?
Ooo I love this question! I would be travelling around and will have visited many interesting places in my camper van. I would have grown my coaching practice and be helping support many more women on their journeys to thrive in midlife and beyond. I would have seen my son at least 3 times. I would be delivering many menopause awareness trainings online for organisations. And I would have bought a plot of land to build a home.
You have a son – which one thing would you like to change in the world for him?
I would like more women to be in power throughout the world. This one change would have a huge impact on everything that happens. Wars and corruption and sexual violence would become less and that would make the world a much fairer place. I cannot abide injustice.
You can only choose to save one thing. What would it be?
1. Your wardrobe
2. Your makeup bag
3. Your music collection
4. Your shoes
Who are the three people who have been the most influential to you? And Why?
My aunty Ruth who has always lived an unconventional life and supports me every day.
Victor Frankl for surviving the concentration camps and helping others through founding Logotherapy because of, not despite his experiences
Maya Angelou for her wise and wonderful poems and life experience.
What did you learn from mistakes you made in your life?
I don’t like to think of anything as a mistake or a failure, rather a chance to learn and grow. We are where we are at any given moment because of all that has gone behind us and that is exactly where we are supposed to be. I am a lifelong learner and treat every experience as a chance to evolve and expand myself.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I have attempted many but would have liked to have been a really great singer and make my money by playing in concerts etc. Or a successful travel presenter.
What would be your must-not-miss podcast/book/film recommendation?
Book, The Four Agreements Don Miguel Ruiz. Podcast Rich Roll. On my last eggs. And The Coaches Journey podcast. Film too many to mention but maybe my favourite feel good film is still Dirty dancing and my favourite director is Pedro Almodovar
What have you learnt this week?
I like to learn always, this week I have learned that sometimes things don’t work out as planned and actually it is never a failure only an experience to learn from.
How do you feel about ageing?
Ageing is a wonderful privilege for me. I love how wise I am and how much more comfortable I feel in every circumstance but I do struggle a bit with my ageing body and skin etc and how I look. After a 25-year modelling career it is part of my story, being judged on how I look for so many years has and is something that I work on daily. One way is by high fiving myself each time I look in the mirror, thanks to Mel Robbins for this! And practising gratitude and self-compassion through meditation.
What’s the best thing about getting older?
Not giving as many fucks!!
Where can people find out more about you?
Social links to point them to…
Insta marvellous_midlife https://www.instagram.com/marvellous_midlife/
Facebook group Menopause Hive https://www.facebook.com/groups/2957582994522638
Menopause Hive online menopause directory and membership https://menopausehive.com/membership/
Facebook page Marvellous Midlife https://www.facebook.com/marvellousmidlife