What if your life did not go the way you intended? What if you were bullied at school, diagnosed with M.E. during your final exams, missed out on university, had your heart broken and on top of all of that, broke your back in a riding accident? Wha lion roar t would you do differently?
Jo did something different.
The Lion's Roar is a moving memoir in which a dream is fulfilled and personal traumas are overcome. Raised in the English middle classes, she finds that her life changes dramatically when she falls in love with both an African wildlife film-maker and the African bush itself. He introduces her to Botswana’s Okavango Delta where their existence is basic, natural and earthy. Together, they are alone in the wilds where she views Africa’s fabulous animals at close quarters and is taken aback at the overwhelming beauty of the sunsets.
Now coming to the end of her trip to Africa, she sees that her years of struggles have left their mark on her but through the spiritual and physical freedom of the African bush she experiences herself being awakened. She feels that she has finally come home.
Months later, having returned to England, their relationship inexplicably comes to an end and she feels utter devastation and mourns the future which she and her lover would have had together. Without an explanation from him as to their failure, the loss is even harder to bear.
Some time later, the opportunity arises to transfer to Dubai through her company. At the age of 30, she embarks on a much needed fresh start.
Emotionally, she reaches dark depths where her self-esteem plummets and she is overwhelmed by loneliness as she cannot understand why the one thing that she thinks will make her happy, marriage, seems to be eluding her.
Amidst this despair, her life takes an unusual turn when she breaks her back in an horrendous riding accident, avoiding paralysis by millimetres. All control of her life is totally removed in those moments she thuds to the ground and, during her grueling 8 month rehabilitation, she is faced with the basics of relearning to walk. As her recovery progresses, she sees another side of herself and she loves who she discovers.
On returning to work and the old strains resurfacing, she realises that this is no longer the right environment for her. The only thing she knows for sure is the strong pull to return to the African bush.
Zambia is her place of choice where she joins a research project in Kafue National Park and over her months there, she recognises that the bush is indeed the one place where she truly belongs and, in time, she finds a one year Field Guide and Lodge Management training course in South Africa. At the age of 34, she is comfortable with being single, recognising that that environment will not be conducive to meeting someone but believing that by following her passion for the African bush, she will indeed know fulfilment, albeit in a different way.
Unexpectedly, whilst training to be a safari guide, she meets and falls in love with a fellow Englishman.
In the bush, she finds inner peace and a sense of belonging. In her new husband, she finds her true equal. She is living her dream by being in the bush. Her husband is the icing on her cake. Their lives will forever be in Africa.
That lady is me.