Who’d have thought that back in February 2019 there would be a worldwide pandemic killing over a million people? In my first world existence, my only dilemma back then was do I go travelling to Bhutan and its neighbouring countries in 2020 or do I go to Australia to write another book?
Luckily I chose the latter. Instead of being one of the million Brits desperately trying to be repatriated earlier this year, I had found my perfect writers retreat. There was no way I was going to dash home to lockdowns and quarantines. I wanted beaches and kangaroos. And that is exactly what I found.
I discovered the most idyllic location to spend the next 8 months writing my book and I’d never even heard of it. On the east coast of Australia, just a short drive from Coffs Harbour, is the laid back Emerald Beach. With beaches on my doorstep and more kangaroos than people, I knew this was the perfect place to ignore the world and immerse myself into my writing.
Eight months turned into twelve months of writing, running and talking to the birds who came to visit me on my veranda nestled in the treetops. The human residents of Emerald Beach were also friendly and always had a smile and a wave to share when they passed me. I met many early risers like me during my morning runs along the Look at me Now Headland coastal track. A wave turned into a quick chat which ultimately resulted in dinners, wine tasting, hiking and even repairs of my travel torn clothes!
With lockdown hitting Australia and border closures, it meant I didn’t get distracted very much and within 6 months my book was complete. Editing and proofreading followed. Then came the time to start submitting my manuscript to publishers and literary agents. A laborious and time consuming task but it paid off. With both UK and Australian publishers interested I now have another first world dilemma. Which publishing offer do I accept?
Most people cannot wait to see the back of 2020. Personally I don’t want it to end! It’s been such a good year for me, but sadly my visa expires in December when I will be returning home to a country in lockdown. On the upside, my book “Secret Lands, Petrol Clams and a Bagful of Bolivar” should hopefully be available globally on bookshelves and online by the end of 2021! Bhutan still remains on my bucket list even if it takes me a few more years than anticipated to eventually get there.
For more information on Emerald Beach highlights visit Coffs Coast
For the most amazing breakfasts and located just metres away from the beach you must visit Surf Street Cafe
And for the most amazing pizzas (my favourite is the Gamberetto with prawns, capers and pesto) is Emerald Beach Pizza & Pasta