How many times a day do we see articles on getting out of your comfort zone, step out of your circle, quit the rat race etc. They are all over the place, newspapers, self-help books and on websites.
One day, on the way to a meeting, I stepped out of Bank tube station and stood there thinking ‘What am I doing?’. Watching everyone scurry to and fro made me tired just looking at them. Everyone’s heads were down and no eye contact. Picking up papers to read on the tube and everyone looking like they have been following the same routine for years. Enough. Time to change. Remember that Sandra Dee moment in Grease when she changes into those awesome trousers and becomes part of the gang..
I had run a successful little PA company and I was now running a bespoke PR company with some great clients. I can do this work anywhere I thought. I don’t have to be based in London to do this. With Skype, Internet and email you can be in touch 24/7 with the world. Communication does not stop once you step outside of London.
My great friend, Julia, was back at the time, in London from Thailand. As friends do, we were chatting over a few glasses of wine and I was talking about how I was becoming slightly jaded with London and questioning everything I was doing. Julia was taking over the running of Grounded Wellness Centre, a beautiful yoga studio and retreat on Koh Tao in Thailand. Julia is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in regards to Yoga. She also runs a great business called Yoginomics, which is an online business resource for trainee and newly qualified yoga teachers to make their passion become a business. Genius.
Her question to me was why don’t you come and help me out in Thailand? This question sent my heart racing. Could I really leave London? I mean that would be nuts wouldn’t it? Or would it?
Now I must admit I do not know a lot about yoga. We have a love / semi hate relationship. I had done Bikram for a few months although as with most things in London it fell by the wayside as work, meetings and drinks always took precedent.
So, why, I hear you ask are you going to help run a yoga studio and retreat. My answer… to step out of my comfort zone and prove to myself that I can do it. I have often stepped out of my ‘zone’ and proved to others that with determination and tenacity you can do anything. I have climbed Kilimanjaro, rowed the English Channel with 7 other people and run the London Marathon. Not bad for someone who for a sport window shopped on the Kings Road!
The 18th of September was the set date for the temporary move to Koh Tao.
Saying goodbye to family and friends was hard as they are everything in my life. A whirlwind of goodbyes, weekends with amazing friends and family before I went showed me how much I was supported and loved in my decision. A great weekend with my mum and girlfriends before I left gave me the oomph I needed. The emails from Julia showing me exactly what I was coming to with pictures and lots of information made it easier. Julia’s hard work and dedication to Grounded made it an amazing opportunity and wonderful place to come to.
I arrived in Bangkok on the 19th of September and then flew to Koh Samui. I was in awe of the beauty as soon as I arrived and it felt so right. Nothing felt out of place.
Arrival at Nikki Beach resort in Koh Samui was something else. Hugs and laughter greeted me from Julia and I instantly knew I had done the right thing. Drinks ensued and then the need for sleep hit!
The next day we travelled by ferry to Koh Tao. Two hours of catching up on news from home and also Julia’s news on Grounded and her life here on Koh Tao. We arrived in Koh Tao to be greeted by Caroline who was also helping Julia on her work here. I was plonked into a taxi and sent up the hill to Villa Shayan, my home for the next three months.
Words cannot do justice to this beautiful Island. Everywhere you look there is beauty and peace.
My journey had begun. A whirlwind weekend of meeting people, seeing Grounded Wellness Centre for the first time and doing Yoga ensued.
My motto over the last seven-years has been (and I even have it printed in a pair of shoes!) Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained. Whether it is in business or personal life. Step out, breathe, look up and walk. Surround yourself with good people and believe in yourself. It may be a tough path at times, just keep breathing.
What happened next, well I will keep you all up to date and I can guarantee you it will be a very interesting read!
Nameste and love from us all at Grounded, Koh Tao, Thailand
About Henrietta MacEwen:
Henrietta MacEwen, Hen (as she is known), started her career as a Personal Assistant in 1995 and ending her PA career in 2007 working as PA to the MD of Metro Newspaper. She then launched her own company in 2008 helping other PA’s get the best deals in London for hotels, restaurants and venues. In 2014 Hen set up her own bespoke PR company and represents some great brands and people.
Hen also likes a bit of a challenge, when she is not climbing Kilimanjaro, rowing the English Channel or running the London Marathon. Hen’s motto for life is ‘Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained’. Hen was also one of We are the City’s Influential Women in 2010.