FROM A WONKY PATH TO AN OPEN ROAD

A short book about a long journey

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After 25 years in the film and advertising industry, as a BAFTA-winning producer and Managing Director, I finally had enough of all the stress and noise and decided to give the whole lot up. I needed to press ‘pause’ on life and find a way to recharge my batteries. For so long I had been scheduled and budgeted to an inch of my life, but the time had come to throw caution to the wind and make things up as I went along. Terrifying but exciting!

In July 2019, I packed my bags, my cat Kenny and fired up my 1970s VW campervan called Charlie and headed north to Scotland on a six-week solo road trip that would change my life.

During my forty days and forty nights on the road, my mid-life crisis eased gently into a life-affirming, life changing journey.

This is a short book about a long journey. Not only do I take you on the road with me for you to enjoy all the adventures and delights that a road trip offers but I reflect on my particularly non-linear path in life that, eventually, took me to the Outer Hebrides and beyond and taught me to really smile again.

An excerpt...

CHAPTER ONE | Who Am I?

 

I’m 52. Single. And have no kids.

   My blood group is B Positive, which is my attitude to life.

   I’m also dyslexic, which I have found to be a positive disadvantage.

I was educated in an all girls’ convent in Cheshire. My qualifications reached to less than a handful of O’levels, English Language not being one of them. The nuns told me I was "...thick and lazy and would never amount to anything." 

   I have founded and run four companies. I’ve been a film producer, a Managing Director and a Director of a Board. I’ve won a BAFTA, been nominated for another and won numerous short film awards.

   Brought up in Manchester, I now live in London. My home is my sanctuary. I have a truly amazing family. I have an incredible network of friends.

   But I’m lonely.

   I have a young British Shorthair Silver Tabby called Kenny. I have a blue 1970’s VW T2 bay campervan called Charlie. I love photography but I’m not a photographer. I’ve recently started road cycling.

   After three near breakdowns I left a well-paid job.

   With time on my hands and some money in the bank, and in need of therapy, I was wondering what to do next… I asked my future 80-year-old self what advice she would give me. She was pretty clear.

   “Go on a fucking road trip! Take your V-Dub, your bike, your camera and your cat. And whilst you’re away write a WHO WHAT WHY WHERE WHEN of your thoughts and you’ll work it out from there….”  

   I started writing this on day one of that fucking road trip! I love the fact that I’m still swearing into my 80’s.

   My writings skip about like my dyslexic thoughts but, when linked with my meandering road trip, will hopefully deliver the observations of someone who finally understood WHO she was, WHERE she was going and WHAT to do next.

   Kenny and Charlie are the only named references in the book. Anyone else mentioned as a he, she or friend can only wonder if it’s them…

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 © 2020 Janey de Nordwall

Janey de Nordwall

Writer | Producer