Everyone has a story. What goes on beyond the ‘norm’ is often fascinating. Extraordinary hobbies. Dedication to causes. Side hustles. Bev’s story will have you kicking your fears, reaching for your passport, and rethinking your discarded travel clothes.
Diagnosed with breast cancer on her birthday in 2012, Bev had an awakening. One that led to a reality check with ‘later’, lots of solo world travel and a project that literally allows Bev to stitch together her travel stories into exotic footstools and cushions…. piece by piece… just like life.
So Bev started living out her travel dreams……. Morocco, India, England, Europe, Indonesia, the Middle East, and soon to be Bhutan and Timor-Leste.
For example, my husband doesn’t share my love of travel or living life to the max. Most of my travels therefore have to be solo and I do get scared. Quite scared. In Islamic countries I’ve been scared and also in countries where I was lost and couldn’t find anyone who spoke English. But I always end up being ok. I always manage.
And I’ve learnt that if we don’t face up to our fears, they will beat us. Nothing surer. The more you dive into fear, the weaker fear becomes. And the stronger you become.
I’m not saying I don’t still have moments of self-doubt. I do. I just re-affirm to myself that I can do it; that I already am doing it. That there is nothing to be afraid of except the fear itself which is entirely in my own head. Lol. And that lesson applies to us all.
I make a card for each piece, telling the story of the fabrics. My favourite footstool and matching cushion are made from a variety of fave fabrics….
A burnt orange silk sari bought in a tiny shop in Old Delhi. I was exploring the many alleys in Old Delhi, dominated by tangled electrical wiring, dirt, heat and mischievous monkeys. I entered the shop to escape the sweltering heat and the array of vibrant coloured sari’s stopped me in my tracks. The fringe comes from a pashmina I bought in Morocco . A piece of a skirt bought at a stall next to the large fruit and veggie market I visited daily in Yogyakarta, Java. The leg of pants I bought in Marrakech, Morocco. I was exploring one of the many souks when I spotted these pants. I wore them until the elastic went and I ripped one leg. I stitched on the rear pants pocket… handy for a remote control. On my 7 trips to Bali I’ve collected sarongs. There’s only one thing better than a new sarong and that’s an old sarong. Doesn’t matter if it has started to fray or fade.
I was in heaven in that shop. There were tassels, pom-poms, bells and baubles. My backpack was so full of sewing trims I had to dump some of my toiletries for the rest of my trip. This was more important than my favourite body lotion. As I found out, sewing stuff can get very heavy. Going to Bhutan in April…who knows what I’ll find there!
You’d think 23 years as a cop would have taught me that life can change/end/spiral out of control in an instant but it didn’t.
Because it wasn’t personal. Cancer is. Very personal. I had something that was going to kill me. My own body was not on my side and I had to attack it in order to beat it. I needed massive surgeries and medication.
I came out of it with a completely different attitude to life. I could now see that we really do have to live every day/hour/moment as if it could be our last. We really do have to eliminate negativity and toxic people from our lives.
As women we are often raised to not fully believe in ourselves. I was raised by a cruel and abusive father who’d wanted a son. A horrible traumatic childhood. But it is never the events or situations in life that destroy us. What destroys us is the way we react to them.
We make a choice, whether we realise that or not. We cope. Or we don’t. We can all cope. We just don’t always know that.
I met Bev for the first time in Bali. In fact one of the pieces of fabric for her cushions was bought on the day I took Bev to my favourite spa in Ubud. Our next meet up will be in Timor-Leste, a place filled with textile treasures. I can’t wait to see what Bev creates next.
Bev takes amazing photos on her travels. Follow Bev on FB for the latest in her textile treasure hunt, travel tales and the inspiration to live life NOW not LATER.
From Sharing Bali & Beyond by Karen