Four years ago, Katy Collins was, in her words, heartbroken and disillusioned after her husband-to-be called off their wedding just a month before they were meant to be exchanging vows.
But ramping up the old ‘Look how much fun I'm having!’ Facebook pictures, she decided to sell nearly everything she owned to go and “live the biggest life I could” by hitting the backpacker trail in countries such as Thailand, Dubai, India and Brazil.
And now the 30-year-old has landed a three-book publishing deal.
Collins, from Formby but now living in France, confessed everyone thought she was “mad” when she sold her house and car to jet off, especially as she'd never travelled solo before, but told Manchester Evening News, “It just felt right.
“I needed the time away from everything and everyone I knew to find myself, but it wasn't as cheesy as that.”
Blogging along the way to keep family and friends updated, her experiences soon attracted a following as she visited 30 countries before the age of 30. Looking back, she now says splitting from her fiancé was the best thing that could have happened to her.
“His decision, although devastating at the time, was the wake-up call I needed. I had a good job, a lovely house and lived a comfortable lifestyle but it lacked adventure […]
“[Now] I have climbed an active volcano in Chile, slept in a Thai jungle, got covered in Holi paint in India, skydived in France, and even taken a flight past Mount Everest. I've experienced things that I would never have dreamed possible but the highlight is being able to call myself a writer. Nothing compares to that.”
Collins is now penning The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, loosely based on her own experiences. The first book is out this month, and she revealed during the interview that the date she found out she'd got a deal was a reminder of how different her life is now.
“Ironically an editor called me on what would have been our third wedding anniversary,” she explained. “It is poignant to think how far I’d come through hard work, being brave and wanting to live the biggest life I could.”
She says on her blog: “Getting dumped ain’t pretty and even worse is being a jilted bride a month before the big day. But every cloud has a silver lining and I hope I am proof that from a crappy situation good and amazing things can still happen.”