‘Sometimes the best friendships are the ones you least expect’

Oct 30, 2019
Had JD Kew not taken the opportunity to attend a writing retreat to Norfolk Island (pictured), she may never have met her friend. Source: JD Kew

After two years of upheaval I was battle weary and needed to close our business and retire. My first love was writing so I wanted to get reacquainted with my long-lost art and enrolled in a memoir writing course. All year I had been watching that course and finally it was available at a time I could attend.

Apprehensively I entered the room I wondered what sort of people awaited me but I needn’t have worried. Writers, on the most part, turned out to be an empathetic and supportive crew. At the end of the third session the tutor invited me to her writers’ retreat the following year.

“Where is it?” I asked. “Norfolk Island” she replied.

It took me all of 10 minutes to decide I wanted to go; the next hurdle was telling my husband. I booked and waited the long months until the time for departure arrived not really knowing what to expect. For the first time in decades after raising a family I was embarking on a solo holiday, it was exciting and worrisome at the same time.

When we arrived at our resort it was time to become acquainted with my fellow writers. A retiree of mere weeks this lot looked like grannies-on-tour except for one small energetic woman with pink streaked hair. Half the day was dedicated to writing, the other half was ours to enjoy as we pleased. We got to chatting that week over multiple dinners and cocktails. I learned from her what it’s like to fully embrace life in retirement.

This little pink-haired lady does amazing things. She is a member of a ukulele performance group and writes children’s songs. She runs her own YouTube channel; she is indeed a New Age creative and frequents the Apple Store constantly learning new tech skills. I admire her energy and broad talents very much. Despite having the odd health problem, she doesn’t let it slow her down because she doesn’t want to waste time.

In our free time we hit the road in our tiny hire car like Thelma and Louise on an island adventure, well except for the bit when they drove off the cliff. The new road trip buddies didn’t waste time sleeping like the others, we just went out and did stuff. She calls me ‘kid’ as I am a similar age to her son and I call her ‘girlfriend’.

We went touring, swimming, fed the wild chooks, admired the heritage cattle and hiked to view the best scenic spots. When we said our goodbyes at the airport, I wondered what might become of this newly blossomed friendship as we had exchanged details. I found her fascinating and had really enjoyed her company.

I didn’t need to worry, we became friends online the next week. We chat each week on multiple platforms about whatever we’re writing or enjoying at the time. We’ve also discovered a shared interest in politics, social justice, films, opera and theatre. We’ve been out to dinner; she’s met my husband and we plan to catch up in the future. We laugh a lot.

Now whenever either of us achieve some small writing success we’re the first to share it with each other. It’s so nice to have found a good friend when you weren’t expecting to. Friends come through sliding doors sometimes they just slip into your life when you least expect it and I’m so grateful my scribbling sister came into my life.

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Sue's sassy!

She became a member of Starts at 60 and got access to amazing travel deals, free masterclasses, exclusive news and features and hot member discounts!

And she entered to win a $10K trip for four people to Norfolk Island in 2021. Join now, it’s free to become a member. Members get more.

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Have you found friendship when you least expected it? What brought you and your closest friend/s together?

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