As you will know from my little bio, I am a chef on a private yacht, but before we dive deeper into where I currently am and all the fun I am up to at the moment, I think it’s important to share a little bit about my background and the sequence of events that’s brought me to where I am today.
As midnight figuratively struck on New Year’s Eve this past year, (I was fast asleep in the French Alps after a few too many bottles of red over dinner with my brother, our spouses and his kids), I realised that this year marked ten years since I left school and ten years since I started university.
A whole decade has passed since I got the bus to and from school, since I selected my subjects and applied for university, with absolutely no clue of what I wanted to be when I grew up or where I saw myself in two years, let alone five or ten.
In our apartment in Tignes in January of this year, I sat and reflected on this for a minute. I would never in a million years have said I would be where I am right now when I submitted my university applications. Let me just say that if I did know this is where I wanted to be, I would’ve certainly taken a different route.
I don’t regret a thing because everything that’s happened in the past ten years has led me to this very day. I have to say that I followed in my older brother’s footsteps and not only because he has a good taste in wine, but because, like him, I loved languages and found it was my strongest subject all through school.
Cut to the point, I started at Oxford Brookes (my second choice and much to my dismay) in September of 2009, completely clueless of who I was as a person and where I wanted to go with the life I was given. I plodded along through my first year there full of uncertainty but looking ahead to my second year that was a placement year and meant that regardless, I would soon be living in France.
After losing both of my grandfathers and a school friend passing away over the summer, countless rejections to jobs in Paris and reaching my limit of patience, I was feeling quite deflated. Until just in that moment, I landed a job that would change my life forever.
It sounds mundane on paper, but working at a car rental company on France’s Côte d’Azur would be the best thing that ever happened to me.
A year living on my own in a little studio in the old town of Antibes, I managed to fall into myself as I hit the turn of my own decade. My twenties would begin as they meant to go on, in awe of what was put in my path and taking every day as it came.
Back in Oxford I chugged away at uni life for the next two years, willing they’d be over so I could get on with whatever came next. At this point, all I knew is that I wanted to travel and write, I didn’t know how or where or what, but I also didn’t particularly care. I lived the standard life of a student – eating cheap junk food, partying all night and rolling into my morning lectures with unbrushed hair and the hope somebody would pass me their notes afterwards.
In a nutshell, whilst preparing for my final exams and listening to all of my course mates talk about their jobs they’d lined up and watching my friends from first year who’d graduated a year before me and already started out in the “real world”, I started to get a bit anxious about what would come next. The pressure of society was getting to me.
Next thing I knew, the owner of the car rental company in Antibes was calling me and asking if I was available to work for six months to cover the current manager’s maternity leave. I asked the dates and before she even finished speaking I said yes.
Before I knew it, I was moving back to the little French town that had stolen my heart and my life was about to begin.
The capital of the Med’s yachting industry and a continuous flow of yacht crew coming in and out of the office meant that I got an insight into the amazing world of water that I didn’t even know existed.
Nearing the end of the summer season and the end of my contract, one particular guy, with the persistence of a woodpecker trying to peck through to the other side of a stubborn tree, asked me on a date. He was a captain of a small motor yacht for the summer and the Mate on a sail yacht in the winter for the same owner.
He is now my husband of almost three years and has kept me safe at sea for the past five and a half years.
Getting that job in the little car rental agency on the French Riviera back then was what gave my life meaning and helped me to find my feet in a time of growth and change. Getting that phone call to come back again as I was finishing off my final exams is what led me to where I am today.
Without that six month contract, I wouldn’t have met my husband and I almost certainly wouldn’t have started working on a yacht.
Let alone as a chef, but that’s a whole other story that I will write about another day.
The point to all of this is that sometimes life takes unexpected turns and you just have to be willing to go with the flow. You really do never know where the wind will take you, and resisting it could mean you miss opportunities that were meant for you.
Fulfilling my dream of traveling and writing has been my biggest blessing over the past few years. I have traveled to over twenty countries on yachts and the list is growing. Whilst on a TransAtlantic crossing from Florida to Antibes in 2016, I wrote a book that I self published last year under the same title as this post.
If anybody is interested to read or hear more about my journey, my book is available on Amazon and Kindle worldwide (I have posted the link below).
This is just the outline of how I got to where I am work-wise and I look forward to sharing my journey with food.
Just know that with this, sometimes you just have to take the leap of faith and place a bit of trust in whatever is meant to be will be.