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That Time I Went On An Important Journey That Shaped Who I Am Today (& Giveaway)

That Time I Went On An Important Journey That Shaped Who I Am Today

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for Rosie Loves Jack and I am here today to tell you all about an important journey I went on in my life.

Title: Rosie Loves Jack
Author: Mel Darbon
Publisher: Usborne
Published: 6th September 2018
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source:: Review Copy from Publisher
Add It: Amazon UK Goodreads.
Summary:Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re split up, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even run away from home. Even cross London and travel to Brighton alone, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though any girl might find that hard, let alone a girl with Down’s syndrome. See the world through new eyes in this one-in-a-million story about fighting for the freedoms that we often take for granted: independence, tolerance and love.

That Time I Went On An Important Journey That Shaped Who I Am Today

In all honesty I have been on a lot of important journeys over the years but the one that always comes to mind when I think about this is when I went to Canada for my gap year. At only eighteen, I flew halfway across the world to embark on a new adventure. While I wasn’t strictly travelling alone as my step brother was coming out with me, it was the first time I had ever really been away from my parents for longer than a week. And the first time that I was well and truly in charge of my life and my actions without adult supervision. For some, this may have seemed insurmountable, but I was incredibly excited and could not wait for it all to happen.

And happen it did. It turned out that having my step brother there didn’t change anything. We ended up living in different accommodations and working different jobs so really, when it came down to it – we were both there alone. As an introvert, this meant it took me a while to settle in with my peers. I ended up having to share a room with a stranger, which I wasn’t expecting and was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It turned out that she worked nights and I worked mornings which meant that neither of us slept particularly well. This came to an end about two months in when one of the other girls left which meant there was a free room and my roommate moved in there, leaving me alone for the final four months. Fortunately, however, I lived in a house with ten other people and I soon found myself immersing in their lives.

But the biggest challenge for me was working out how to live truly independently. Fortunately my mother had armed me with knowing how to do my own laundry and how to cook but I soon found that cooking for one was very different to cooking for four, and that Canadian laundry and UK laundry are very different! But after a while, I gained my bearings and soon became used to everything that was thrown at me. I worked in a ski rental shop attached to one of the hotels there and learnt a lot about how ski rentals worked which was really fascinating. But the best part? I was allowed to have the rentals free of charge on my days off.

And I very much used that service. Before arriving in Canada I had spent a little bit of time on dry ski slopes but had never really mastered skiing. I could snow plough but that was about it. But that didn’t stop me. I went straight to the mountain on the first opportunity I could and went for a good day hanging around on the kids slope. However, it soon became obvious – what with my trepidation of the ski lifts – that I would need to get a good teacher to show me the ropes a bit more. So I booked, at a reduced staff rate, a private skiing instructor. I think I had three or four lessons with her and it wasn’t long before I was happily enjoying myself on the ski runs. I still can’t really parallel ski perfectly – but then having weird hips and stance doesn’t help that – but I managed to truly enjoy myself on all of the green runs.

But what I really learnt while I was on the other side of the world – was how strong and independent I truly am. Even now, ten years later, when I mention that I am going on holiday alone, or to a restaurant alone, or to the cinema alone, or even to a cafe alone, people look a little bit incredulous. And I’ve always struggled with why this is such a problem. I think what it boils down to though is in part the societal notion that if we are alone, we are lonely, and that most people never have to be truly independent. But for me, my independence is the part of my personality that I treasure the most. It means that if there is something I want to, I’m going to do it. It means that if I want to go somewhere, I will just go there.

So going to Canada on my gap year was the best thing that I have ever done. It gave me the strength to be the independent person I am today. I learnt how to cook for one. I learnt how to cope with illness without my mum. I learnt how to cope day by day alone for six months without feeling horrendously lonely every day (I will admit that there were some lonely days but that would happen in a place where I didn’t make any lasting friendships). I learnt how to ski properly. I learnt to have fun on my own. I learnt how to enjoy the moment. I learnt how to be me.

And I will forever be grateful that I decided to take that leap and go away on my own for so long.


To bag yourself a copy of this book, all you need to do is comment below answering one of my questions – or just responding with your thoughts on my post!

ENDS: 31st January 2018
Don’t forget to leave your correct e-mail address when you comment!
Winners will be contacted on 2nd January 2019 and have 1 week to claim the prize.
Competition is sponsored by Usborne Publishing.

Have you ever travelled alone? How independent are you? Will you be reading this book?



  • Jo m welsh

    I’d love to read this always love a new book but don’t think I would ever travel far alone I enjoy going on adventures with company.

  • Alex

    The only travelling alone I can think of that I’ve done is getting a train to Birmingham for a book signing, but I don’t think that really counts… I am dying to read this book! It sounds so sweet and amazing!

  • Sue Marsh

    In my younger days I did travel alone once to Scarborough to see someone in concert but these days I will only travel alone in my car in my home town. The cover of this book is very eye catching that’s captured my attention. Sure would love to read & review it.

  • Emily

    I utterly love Rosie Loves Jack, so I’m so glad to see another blog promoting it! Your story is so great to hear and I think we aways need that push to help us become more independent.

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