A woman has revealed how she has taken her mum backpacking around Asia to celebrate the news that she is cancer-free.
Kate Gearing, 69, a retired doctor from Dairloch, Wester Ross, Scotland was invited to join her daughter, Nessie, and her partner Becca Wolfenden, both 27, on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Thailand.
Kate was given the all-clear in January 2022 after battling breast cancer and the couple decided to plan a celebratory backpacking trip for her to join them on.
The trio are now making their way around some of the Phi Phi islands - Koh Lipe, Koh Lanta and Phuket.
So far they have visited an animal sanctuary, gone snorkelling, enjoyed local food and even taken Kate partying.
"I’m enjoying it," Kate says of the incredible trip. "It’s exhausting - they are leading me all over the place, but it’s been great fun."
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Feeling grateful that her cancer was picked up and treated early enough for her to receive the all-clear, Kate says it has encouraged her to have a new outlook on life.
"Make the most the of what time you have and have fun," she says.
Nessie, who owns a development trust charity with Becca, says the trip has had an incredible impact on her mother.
"She’s more free," she explains.
"It’s been a complete change in character."
Becca adds: "Seeing her now backpacking and lying on a beach, carefree is so nice.
Kate was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021 and had an operation to remove the lump, followed by radiation before being given the all clear in January 2022.
"She’s very resilient," Becca says.
Nessie adds: "She’s a doctor, so she's a fighter."
The couple, who have already been on UK trips with Kate, invited her to travel around Thailand with them and were surprised when she wanted to backpack her way round the area.
The trio flew out on November 9, 2023, to Ko Lipe and have been enjoying island hopping – taking boat trips and swimming in the sea.
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They have been staying in budget hotels and Airbnb's while travelling around.
"We went to an animal sanctuary and saw elephants," Becca says.
"We’ve been on several boats and ferries."
The couple have also taken Kate out partying.
"She’s really taken everything on," Becca continues.
"She’s really embraced the whole backpacking experience."
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While Kate is enjoying her new found freedom while travelling, she's also been considering getting a tattoo, after encouragement from her daughter and girlfriend.
"She's coming round to the idea," Nessie says. "She would never have got a tattoo before. She was totally against it."
Speaking about her experiences on the trip Kate says she hasn't had to organise anything but has just gone along with the plans the couple have.
"I loved seeing the elephants and snorkelling," she says.
"I’m very happy to be here."
Follow Nessie and Becca on TikTok @nessieandbecca
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Rise of the 'grey gap year'
Travelling may conjure up images of hedonistic full moon parties and 18 year old's slumming it in hostels, but turns out there's a whole new slew of wannabe travellers keen to tour the world.
Recent research has revealed almost four in 10 over 60s are throwing caution to the wind and booking the trip of a lifetime.
Dubbed the "grey gap year", or, the grown-up gap year, these golden year travellers are opting to forgo the golf course to spend their retirement skitting round the world.
While cash-strapped adolescents are starting to think twice about taking a gap year, silver adventurers are on the rise as 37% of generation 60 plus are hoping to find themselves on an extended trip away.
More than a fifth (21%) of the over sixties polled by Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) feel they have missed out on trips and experiences, while almost a fifth (19%) admit they have much more of an urge to "seize the day" and travel than they did five years ago.
Wishing they'd done more travelling at an earlier age has also contributed to the desire to set sail in later life with 21% seriously regretting not taking a gap year in their teens or early twenties.
Commenting on the findings Eamonn Ferrin, vice president of international business at Norwegian Cruise Line says: "While globetrotting has long been associated with the young and carefree, our research suggests more boomers are travelling than ever before.
"Whilst golden gap year travel is becoming a trend, we’ve seen a surge in all generations prioritising travel, taking more frequent trips to long-haul destinations. No matter your age, travel has no limit."
Additional reporting SWNS.