A couple of years ago I jumped off a bridge.  I am not an adrenalin junkie. I wanted to understand how to process fear under extreme pressure and the leadership lessons we could learn from that.  (You can read the article and watch the video HERE).  As I faced a number of the realities of setting up in a new country, I have been putting these lessons into practice.

The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. You know that moment you reach the top of the track and feel that moment of brain-freezing fear that stops your heart in its tracks. I am eternally grateful to my Orpington family, who have made me feel so welcome and provided a safe haven to get established.

The first major shock came when I strode confidently down the high street to visit estate agents to find a place to stay. I had already done some research, so I was ready for the cost of accommodation in the UK, which is the one thing that does not translate well to a 20:1 exchange rate. I found the agent that does the most rentals in Orpington, and they said no problem, as long as I could pay a year’s rental up front! For context, this is about R250K for my South African friends.   I thought that my excellent credit record and financial history from SA would count, especially in this day and age of the internet, where global credit records are easily accessible. But no, you start with a blank canvas and must rebuild your credit record from scratch.

To process this “oh SH#T moment,” I retreated to my new coffee shop to actively practice some mindfulness breathing and to remind myself that every obstacle has a path to the other side.   It reminded me of the lessons learned from my Bungy jump off the Bloukrans bridge. I did a quick gratitude audit to calm down the amygdala hijack that had put my brain into freeze mode. I have been extremely fortunate to have built a strong capital base; as harsh as the news was, I had options. I then reminded myself that the word impossible is not in my vocabulary and that I would have to put my influence and negotiation skills to good use. 

Back in front of my PC, I searched for potential properties and found a fantastic agent willing to work with me. I set up a couple of viewings and found a property that ticks all the right boxes for my son Richard and me to get settled with my hubby to join us later. My requirements were simple:  close to the train to London, the high street for shopping and near enough to family to be part of a community. Orpington is just the perfect area to get started. It is suburban enough not to have to be on trains and subways every day, close enough to London to get there in 30 minutes and close enough to family to have a support base and access to community.

With that in process, I turned my attention to work and have made a substantial start with the help of my friend and colleague Michael Jackson and the contact base I have built over the past few years. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of those I have spoken to who have been willing to open doors and provide valuable advice. My dear friend and colleague, Janice B Gordon, invited me to a meeting at the houses of parliament. (Two days before Boris’s house of cards came tumbling down). It was fascinating to walk into the hallowed halls of government where the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet. (Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside).

After meeting with one of the Members of Parliament on issues relating to women in business, Janice had booked for us to see my first London Live show, which was fabulous. Richard introduced me to Cole Porter’s “Delovely” as music director at the Savoy in Port Elizabeth. It was beautiful to watch the entire show.


My absolute highlight of this week is my visit to Scotland to meet up with my other son Michael and daughter-in-law Juanitha and my unofficial son, Bron and his young family who are over to watch the golf at St Andrews.  Instead of flying I jumped on the train so that I could enjoy the scenery on a beautiful summer day and as a digital nomad I simply set up office on the train. 

I share this birthday year with two of my closest friends, the fabulous Kerry Manning and Paul Missing. We have been friends since early primary school and know too much about each other to NOT be friends!  We have been there for each other through in the darkest moments, the joys and challenges of raising five amazing sons between us, our greatest moments of celebration and those quiet and ordinary time over tea, wine (lots of wine) and great conversation. Even though we live in different parts of the world, our friendship has endured and only got stronger. I would not be who I am or where I am without them. This evening we share a glass of wine to celebrate the first of three birthdays and laughed at the precious memories of a lifetime of being there for each other.  


As I step into this new chapter of my life, I am filled with excitement and anticipation for the adventures ahead, the opportunity to build a legacy of significance and contribute to a better world. We have the power to speak the world we want into existence. I know that I want a kinder, more human world for my children.