Pushing Back the Boundaries
“My Gutsy Story®” by Rosalie Marsh
When invited to submit my ‘Gutsy Story’ I pondered on where to start. Being no spring chicken, I have faced many challenges in my life but the catalyst in changing me was having hearing aids fitted. (This is not something I normally talk about but, being ‘retired’, it doesn’t matter anymore – as long as I can hide them.)
Following a traditional route of school, a nice job in an office (bank), marriage, children, and a stay-at-home Mum forever, I eventually went against the fulfilling years of the latter to work in a sales environment where I found myself. Now, after having a good level of hearing restored, I felt confident of applying for promotion. Previously, I could not fully take part in meetings without saying “pardon”, or “what was that?” as I strove to keep pace. Now, at one such meeting, opportunities to undertake management qualifications were offered. I jumped at the chance, and in complete ignorance eagerly awaited the programme details. I found that this team-building course involved some very hands-on outward-bound activities at a sea and surf centre on the Isle of Anglesey on the North Wales Coast (UK) over two visits. Suffice to say that I am not an outdoor person!
The course was stretching to say the least and pushed me to terrifying limits of endurance as I took part in all sorts of cold and wet activities—abseiling, raft making, trekking, out to sea on a landing craft, boarding a yacht in the Irish Sea and, horror of horrors, a sea level traverse. Twenty years later, I can still re-live the horror and sheer terror of what I call “rock-climbing sideways with the safety of land above and the depths of the pounding sea below.” Stepping off the rock to cross a rocky inlet with only a rope to hang on to really was the moment of truth. You had to have complete confidence that the person at the other side would catch you after you let go of the rock to which you are clinging with fingertips and toes. My confidence increased. Doors of my mind opened and I thought, “I can do this”.
However stretching this experience was, it was to prove to be a grounding for what was to come later as my husband and myself became ‘born-again’ bikers. By now, I had left sales management to work in a further education college, taking learning out into the workplace. At the same time, I too was studying, undertaking a variety of work-related courses and eventually an education degree.
I had unfulfilled dreams and longed to travel. My husband was not keen on touring in a car on the ‘wrong side of the road’. In the midst of study, assignments, families, and grandchildren, he declared that he was hankering after a motorbike following many years bike-less. He had nothing with which to tinker! Eventually the little scooter he pleaded for became a larger one, then a big bike. We had found out lost youth! The world was our oyster! The deal was that if we had a bike, would [he] tour? Could we explore the countries in Europe over which we had flown? Then by chance—serendipity?— I saw a huge, shiny, black beast of a bike in a motorcycle store in North Wales. It was a Honda Gold Wing touring motorbike. Really, a motorised horse if you think about it—at least that is how the Andorrans ride them.[i]
“This is what we need if we are going to travel.” I declared. My husband thought he had died and gone to heaven. A biker’s dreams do not normally come true so easily. He turned and walked out before coming back to me.
“But look at the luggage space!” I went on.
“You had better sign up then.”
Our lives changed forever as I sacrificed well-groomed hair and high heels for a crash helmet and biker boots. I was no longer ‘Miss Prim and Proper’ as my colleagues’ perceptions of me changed professionally.
I was forty-one years old before I went abroad. Never having toured abroad before, in middle age I did not know what even a ferry looked like but we set off to Ireland to test the water so to speak before embarking further afield. I found that my long-lost family was alive and well in County Mayo. During this profoundly emotional time, I wrote everything down and, after showing it to my mother who had been put in touch with a cousin whom she thought was dead, put my account away in a drawer where it lay for ten years. Later this formed the basis of my first book.
Living life to the full, we pushed back the boundaries of our endurance, explored new horizons, and did what we could while we could, so that we would not say “if only”. Some years later, our exploits were dramatically cut short as my husband became ill and we faced other challenges, eventually giving up riding. Using part of my name as a pen name, I decided to write about our story and so a new career was born as I climbed a steep learning curve. Initially publishing with an organisation in the US, I eventually decided to become an Indie Publisher. I had skills and wanted control to explore all distribution outlets.
With more words flowing, my genre range expanded as in retirement I found a new career. Now I continue to wear many hats and push back my boundaries through writing, marketing, formatting, publishing, blogging, tweeting, maintaining three websites, connecting with like-minded people, and generally making a nuisance of myself.
I wait with baited breath for what life has in store as I explore new horizons into the ‘third-age’.
[i] Ned and Rosie’s Gold Wing Discovery. Rosalie Marsh.1st Ed 2009 2nd Ed 2012
SONIA MARSH SAYS: I can visualize the look on your husband’s face when you showed him the big “beast” motorcyle. Having never traveled before, it must have been a huge thrill for you to explore other countries.
ROSALIE MARSH is an award-winning Author, Speaker, Learning & Development Consultant, Grandmother, Blogger, Marketer, Educator, Website Editor, and Indie Publisher. Born in Lancashire and settling in North Wales with her husband and growing family, Marsh followed a varied career in banking, sales management and adult education before ‘retiring’ to concentrate on writing, drawing on her skills and experiences in travel and adult education. The Just Us Two travel writing series is based on biographical travel experiences. The Lifelong Learning: Personal Effectiveness Guides aim to inspire you to push back the boundaries and achieve your goals in life.
- Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie’s Gold Wing Discovery at Amazon UK
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