I was born to Scottish parents (my mother, Sheila, and my father, Bill) in Newfoundland, Canada, where my (now-late) father was a pilot. I have one older brother, Bill, who is married to my sister-in-law, Doreen, and together they have two lovely daughters, my beautiful nieces Sara and Leanne.
I was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. When I was born, my consultant told my parents that I would only live a very short time. How short? Between three and six months. Hah! I fooled ’em! After almost five decades, guess what? Yep, I am still here! And I am not going anywhere. Unless it is on a cruise ship, of course!
However, I am truly grateful to my mother and father for bringing me back to Scotland and to the medical staff (surgeons, anesthetists, doctors, and nurses) at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. It is with thanks to their expertise and care that almost five decades later I am still here today.
Back in 2006, I was in a bad place. I had no job, no money, and no prospects. I decided to go back to college, not just to better myself but also to better my self-esteem, my qualifications, and my prospects of getting a job. I studied for an HNC (Higher National Certificate) in travel and tourism at Aberdeen College in the northeast of Scotland.
After completing my HNC in 2007, I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to work in the cruise industry. I worked for a major cruise company as a reservations cruise consultant. This sounds posh and exciting. It definitely is not posh, but it can be very exciting. It involved selling cruise holidays for some fantastic cruise lines to travel agents and the general public alike. I also conducted cruise ship tours for groups of able-bodied guests, as well as those with disabilities, showing them around some of the magnificent ships when they were in port.