A little late in the day but I am so pleased to kick off my new series, Feature Friday, with this guestpost from a lovely lady, Sarah, that I have had the pleasure of getting to know via the power of twitter. I hope you enjoy this and it helps you to remember you should never underestimate the impact that you have on the lives of those around you.
Over to Sarah ...
Throughout my life I have had a few role models including my mum, friends, artists, authors, sportswomen and bosses. One in particular was an amazing woman, Beryl Markham, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (east to west). She was raised in Africa and forged an incredible life for herself. Beryl wrote an autobiography about her life called West with the Night. It is a wonderful book and opened my eyes to the world.
Although Beryl is one of my role models, I am not writing about her. It is the person who introduced me to her, my friend, Liana. She lent me this book nearly 20 years ago and it remains on my bookshelf today. We went to high school and college together in Tasmania and then went off to different universities. Thankfully our friendship wasn't one of incessant need and although some years we hardly saw each other, we always picked up right from where we left off.
Liana was a very intelligent woman, who was becoming a very talented research scientist. After university we both lived in Melbourne and shared a house for a time. Her dedication to work was incredible and her achievements were great. However, she had such humility along with a wicked sense of humour. She was a true friend and was always there if she was needed, her loyalty to her friends never wavered. Liana also had a fantastic mother and they were very close. She caught the travel bug after they both toured Vietnam together.
As is the case with some brilliant minds, her thoughts were always busy and daily routines like dusting were never considered - well why should it? Life could offer so many possibilities and she sought them out.
Then Liana was tragically killed in a motorway accident at only 25 years of age.
I will never be able to explain what I went through for the first few months following this. Then one day I broke and after hours of feeling my heart being ripped apart, I realised she would be screaming at me cut it out and get up. To go out to explore life and the world, as she had started doing before she died. I had to carry on where she left off and not waste the opportunities that might be out there for me. Within a couple of months I had packed up and boarded a plane.
I have been backpacking through Asia, seen a bit of Europe and worked in England and Ireland. The biggest moment of my life was meeting my English husband, now affectionately known as The Possum. We may never have met if I had not listened to Liana ticking me off.
Liana is still my guide through life and my moral compass. I have been through some pretty tough times since then but I just remind myself of her. It took a long time to absorb and accept the fact she was no longer with me but when I did, I could finally make her part of me and use her as my inner strength.
Seeing the guidelines of this invitation for a guest blog made me really think about who I could write about. After a few false starts writing about others I realised that a role model doesn't need to be someone who has lived long and experienced everything in life - it is someone who has shone brightly and brilliantly to others, making us want to follow in their footsteps. I just hope that I have made her proud by doing just that.
Sarah is a Tasmanian who, having skipped across the globe and found love in Lancashire, is currently dragging her English husband back to the land of Oz. She's an Event Manager who loves traditional archery, photography and being in the great outdoors whenever possible. Her next ambition is to teach herself knitting and crochet design and to hopefully pass these skills onto the younger generation.
You can find out more about Sarah, and nag her into starting her own blog, by tweeting her ... frequently!