“Empowered women empower women!”

I love mantras like the one I used in my title of this blog post. Way too often, women and girls are pitted against each other in competition that doesn’t focus on their skills, expertise or competence. It’s all about who is the prettiest, who is the ‘hottest’, who turns the most heads. It’s a trap that is so easy to fall into if we’re not careful!

I make a concentrated effort to opt out of this kind of competition. It certainly helps that I’m not a competitive person by nature. That’s one trait that I did NOT inherit from my mother! And yet I still compare myself to other women, especially when I look in the mirror, and find myself lacking. I have found that one method to combat this is to celebrate, support and up-lift the ladies in my life that I adore. And there are many!  Today, which coincidentally happens to be International Womens Day, I want to show my support for a gorgeous woman that I admire for her easy-going nature and the sense of calm that she brings.

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Laura (LJ) and I met in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were both new employees of an American company called Broadreach based in Raleigh, and we were both there to do a Wilderness First Responders course set up for Broadreach employees. She was the British girl in the front row giggling at the instructors use of the word ‘bonking’. She was sweet and kind and came across so unassuming! We went on to work together at the Broadreach base in Anse Marcel, Saint Martin. She was a dive instructor and I was a first mate for the Arc trip. I couldn’t help but gravitate towards her. When we were on the staff training cruise, she was the only dive instructor who really noticed my intense fear of the sea, and I will never forget the patience and kindness that she showed me that first time we had to put on snorkel gear and swim together as a group. I felt like such an idiot, being the only non-sea person amongst skippers and divers! Without her help, I would have had a panic attack and would have made a scene, which I hate. I was so thankful for her!

After we had finished up our three month stint with Broadreach, w337171_10151190710352838_1722407093_oe chartered a yacht and went on holiday for a couple of weeks with a bunch of people including LJ. Poor girl was stricken with a bad tooth and yet she was so quiet about her discomfort and pain, not wanting to be a drag or to spoil anything for the rest of us. I really loved how she would do her own thing, often disappearing to the peace and quiet of her cabin or finding a free spot up on deck to sun-bake!

We parted ways after that sailing holiday, LJ ended up in London and we spent way too long in Sydney. Although we kept kinda in contact, it was another four years before we saw her again! In summer 2016, Nick and I were running a 49ft yacht in the Dalmatian Islands and LJ jumped on board for a few days. And it was like the last four years had never even happened. We drank ciders in the sun together, we reminisced about the Caribbean, she was still such a calming influence, still kind and she would still run away every now and then, only to be found either in the water or sun baking up on deck!

Now she’s off on another adventure. Her heart belongs to the sea and there’s not much of that in London town! So she’s packing her bags once more and her first stop is Thailand, to return to the sun and the diving and the nomad lifestyle. She is following her heart and I really admire her for pursuing her passion! If you or anyone you know is heading to Thailand soon and wants to do some diving, then I simply cannot recommend LJ highly enough. She is a great dive instructor and prides herself on the quality of her instructing. You can follow her adventures on her blog https://ljthediver.wordpress.com/ where she documents her past and current globe trotting highlights. As a former travel agent, she also has some fab tips on travelling to many of the far flung corners of the globe!

I can’t wait to meet up with Laura again and this time I won’t be leaving it another four years!

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