A new business venture which took the author from the Eden Project to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.
When I resigned from a brilliant and well-paid job to start my own business at the age of 60, I had no idea that it was going to open up the world of cruise ship speaking to me.
First, let me explain why I started a business for the first time so late in life. I blame my beloved mother, Peggy and the inspirational Sir Tim Smit, CEO of Cornwall’s Eden Project for the rush of blood to my head that inspired me to start autodotbiography. It’s an online system that makes it easy for anyone, no matter how skilled, or unskilled at writing, to create a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated hardback book of their life story for their family.
It was my mother’s untimely and sudden death that made me realise how little I knew of her life. I had so many unanswered questions and now it was too late – an experience I discovered that is all too common. And it was Sir Tim Smit, who built the biggest biomes in the world, who gave me an entrepreneurial role model that gave me the courage to go for it. So, I threw caution to the wind – along with the well-paid job that I loved as Director of Communications at the Eden Project along with my life savings – to start a business for the first time in my life at 60.
Autodotbiography was launched in 2011 at the Who Do You think You Are? Live show at Olympia. I got to meet my first customers face to face. As they completed their life stories and the beautiful hardback books arrived from the printers for packing I would check them over as a final quality control and noticed how many of them had delightful photographs taken on cruises. The classic one was of the glamorous couple, dressed for a gala dinner standing beside the ship’s captain.
I realised that many of my authors were keen on cruising. So I contacted Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and discussed autodotbiography and how I could speak about celebrating true life stories and run workshops on how to write your life story and they loved the idea. They booked me through their agents to speak on the Boudicca, then the Balmoral, then the Black Watch and finally on the Braemar. Then the booking agents arranged for me to speak on other lines including Saga, Crystal Cruises and Cunard, speaking for the first time on the Queen Mary 2 travelling from Perth to Sydney.
I have just completed an amazing ‘bucket list’ cruise from Kuala Lumpur to Southampton on the Black Watch. As we travelled to some of the world’s most iconic history sites, I ran workshops on ‘How to write your life story’ including these amazing experiences, so that future generations of their families would know what it was like to travel in the early years of the 21st century.
And if you would like to see me, in the flesh, talking about the remarkable people I met while working on BBC One’s flagship factual programme, ‘That’s Life!’, or take part in a workshop on how to write your life story, then you could join me on the Balmoral in January as we sale from Southampton to Barbados. Not only could we meet but Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines will give you a 5% discount on the cruise.
I will tell you about the conmen I have met, and how you can avoid them, and people who have changed lives for the better but who don’t think of themselves as heroes or heroines – but I do and I think you would as well.
I never dreamed of being a cruise ship speaker, but autodotbiography has not only given me the chance to help people share their life stories with future generations of their families but given me the chance to see some fabulous places and meet many delightful people who are passengers with great life stories to share.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and here is what they say about Bryher:
“Bryher was very popular, her talks were interesting and her workshops were an excellent welcome addition, a very sociable lady and perfect for the conclusion of the world cruise”.
Free trial for Silver Travellers
A year’s access to the system and one book, with no restriction on the number of pages, costs £250. However you can sign up for a free trial (no credit card details required) and if you think it is for you, there’s a 20% discount when using the code: Silvertravel.