Hello and welcome to this weeks featured Friday. Today we are chatting to the lovely Clair Kelly aka Where’s Clair? This extremely kind-hearted and vivacious woman really grabs life with both hands. Funnily enough I had the pleasure of working alongside Clair in a previous job where we both got on extremely well. I cannot express the level of change she has made to her life since leaving that job. She acknowledged at the time that she was unhappy and needed a change and I am absolutely delighted everything has come up roses for her. She has worked incredibly hard to get to this good place and has climbed many a mountain in doing so. She is a true inspiration and is one of the most honest and genuine people I have ever met. She really deserves all the happiness in the world and I know the way life is going for her she will achieve just that.
Please introduce yourself? Do you blog, if so please tell us about it?
I am Clair and am a part-time blogger. My blog Where’s Clair? is primarily a travel blog. I write about my traveling adventures all whilst holding down a 9-5 job. I have traveled to 12 countries in 12 months with only 21 days annual leave from my job in health research. I also touch on my struggle with weight loss and over-all wellbeing.
Do you personally or does someone close to you suffer with a physical and/or mental illness?
Like a lot of people, I have been through a very low period in my life. About four years ago I was really struggling and suffering with chronic infections, fatigue, low mood and obesity. I cried on a weekly, if not daily basis, which was so out of character for me. I had also withdrawn from my social circle. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this had gone on for two years of my life.
I found myself yet again attending my GP with another stubborn chest infection. Upon growing concern he started to ask questions regarding my personal life. As we talked I realised just how unhappy I was and that feeling this way was not normal. He told me that I was depressed and it was hammering my immune system and destroying my sleep pattern. I left the surgery not only with my usual prescription for antibiotics, but a long list of medication including antidepressants and sleeping tablets.
While medication works well for a lot of people, I decided that I did not want to go that route until I had tried everything else first. I left a relationship that I was unhappy in and moved back home with my parents and over the next few months I slowly built my life back up from scratch. I began to take care of my health through diet, exercise and mindfulness meditation. I lost almost three stone which helped immensely. Finally, I know this sounds cheesy, but I took to travel to “find myself”.
I still have to work hard at maintaining balance in my life, but I am now healthier and happier than ever before.
What has illness taught you?
I think that period of my life taught me that I am far more resilient than I ever gave myself credit for. It also taught me that you can’t just walk away from things that make you unhappy; happiness is something that needs to be worked on.
Please tell us something not a lot of people would know about you?
I once represented Ireland in the European Parliament in Brussels talking about the stigma surrounding neurological and mental health disorders. Oh and when I was a lot younger I sang in a Jazz band!!
Who inspires you and why?
There is no one person who inspires me entirely but I take inspiration from lots of different people. My parents inspire me to have a strong work ethic and to have confidence in my own strengths and abilities. My brother inspires me to follow my dreams, no matter how bizarre they might sound! My best friend inspires me to be the creator of my own destiny. In general I am inspired by people who take control of their own life and fight for it no matter what.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I have been to some of the most amazing places over the past two years from watching the Northern lights in Iceland, Havana, The Taj Mahal and Chichen Itza to name but a few…. I’m gonna be really cheesy here and say my favourite place in the world is on the sofa with my boyfriend!
Outside of blogging what do you like to do with your free time?
I live a very active life these days, so when I’m not working, travelling or blogging; I always have something to do. I support St Patrick’s Athletic Football Club and I volunteer at the club on Friday nights making tea! I also enjoy attending HIIT classes in the gym a few times a week. I have recently taken up comedy improv classes, which have done wonders for my confidence and I have even performed in a live show which is something I never thought I would do!
If you could sum up your life in one quote what would it be?
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I can really relate to this quote, because it sums up the personal journey I have been on, constantly learning, one step and one mistake at a time. I may not be able to fly but I sure as hell have learnt to dance along the way.
You can find Clair on the following links