Heartbroken Katy Colins, 30, sold her house and her car and booked a one-way ticket to south east Asia after having her big day called off.
Little did she know that backpacking around Thailand, India and Nepal on her own would lead to her achieving a childhood dream of becoming a published author.
The former Manchester Airport public relations worker told how she was left confused and disillusioned with life after being jilted by her long-term boyfriend and sold “anything that wouldn’t fit into a large backpack” before jetting off to Thailand on her own.
Katy told the Liverpool Echo:
“Everyone did think I was a little mad especially as I’d never travelled anywhere by myself before but it just felt right.
“I needed the time away from everything and everyone I knew to find myself, but it wasn’t as cheesy as that.”
With a degree in English and journalism from Salford university, Katy said she always dreamed of one day writing a novel.
She kept a travel blog, mainly to keep family and friends updated during her trip, which grew and grew in readers.
“People who weren’t related to me started reading my blog and sending me emails, telling me how brave I was to quit it all and go.
“I received messages from other newly-single men and women who said they read my blog as an inspiration - that just because you’ve been dumped it doesn’t mean you have to listen to bad power anthems and devour ice-cream.
“You can use this as a catalyst for something much bigger and better.”
As she travelled around south-east Asia and India, Katy said the passion to start putting her experiences into words was hard to resist.
“I started writing a few chapters, not fully aware that they would be the start of a novel but mostly as a way to clear my head.
“Although I was experiencing things that I would never have imagined seeing, such as the Taj Mahal and trekking through the Himalayas, I was still working through the feelings that I wouldn’t be making wedding scrapbooks or be living the married life, well not just yet at least.
“I began to think what if you were given a second chance to find yourself?’”
Katy has since backpacked around South America for six months and lived in France teaching English for the past two years.
She was living in a small fishing town in northern France when she received news about the book deal.
“Ironically, an editor called me on what would have been our third wedding anniversary. “It is poignant to think how far I’d come through hard work, being brave and wanting to live the biggest life I could.”
Katy’s journey inspired her to write the first novel in The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, a light-hearted romantic comedy, which has been described as “Bridget Jones goes backpacking”.
Destination Thailand, the first book in the series, follows hapless Georgia Green who spends what should have been her big day sobbing into a warm sex-on-the-beach cocktail wondering where it all went wrong.
She is forced to make a bucket list of her new life goals and packs her bags for a long-haul adventure to Thailand as she tries to discover herself once again.
With her unworn wedding dress still hanging in her wardrobe, Katy now thinks back to her ex calling everything off as the best thing that ever happened to her.
“His decision, although devastating at the time, was the wake-up call I needed. I had a good job, a lovely house and lived a comfortable lifestyle but it lacked adventure.
“That is something I hoped travelling halfway around the world on my own would give me, and luckily it paid off.
“I have climbed an active volcano in Chile, slept in a Thai jungle, got covered in Holi powder in India, skydived in France, and even taken a flight past Mount Everest. “I’ve experienced things that I would never have dreamed possible but the highlight is being able to call myself a writer. Nothing compares to that.
“I am a huge optimist and believe that everything happens for a reason. Life is about saying yes, being brave and knowing deep down that it will all end up alright.”