I’m following my heart in later life
30 October 2012
At McCarthy & Stone everything we do is built around a belief that later life can be rich, rewarding and hugely fulfilling and Wendy is a wonderful example of this.
Inspiration to follow your dreams can be found in a variety of places, in people we know and in people we are yet to meet.
Wendy’s inspiring story featured in our Autumn edition of Life & Living magazine.
My father was a very wise, down-to-earth man, he took me to the pub, bought me a drink and said, “Never die wondering, Wendy.” Sadly, I was too young to appreciate what he meant and spent the next few decades being a dutiful wife and devoted mum. But the new millennium had a big impact on me. Aged 56, I felt it was time to be courageous and take my father’s advice.
First, I decided to learn a musical instrument, which I’d always longed to do. I tried the recorder and the clarinet before stumbling on the soprano saxophone, which I absolutely loved.
Then, aged 58, my friend Linda and I cycled 1,000 miles over four mountain ranges through France and Spain, following the Camino Saint-Jaques. It took five weeks, but it was exhilarating and that’s when it really hit home that it was possible to do what I wanted.
Now 67, I play the saxophone in an all-women group called Saxation, and I’ve travelled to some extraordinary places, including India, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Guatemala. I often go alone, funding myself by letting my spare room as a B&B.
"I’ve also fulfilled my ambition to take each of my five grandchildren on a holiday of a lifetime. The journeys inspired me to write the book I’m working on now, Travels With Granny."
At 66, I spent a month volunteering at an orphanage in Uganda, and I’ve just returned from Mexico, where I worked with abused teenagers. The hardest part of every adventure is taking the first step. People tell me I’m brave but I am not. I’m just following my heart and having a go, and I’ve written a book to encourage others to do the same. I smile now when I think of my father’s advice. I think he’d be proud.’
Never Die Wondering by Wendy Knee (£6.99) is available now via her website www.wendyknee.com