As a ‘spiritual tourist extraordinaire’, as I like to call myself, I have found that magical things happen when we gather in incredible places and when we reach pivotal points in our lives.
This is the tale of how that unfolded for me.
Once upon a time, a young girl hitch hiked to the bright lights of London where she made her way through gangster run Soho of the 1970s into a career as a page three girl and Monroe lookalike in the glamorous 80s. She also started using heroin.
At 25, in an attempt to get clean, she circumnavigated the globe, a trip she nicknamed, ‘The Adventures of Fanny Hack-About Jones’ after a book she’d read. That story alone would put dear old Mr Grey in the shade!
Yes, I have lived.
As the big 3 – 0 approached and Saturn settled into where it had been at the moment of my birth, my spiritual roller coaster ride began.
It started with an experience that was clearly not of this world, on the empty plains of Tenerife where I’d gone walking after trying to kill myself during cold turkey. Every cell in my body reverberating with “the message”, and my life was changed forever. I had no way of verbalising it and indeed no expectation that anything like that could happen to me, but yet it did.
As I left drugs behind and deepened my spiritual practice these experiences became more frequent. They always seemed to be at their most profound when I was with people who had an important message or experience to share, often when I was travelling and in sacred locations in Scotland.
The biggest changes came after Egypt, my spiritual home. The learnings I made, inspired and informed the writing of THE ME I WANT TO BE and indeed the subsequent chapters of my life.
Egypt 2001, with Simon Treselyan, Amr Elhelly and a whole bunch of other amazing folk was my first “official” adventure as a spiritual tourist. I fell in love the moment my feet touched Egyptian soil. I was a changed woman on a journey there was no coming back from. Nothing had prepared me for the growth that could, and did, occur with the right people, in the right places and of course with the right energy. I have been having a love affair with such journeys ever since.
Every time I have been in Egypt I felt this deep connection, this feeling of home. The Egyptians, as fey as they come (and I love the contrast of the modern Muslim and ancient pharaonic beliefs) were always telling me I had an Egyptian aura. Being me I assumed it was the latest chat up line until I discovered that Scota was an Egyptian queen and us dark skinned Scots are very likely descendants.
According to the historian, Bower, the Scottish people were not an amalgam of Picts, Scots and other European peoples, but were in fact Egyptians, who could trace their ancestry directly back to a pharaoh’s daughter and her husband, a Greek king. The queen’s name was Scota – from where comes the name Scotland. The Greek king was Gaythelos – hence Gaelic, and their son was known as Hiber – which gives us Hibernia. According to tradition, this royal family was expelled from Egypt during a time of great uprising. They sailed west, settling initially in Spain before travelling to Ireland and then on to the west coast of Scotland. This same race of people eventually battled and triumphed over the Picts to become the Scots – the people who united our country.
A new book, Scota, Egyptian Queen of the Scots, by Ralph Ellis, claims to prove that this origin myth was no made-up story but the actual recording of an Egyptian exodus that did indeed conclude in Scotland.
I believe the deep-rooted memories and longings that many of us feel are in our very DNA.
I began facilitating my own tours in 2003. In Scotland our groups visited the lunar based, other worldly site of Callanish many times, often around the Spring Equinox. I taught Sekhem at Brodgar in Orkney during the special moons of 2004 and 2005. In 2004 I had one of the most stunning of these experience – it was of a deep spiritual love that revealed itself in the centre of those ancient stones. The resistance of the messages I received from spirit over those 3 days were my undoing for the next 10 years, and tthat is yet another tale.
I frequently visited the very special sites around my home in Deeside, Scotland.
The first tour I led in Egypt was 2005. My dear friend and guide Amr and I did 7 in total plus a retreat to Sharm El Sheik. Sadly the revolution in January 2011 saw the end of those tours and it was in fact with a heavy heart I began my travels to Turkey. And yet my story with Egypt does not feel over, I have a deep longing to spend quiet time there alone writing. I await the calling.
However, destiny would have it that I fell in love again, in an earthly way this time. My young lover showed me around his homeland with great pride – we visited Pamukkali, Izmir and Istanbul as well as visiting all the tourist resorts around Turkey’s incredible coast by car, bus, gulet and even tandem!!!
This was my life from 2012-2015. I was there during the June 2013 ‘riots’ in Taksim Square. Seeing first-hand the massively slanted and inaccurate reports on the international news was no surprise after seeing similar during Scotland’s 2014 Independence Referendum, yet for me it was another pivotal point.
Soul Sister Seda
The riots had led to cancelled trips including the detox retreat I had planned to attend. However, since I was already in Turkey, the facilitator said: come visit anyway. That’s how I met my dear soul sister Seda, my Turkish doppelganger. How strange to walk into a room and see yourself! We looked so alike, the locals in Datca, now “home” for me when I visit Turkey, think we are sisters – the only difference being I look more Turkish than her!!!
Seda is a yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, and like me, her work is her life, so you can imagine it took all of 5 minutes before we began planning retreats.
Our first, THE ME I WANT TO BE: RETREAT 2015, was aka “Not the Detox” The group, all dear friends now, made it a holiday to remember –
The retreat exceeded everyone’s expectations.
See from the testimonials in the video so Seda and I sat down to make it an annual event and build up to more.
Sadly world politics had another idea and we were on the move again.
The world gets smaller and more of us are becoming professional nomads so with the help of my dear friend, Maggie Erotokritos, another soul sister, met on yet another incredible journey, Peru. Peru was where I ran when the marriage ended with Jessica’s Daddy. Maggie invited me just at the moment where I needed to escape but what neither of us knew then was that journey had indeed been prophecies and was full of layers of different meanings – the full story will be a blog on it’s own. However it was Maggie I turned to now and with her help I put together THE ME I WANT TO BE: RETREAT 2016 became “Carry on in Cyprus” and THE ME I WANT TO BE: RETREAT 2017 “Carry on in Cyprus 2” Amazingly with an ex-modelling buddy, Linzi Drew – how life can turn full circles
Instant karma’s come to get ya!
Highlights to one side, 2016 was a difficult year. 2016 was in fact the end of a huge karmic cycle and I was certainly not the only one who faced challenges.
I entered the year blissed out having just done 6 weeks in India (Holiday with Jessica, India 2015-2016) but only 6 weeks later, narcissism’s poisened arrow hit me the first of many sharp blows and only the connections with spiritual sisters and brothers over the years and the deep sleep of that winter allowed me to emerge anew with 2017.
That rebirth began on my second saturn return. This time there were no messages shouted from the divine, prophetic dreams, or psychedilic journeys to the stars this time but only the deep pain of facing your soul’s truth. I didn’t resist either and I spent up to 4 hours in meditation some days, crying and getting down to the core of issues. I knew it had to happen. I found myself questioning beliefs I had espoused with fervour from when I began teaching in the 1990s. Everything was changing.
I am so grateful for 2017 and the experiences it brought me.
The energy from the karmic clear out of 2016 and dealing with its aftermath held me in it’s claws for 2 more years. It hadn’t escaped me that I’d kicked things off when I did Primal at the Osho Meditation Centre in Pune in January 2016 and I felt it needed completion. I attended a Tantra Course at Osho Afroz in Lesvos and for me the 2 courses and the 2 places were utterly different. Afroz was something else – the people I met and how we lived felt so blissful and full of love. I experienced such a profound healing there, made great friends. It was time for me to take sannyasin – committing to live life in totality. Osho for me said everything I had always felt and it was such a homecomign to realise I was not alone.
The name I was given on initiation is Deva Upchara which means divine healer – I love it.
Returning to Cyprus in 2017 was the easiest thing to do amidst the upheaval that was going on for me personally.
I am very grateful I did as it gifted me with many realisations. Exploring the Natura Beach Hotel I started working on a different style of retreat, one more suitable for a deeper dive into self-reflection and self care. From those realisations about allowing and letting go in ease which in these times is the only thing that can set us all free it also became very clear that The Me I Want To Be: Retreat, was meant to go up a level, to be my second tier retreat. With it’s fusion of hypnosis, NLP, yoga, meditations, and ancient Egyptian wisdom it cuts to the core of what needs to shift. It is a retreat only for those absolutely ready to change from the inside out and from 2017 will only be available for those who have worked with me 1-2-1, have been on some of the trainings like Sekhem, or have completed at least one wellbeing retreat. Seda, who has now also completed training in Yoga Psychology among all her many other skills, and I will be presenting the first one in India 2020 – more news coming soon.
Agra: End Of A Story
As you are probably begining to realise India is turning out to be some story!
My first visit was in 1980 – I’ll let the video tell the story as it relates to India.
Here is the trip with my daughter, Jessica ~
The 2018-2019 trip is here!
And the 7-day Varkala Wellness Yoga and Meditation Retreats is right here!
Meanwhile, all the retreats are going nomad.
The wellbeing retreats will be a lower cost retreat to keep them accessible for all. Chandra and I did the first during the winter of 2018-19 and we will repeat them yearly. Since we are spending 3/4 months in India Seda and I will be presenting more customised retreats and trainings including hypnotherapy and yoga teachers training. We will continue with the detox retreats in Turkey in the Pring and are launching a sailing retreat from october 2020, There will be a Spring Retreat on the Algarve – we even have direct flights from Aberdeen – the upshot being if you can fly from Aberdeen you can fly from anywhere!
I have plenty more places to visit and stories to tell, I will keep you posted and I would love to know if they resonate with you and what you would like to hear more about.
Thank you for reading and blessed be.
I’m sure you are starting to relaise I have an interesting past, well they say religion is for those seeking heaven and spirituality is for those who have been to hell, so maybe you’d be interested in hearing some stories from my memoirs. Check it out here!