People often ask me how I got to Bermuda. I was already over 40 when I emigrated to Canada from Russia. I fell in love with Vancouver at first sight. The city was the opposite of Moscow, with its crazy rhythms and frenzied energy. Vancouver is a quiet, green, clean, modern, safe city surrounded by a cold ocean.
The first summer months I had a romantic honeymoon with this beautiful place. I was as happy as a child walking around its parks and its seawalls for hours on end. In the distance were the snow white peaks of mountains, which were stately, rugged and magnificent. I could jump into the car and race high above the forest to snowboard in that pristine wilderness. I was absolutely sure that I had finally found my country and my city, and I was going to build my life there.
And yet ... I could not live in Vancouver. What initially drew me was working at the 2010 Olympic Games as a business coach. But, when the Olympics ended with its energy and uplifting spirit, I felt lost. It was an overwhelming feeling that I could do so much more, but there was no way to do it.
I lost my drive, my confidence, my energy. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I had accomplished my material dreams. A new Canadian passport, a beautiful loft in the city’s best neighbourhood, and my own car. Yet, I began to realise that I had not found the sense of belonging that I needed to be happy.
In winter, five months of rain. Vancouver winters are infamous for their monotonous rains. Grey and dreary. Rain that exhausts the soul. One evening, I was slowly walking home, sloshing through the puddles of a deserted street. It was quiet and I was very sad. I stopped and looked up at a sky without stars, and I began to cry … from helplessness, loneliness and longing. Bitter tears mixed with light drops of rain. I could not remember when I last saw the sun. It seemed to me that I would never see it again.
Enough was enough. I could not pretend anymore. I had to have the courage to change everything. I wanted another chance. Something completely new, something I had never done before. I wanted to find a more colourful and sunny world. One where I could see the fiery sun in a vibrant blue sky. A sun that in the evening fell into the ocean, painting the clouds with magnificent purple dyes. Where was this land of bright colours and lush gardens? Where were the warm winds, the moonlit beaches, the necklaces of shells, the pretty sundresses, the proud palm trees, the coral reefs and exotic fish? How could I find this extraordinary world?
I tried to find work on a cruise ship sailing between the Caribbean islands. I applied to manage an on-board art gallery. I passed several interviews, and then went for special training. Then nothing. I kept calling the head office and begging for a job.
“Was anything available for me? Please send me somewhere!” One, two, three months went by … then the long-awaited e-mail, and my heart beating so fast! It was an airline ticket to Miami with brief instructions directing me to the ship.
I will never forget this sunny day. I looked from the window of the taxi to the windblown waves of the tropical ocean. Slender palms danced overhead. Suddenly, I saw HER. The huge and beautiful snow white ship. My new home. My eyes shone and I breathed, “Hello, my ship!”
I stood a long time looking up at the distant decks. At that precise moment, I clearly understood that my life would never be the same. I knew that I had changed my destiny and created a new and unique reality of my own. On board, I looked at the cruise schedule. I saw an island I knew absolutely nothing about. Port of Call: Bermuda.
Sometimes, we are afraid to start a new journey. We look at the ocean and think about huge waves, frightening storms and dangerous currents. We fear the unknown.
We think and think and miss our boat, even if our hearts are strongly urging us to take a chance. We miss our opportunity to cruise the blue ocean on a white ship to a new and beautiful life. Our dreams are calling, but do we listen?
•Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her here: www.ninalondon.com