“Don’t give up your day job” is wise counsel often given to passionate writers who dream about writing full-time. I wrote Fractured Minds in between researching, teaching and practice in clinical neuropsychology, not to mention all the tasks that go along with bringing up a family of four. After 22 years as a university professor, the four children long since fledged, I decided it was time to move on to the next life stage and have a go at living the writing dream full time. Husband John -- also a past academic – and I sold our house in Auckland and moved lock, stock and barrel to our holiday home on Great Barrier Island. And after six years of this life we can recommend it; baby-boomers can work in their highly paid jobs into their late eighties if that’s what makes them happy, but there are other options! Take early “retirement” so you have time to live that dream, whether it is writing, or simply reading and gardening, before it’s too late. You may well be surprised by how many of the money-devouring trappings you used to think you needed are of no moment in your new life. And while investing your hard-earned savings wisely – you may live to be 100 – when you decide you have to go to that writers’ workshop or on that African safari, keep in mind that other wise saying, “A dollar saved is a dollar wasted!”
Take a moment to read about my latest nonfiction book, Trouble In Mind, read my blog about living off-grid and reviews and links to the books I am reading, and hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, be one of the first to read about my debut novel. If you are interested in neuropsychology and clinical psychology, check out my blog on the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website.
Aotearoa or The Land Of The Long White Cloud is the Maori name for New Zealand. Click on the title below each photo to view it full size.
Remote, rugged, beach-fringed Great Barrier Island lies 100kms off the North-Eastern coast of New Zealand, a 40 minute small plane ride from Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Over 75 percent of the 273 square km island is public conservation estate, with no road access to large areas. The 800 inhabitants of "The Barrier" live "off-grid" making their own power with solar panels, windmills, and generators, collecting their own water, disposing of their own waste, growing their own food and making their own entertainment. Even my computer is solar-powered! The only on-grid service is the telephone, and cell phones don't work on our side of the island because of the rugged mountain range between us and mainland New Zealand. Visitors come to the island to see the many rare birds and native bush, and for the peace, beauty, swimming, surfing, fishing, boating and hiking, often taking home some of the beautiful art works created by the many artists who live here.
For most of the year our beach is deserted except for the oyster catchers, dotterels, kingfishers and me. For a few weeks over Christmas and New Year -- the New Zealand summer -- the beach will be dotted with surfers and families, but even then I can always find a spot at least 100 yards from anyone else.