From Russia to Bermuda with life, love and laughs
Nina London wanted to write a book about her life but put it off for years.
Looking back, she realises she just wasn’t ready.
“We always think there will be another day or time that we can accomplish our dream,” said Ms London, whose column, Life Begins at 50, appears every Thursday in The Royal Gazette.
And then in 2015 she got a huge wake-up call; she had cancer.
“That is when I started to think I shouldn’t delay,” said Ms London, who was then 50 and planning her wedding to Bill Rosser. “That was huge. I understood that time is not infinite. We think we will live for ever. We think we will have time.”
She’s uncertain why, but it didn’t give her the push she needed.
“Maybe I was not confident enough whether it would be successful,” said Ms London, who had already written five books, all related to business. “Then I started thinking it is not about being successful; for me it is a different goal. I want to share my world.”
A life coach, she started writing her inspirational column for this paper in 2016. Her idea was to talk about finding self-fulfilment and happiness after the age of 50. Although it wasn’t a book, it was a start.
Then a year ago she decided it was time to take the dream all the way. She selected her best columns and put them together for Live Love Laugh: From Siberia to Bermuda.
“I was very proud,” Ms London said, explaining how she laughed, screamed, did a little dance and then cried when she saw the first copy. “It was a personal victory. I put so much of my heart into every article I wrote.”
She was pleased by the response she got at several book signings last month.
“People said how much they look forward to my column; [that they] go straight to the Lifestyle section,” she said. “One woman cut out my column and sent it to her sister in Vancouver.”
Ms London grew up in communist Russia, next to Lake Baikal in Siberia.
Her family were originally from an area near the coast of the Black Sea but during the 1917 Revolution, they were forcibly removed to Irkutsk as punishment for being wealthy and educated. Her grandparents lost all their money and were separated from their friends but managed to rebuild their lives.
As a little girl Ms London dreamt of seeing the world but few people in Russia then had permission to travel.
She particularly wanted to one day see the ocean.
“I was a competitive swimmer,” she said. “I started swimming at age 7 at a swimming club. I always wanted to experience the salt water. Often I was imagining myself smelling the wind and feeling the salt on my face. That was something that pushed me to do things differently, not to be afraid to try something new.”
As an adult, she worked as a science teacher in a university near her home. In 1997 an opportunity to do a professional exchange in California came up and she snatched it, taking her young daughter Maria and 67-year-old mother, Vera, with her.
While there, Ms London spent several years studying towards a doctorate.
“I never finished the PhD,” she said, proudly sharing that her daughter earned hers from Yale University.
In 2002, Ms London’s student visa ran out and she returned to Russia. In Moscow, she spent six years training staff at a pharmaceutical company.
“In Russia, there were no books about leadership, time management or sales,” she said.
So she wrote her own using her given name, Nina Telpoukhovskaia. The first run of Recipes of Successful Sales sold 40,000 copies; a similar number sold in a second run.
Years later she changed her surname to London in homage to Jack London, the American novelist.
She eventually emigrated to Canada but found the weather in Vancouver too cold.
“I like warmth,” she said. “I thought, ‘Let’s try something different.’ I went to work on a cruise ship. I went on a six-month contract and my last destination after five months in the Caribbean was Bermuda.”
In May 2011 she bumped into her future husband while poking around Dockyard in search of Glass Beach. She asked him for directions, he offered to take her to a beach in Southampton and the rest is history.
Aside from her writing she’s focused on Nina London, the life coaching business that ultimately led to Live Love Laugh.
“I work with my clients and I see how some of them have changed their life in six months,” she said. “In six months they became different people and changed their habits.”
Her advice to anyone who wants to achieve a dream is to work towards it every day.
“If you are very, very focused, people in the universe will start helping you,” she said. “Amazing things can happen because you are so passionate and believe in what you are doing.”
• Live Love Laugh: From Siberia to Bermuda is available at the Bookmart at Brown&Co and the Bermuda Bookstore. Follow Nina London on Facebook or contact her directly: 518-1633, firstname.lastname@example.org and www.ninalondon.com
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