Life in My Hands

Life in My Hands by Dawn Bates MSA Columnist

Looking down at his face, I had this calmness wash over me. Everything started slowing down and I the noise around us disappeared.

Sounds like the perfect wistful gaze into a romantic partners eyes, right?


I had never met this man before, and here he was turning blue, choking on his tongue and convulsing in my arms as I tried my hardest to turn him over on his front, to save his life.

The ladies around me were hysterical and no good to anyone, and so this man’s life was now in my hands. What I did from this point on meant he either lived or died.

We were high up in the Andes Mountains in Colombia, and so it would take at least thirty to forty minutes for the paramedics to get to us.

Information I had learned as a first aider for my business came back in an instant. Memories of my ex-husband in the same situation on a Greek island also came back. As did the memories of hair-raising first aid moments with my two adventurous sons.

I managed to get this man on his front, clear his airways and I kept checking on his vitals. His breathing returned to normal, his colour returned and his vitals steadied.

Then the paramedics arrived, turned him on his back, and back to blue this man turned with his vital spiking dangerously. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Were these paramedics really trained in treating grand mal seizures? Obviously not.

Nor did they know how to get the man onto the stretcher without the aid of the rest of the women who were there, but still, off to the hospital, the man went and into a coma he lapsed for five days, with no MRI scan being given.

Why do I share this with you?

Well, as with everything in life there comes a time when you really do need a wake-up call so you can release the past and step firmly, more courageously and confidently into the future with nothing holding you back.

Over the last few years, I have been processing a lot of personal stuff whilst on this global circumnavigation, but to many I am just on one long holiday, living the dream and faffing around on boats and the beach all day long.

The reality as you have read is vastly different.

Now, not every day do I get presented with a series of grand mal seizures to deal with, but travelling around the world by yourself brings with it a huge amount of confronting events. It’s why most people like the idea of it, but never do it.

In my latest book ‘Being a Digital Nomad: From the perspective of a single mum in her 40s‘ I go deep into the reality of what life is really like for those of us who choose to step out of the matrix, live off-grid and still run successful businesses as we go.

As with all my books, it is not for those who are looking for a quick fix, a ‘tell you what you want to hear’ narrative or how to make a tonne of money working from wherever.

Those who know my books will know there is going to be a lot of cultures, social justice and political insights for the readers to process.

It would be irresponsible of me to not include the political and legal side of the journey because navigating the world avoiding political hotspots and culture would simply mean you are a tourist on an extended holiday rather than a digital nomad.

Since last week’s events, I have been shaken to my core, left processing everything that has happened in my life since my ex-husband had his grand mal seizures twenty-one years ago. Back then I was forced into fight mode, and if truth be told I have not processed the events at all.

We had just started building our business nine months before the seizures took place on a Greek Island We were also in the middle of renovating our home, and with the bathtub in the lounge and no identifiable kitchen, I was in full-on ‘Let’s just get this done’ mode.

Then along came children, and then another life-threatening illness, then our move to Egypt just in time for the Egyptian Uprising to start, and before I knew it, I had returned to England with my boys, faced the death of my beloved father-in-law, only to be told my husband of eighteen years wanted a divorce.

Pushing everything down, one thing on top of another, and that’s before I even get started on The Scotland Saga and heading off on the trip around the world to heal from the events which followed.

In just one week, twenty-one years of my life have been shown to me and I have cried so many tears and howled myself to sleep that the wolves I have just left in the Andes Mountains would have been proud to call their wolf sister.

Holding this man’s life in my hands has been the wake-up call I needed to really deal with the ‘pushing down’ and ‘the sucking up’ I have always done, just to get stuff done.

It has also been a big reminder for me of how we only get one shot at life, so we had better make it the best life we have.

I’ve been on social media since 2009, and to be honest, I have never really enjoyed it. I find it quite shallow to be honest, and rather toxic waste of time.

Having met some really incredible people, I have stayed, but I know the time has now come for me to remove myself from the land of InstaFake and Fakebook – the names I gave to both platforms some time ago… which in and of itself says everything.

For a digital nomad, coming off social media may seem like a crazy idea, but businesses have been running for centuries without it and will continue to run and succeed without it for centuries more. It is just the tool of the time – and yet, it has so much power of people they are not even aware of it.

My life is far too short to waste any more time on the Zuckerberg platforms, platforms where people like me get shadowbanned, put into ‘Facebook jail’ just for having a different worldview.

Life is too short for likes, views and comparisonitis, or thinking someone else has a better life just because they have taken so many of the same photos with the best filter and can afford the time to go down the spiral of social media.

The question I put to you as I finish this article today, is what is your life too short for? And what changes are you going to make in your life and business to ensure you get the best return on relationships – the ones with others, and most importantly with yourself?

If you would like to connect with me, then consider joining my bi-weekly musings update. You won’t get sold to, but you will discover information, wake up calls and fresh content which you can’t find anywhere else.

In the meantime, I am going to switch off for a couple of weeks, completely unplug from electricity, WiFi and spend time recharging myself back by the ocean where I belong.

Until the next time folks,

Take care of yourself. You owe it to yourself and your future.

Dawn x

Thought-provoking content is what Dawn is known for, as well as her non-stop travel around the world by sailboat and her trademark giggle. To learn more about Dawn, visit

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