Interview with my mum

I’m walking 640km across Jordan, and the days are counting down remarkably fast. The point of the trek is not only to challenge myself but to raise funds for @MSF_UK as I’ve written about extensively, start at number one and work on through to ten. If you believe in MSF’s work around the world or simply like my blog please head over to my just giving page and donate a few Pounds, Euro, Shillings or dollars to the cause.

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My mum is my biggest supporter and is very brave not to run screaming to the hills when I tell her about my unconventional job and my latest adventure plans, she has even joined me in several countries to have her own adventures. So here she is talking about why she supports me and MSF…

Tell everyone about yourself…

I’m Victoria’s mum so have had to put up with her longer than anyone else. We moved as a family to Sutherland in Scotland, overlooking the Moray Firth, in the Eighties  where I lived until 2007 when I retired from teaching at the local school and moved south to Moray where I currently live with my Airedale, Ellie. I really enjoy retirement as it gives me the time to walk the local trails everyday with Ellie, and the opportunity to take educational courses like learning Latin.

Ellie dog

What have been your biggest worries while Victoria has been travelling around the world?

Victoria did her degree in Edinburgh where she attained a first class honours and then she dropped the bombshell of asking me whether I minded her going to Australia to do a doctorate.  My initial reaction was to say no –  I didn’t want her going so far away.  After some serious thinking I decided that I would support her as I felt she was needing to experience life.  I have never regretted my decision and I know her dad would have been so proud of her independence and what she has achieved.


My biggest worry about Victoria’s lifestyle is that she might become really ill or have a serious accident and she wouldn’t have the funds available to get proper treatment. If I know she is travelling around I haunt Twitter and Facebook to see if she has posted anything. If I see she has been online I can relax for a few hours.

Have you ever visited Victoria while she’s been on her travels?

One of the perks of Victoria travelling to so many countries is that it gives me the incentive to go and visit her. As soon as I retired from work I took myself off to Australia and spent three weeks backpacking and a week with Victoria in Adelaide and travelling to Melbourne along The Great Ocean Road. It was a fantastic experience.

tz mary.jpg
Tanzania 2014, first close up with elephants

When she was living in Tanzania I got the opportunity of visiting her there. She arranged a safari for me and that week was one of the most memorable of my life. Seeing all the different animals in their natural habitat was amazing; visiting schools, markets and African villages and experiencing Africa gave me an insight as to why Victoria loves Africa.

Hippo roll @ Chobe national park

Last year I met her in Namibia where we did another safari.  Again it was so amazing for me to be actually there seeing the elephants crossing the Chobe River, hippos frolicking in the mud and nearly falling into the Zambezi in fright when a crocodile decided to enter the water right near us.  I thought life couldn’t get any better but a trip to the Victoria Falls eclipsed everything. Getting drenched, seeing perfect rainbows, and the sound of those mighty falls was sheer majesty and this feeling was intensified by a helicopter ride over the Falls; I returned home feeling very humble.

mum and me @ Victoria falls

What do you know about MSF?

I first became aware of Médecins Sans Frontières when Victoria informed me she was going to join them in Swaziland. I immediately set out to learn as much as I could about them.  I discovered that it is an international organisation of a network of volunteers undertaking various projects in places of armed conflict and natural disasters, which helps local people in health projects amongst many other activities.  I also began to notice that barely a day passes without a mention of their work on news programmes on radio and television and I began to feel in awe of these people who were giving part of their lives in places of danger, discomfort and all the other problems associated with bombs, earthquakes, epidemics and floods. All this is carried out regardless of race, sex or creed mostly without and government aid.


Why do you support MSF?

MSF depends on the goodwill and donations of people like us. We may not be able to actually work in the field but we can help by spreading the word of their work and by supporting the people who are fundraising for them. Unlike many other charities almost 90% of the money that is raised goes straight into the work that is being done in the field.

My daughter is fundraising for MSF. She is going to be trekking through the length of Jordan, approximately 650km, which will take about 40 days.  It is no easy challenge as she is doing it solo without physical support from anybody, so I’m sure my list of what worries me while she is travelling will definitely only get longer whilst she is doing this. She is, however, very determined to succeed and is busy getting herself fit and preparing herself for any problems that are bound to occur.


 Do you support Victoria’s solo walk across Jordan?

Despite my apprehension of her doing this trek I fully support her and even donated the money I had saved for her wedding to her cause and I know she will be as fully prepared as is possible.  Even as a small child she was independent, active, strongminded (some people would say willful) and passionate about injustice and inequality in the world. It was of no surprise that after obtaining her doctorate in Australia she decided to work in areas of the world where there are many people unable to help themselves because of the problems around them.

small vix.jpg

What are your biggest apprehensions about Victoria walking solo across Jordan?

My biggest worry about Victoria’s challenging Jordan trek is that she will be unable to communicate with us for much of the time.  Other worries are mostly about health, accidents and whether she has enough water. I know Jordan is generally a safe place to travel and the people are welcoming and friendly but there is always an exception so I do worry about her safety.


Any last comments?

I am very proud of Victoria and although I expect many sleepless nights during April I would urge as many of you as possible support her in this epic venture.  You can do this by donating on her Just Giving page and by sharing all her posts on Facebook or tweets in order to reach the widest audience we can. You will be able to follow her progress and see her photos en route, signal permitting; by signing up to her blog and you can send her encouragement every step of the way.

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