Very often in life the most wonderful things that happen to us come from the unexpected and unplanned. It’s those completely out of the blue moments that can forever change the paths that we take, which can, in turn bring a whole new direction to our lives. From the briefest of chance encounters and split second decisions can come the most important, life changing events.
It was the end of a normal working day 2 years ago, whilst sat at my office desk catching up on an Instagram feed, all part and parcel of my previous life back then, heavily involved in the running of our busy Motorhome hire business and not wanting to miss our updates out in the the world of social media.
My husband and business partner was sat beside me ready to close up for the night and head home after an exceptionally long afternoon. Just as I was about to move the mouse to click ‘shut down’ on my computer screen, I noticed a few words from Heathrow Airports’ Instagram page which resonated a chord in me, compelling me to put my fingers to the keyboard in what was, unbeknown to me at the time, to become one of the most incredible life changing decisions for both of us.
The Heathrow Airport feed that I’d cast my eyes upon was a competition to mark their 70th Birthday and to be in with a chance of winning one of a selection of prizes they were asking for people to simply write their own story of a memory from a time they’d passed through this iconic airport terminal.
For me, my first real encounter into the world of air travel as a shy 9 year old girl on my maiden voyage overseas, took me through this fascinating, exciting and most bustling of environments, Heathrow Airport. To me back then in 1980, never having flown before and barely having stepped out of Wales, the excitement of those first steps through to the romantic world of one of the world’s busiest airports was intensely captivating. So much so, that those memories of my 9 year old self, stepping through those famous doors into the glamorous and glorious Heathrow terminal propelled me to put fingers to keypad in a moment of sheer heartfelt delight to recollect my fondest of memories of that day over 36 years ago.
Before I knew it my story was complete, my excitement of my childhood Heathrow experience still as clear in my mind now as it was so long ago, there I was re-living the whole moment, crystal clear memories as if it was yesterday, now submitted into the world of cyber space crossing the line from my own personnel recollections, on to my computer screen and disappearing across the web whilst my husband enquired as to what on earth was I doing and could we possibly go home yet!
The weeks passed us by and my hurried little writing competition escapade was long since forgotten, when out of the blue an e-mail appeared into my inbox that was to change our future. I could barely contain myself when I read the the words in front of me from the team at the Heathrow 70 competition…………Congratulations, you have won “The Ultimate Trip” flights for two with Qantas and 5 nights in Sydney!! I was so overwhelmed and found it so unreal, for a while I thought it may be a scam!! Can you imagine, little old me actually winning the most amazing prize to the most far away of iconic destinations….Wow was all I could say!
From this day forth, our life took a different angle, already having decided to finish our Motorhome hire business at the end of the 2016 season, choosing to just close our doors one last time, we no longer wanted or needed the pressures of working for ourselves and felt that our 30 years+ of full time work was taking its toll.
We were ready for change and this prize winning competition that we suddenly found ourselves beneficiary of, was our ticket to a very different opportunity. The chance to embark on our big hobby of camper travel on a continent that we’d yet to explore, for a length of time that we’d never been previously able to take.
On realising this could be a unique experience for us, we were overjoyed to be able to alter our return flight dates through Austravel, the travel company involved in the competition winners arrangements, so long as we travelled out on 31st May 2017, we were gratefully able to amend the return flight with them to suit our requirements.
So, we took the plunge, extending the trip to no less than 6 months and started the planning of what turned out to be the most incredible, life changing trip for us. Travelling overland across the vast expanse of Australia, in the smallest of campers, our journey covered an inspirational 23,208km.
Through outback desserts to the golden glows of the East coast, past immense Tropical rainforests, iconic city landscapes alongside Croc infested rivers to the dust of the red centre, our journey was breathtaking and unforgettable and has instilled in us the extra sense of adventure which has lead us to a new level of van travel and a change of direction from the life we once had.
From a chance moment of madness in writing my story came a moral for me, a reminder, that not only do we have to take each opportunity presented to us but we must believe that we can do these things, even when the odds are stacked against us. After all, my story was one of over 8000 stories that Heathrow Airport had received for their #Heathow70 competition and yet against the odds of winning I was one of the lucky few.
Although I have thanked them before, I thank the team again from the bottom of my heart for the prize of a lifetime, it certainly lived up to it’s promotional name of “The Ultimate Trip”!! ………..The Biggest of Thank You’s go to all of you at QANTAS Heathrow Airport PARKROYAL Hotel Darling Harbour, Sydney and Austravel
From one of those lucky 1st prize winners,