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Focus On Spinal Injury

Freewheel Annie!

In September, we welcomed back Anne Luttman-Johnson, our Client Support Manager for our spinal cord injured clients, who took a four month sabbatical to travel around the world. Anne’s trip started in India, where she joined the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ship Lord Nelson as part of the crew for one leg of Lord Nelson’s Sail the World Challenge.

We asked Anne to give us the highlights of her trip…

Anne's story

In April 2013, filled with excitement and trepidation, I packed up my office, said goodbye to colleagues and clients, emailed everyone with the address of my blog, and set off on my adventures. Taking a year off when you are a student is one thing but planning a trip round the world when you are a fifty something year old, with a job, a house and a belligerent cat is quite a different undertaking.

Fortunately work was no problem. Irwin Mitchell have been very supportive of my venture and the house and the cat issue were solved by friends in my village who were renovating their house and needed somewhere to live for three months while the work was being carried out.

So I booked the tickets, obtained the Indian visa – no small undertaking – and somehow managed to pack both summer and winter clothes and sufficient medical supplies into my backpack on wheels!


There is not space in this newsletter to write a full description of my journey or the ups and downs that I encountered along the way. Suffice to say it was the trip of a lifetime. Starting with the sights and smells of India, a country I have always wanted to see but feared visiting because of the terrible tales of Deli-belly – a condition that suggests dire consequences for those of us with dodgy bowel control!

I cheated somewhat, by spending my nights sleeping on the Lord Nelson, a tall ship owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust. Daily excursions into Kochi involved the somewhat ungainly transfer in and out of a Tuk-tuk, which is not ideally designed, but was manageable especially with a bit of assistance. Fortunately I had no shortage of volunteers to “give me a boost up the backside!”Annie

I left Kochi on board Lord Nelson to sail to Singapore. What should have been a relatively smooth crossing turned out to be rougher than expected, due to the sudden formation of a tropical storm directly in our route, which involved a significant detour and some rather churned up sea.

I don’t tend to get seasick, but I do find rough weather is hard work as I spend my life holding on. Taking a shower becomes a major task!

Singapore was hot and humid, but the food is superb. There are wonderful food halls where you can sample the full range of Asian cuisine in one meal, if you have a big enough appetite.

From Singapore I flew to Australia where I spent three weeks visiting family and friends. At this point I was able to send some of my summer wardrobe back to the UK, leaving space for the purchase of souvenirs and additional warm clothing – proper Australian Ugg boots at half the UK cost!

Then it was on to New Zealand, where I was joined by a friend and we spent the next five and a half weeks driving around in a hire car. The scenery is spectacular. Even though I have seen all the Lord of the Rings films I was unprepared for the breathtaking vistas that are apparent at almost every turn.

Access was very good, the people were incredibly friendly, there is so much to see and do– I want to return! It is impossible to say which was the best bit – there were so many!



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