Three of our favourite submissions from Issue 23's very personal challenge

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In Issue 23, we asked for YOUR stories and have since been overwhelmed by your courage and authenticity in sharing them, thank you!

They arrived by post, email and social media and have warmed our hearts all month. There are far too many to publish, but here are three from Nat, Lisa and Karlie. Keep your eyes peeled for a few more printed in Issue 24, out this Monday.


Karlie Price

Channel swimming is arguably the most unglamorous sport in the world. We purposefully gain weight in order to achieve our goal and prevent death due to hypothermia. It is also a lonely sport. Hundreds of hours are spent swimming alone in pools, lakes and oceans in order to prepare the body and mind for spending up to 16 hours alone in the Channel.

Few swimmers have media coverage or sponsorship. For most of us, like myself, it is a personal accomplishment that drives us forward and motivates us to achieve the impossible.

I am a married mum of four awesome kids aged 4, 8, 10 and 12. I am a self-employed architect and I have to find time to swim 30km to 40km a week. I set out to swim the English Channel in August 2014. It is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and the water is between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius. The swim is 34km in a straight line.

Two years of training, hard work and sacrifices – not to mention 14kg of intentional weight gain. The day of the swim arrived and I was mentally and physically prepared. However, the Channel had different plans that day. The wind increasingly got worse and after 11 hours and 16 minutes of swimming, my boat pilot made the decision to abort the swim. It was dark at night and they could not see me between waves crashing over the boat. The wind was blowing 30 knots and safety of the swimmer always comes first.

Due to tides and currents, I had swum 42km and I was only three miles from France.

Life always give you another chance. I will have my day.

I flew back to Australia and had surgery on my shoulder from injuries caused from swimming in rough conditions for those 11 hours. Two weeks later, I booked my next attempt to swim the Channel in August 2016.

That is my story, until August 2016, when I will crawl up the beach in France, look back across the Channel to Dover and smile.



Nat Croker

2011: I was sitting in my Year 12 maths class with no motivation to do my studies, no desires and a major F on my forehead. The only thing I dreamed about was being a part of the fashion industry. I wasn’t sure why or how, but I knew that I wanted it. Forever scrolling through imagery on tumblr, forever dashboard reloading on Blogspot, I was lost and couldn’t seem to find any direction. My careers advisor called up a fashion college in Sydney for me, they quoted AU$8000. With no VET fee help, it didn’t seem like an option for me.

2012: I got accepted into a Sydney fashion college but… my parents just simply wanted me to get a full-time job somewhere, and the perception of fashion college didn’t exactly scream success in their eyes, but I guess my dad saw something and agreed to pay the fees.

2013: I completed my marketing management class and found my passion for marketing. I completed a diploma in marketing as well, an internship at a modelling agency, volunteered at MBFWA, interned for another fashion agency and assisted a stylist on a photo shoot. I was 19 and I felt like I needed to know more, so I took the best and scariest (for a non-academically gifted individual) step I’d ever taken:

I applied for university.

2014: Everyone was so intelligent. Students talked about politics and current affairs and some didn’t even wear shoes. I was out of my comfort zone and realised these kids were my competition. I did a politics class. I realised for the first time that I was actually smart. I started a new internship at a start-up online men’s retailer/styling business as a social media intern and applied for another.

2015: My last year of uni and I’d spent the summer exploring Indonesia, reading my idol’s books. I decided to apply for an internship at her company. She was in New York and responded late at night. I couldn’t believe it, I started in two weeks. I felt like I needed a knowledge advantage so I applied for another internship at a corporate PR firm. My tutors kept on saying the same thing over and over, my writing was too conversational and lacked academic tone. So I became the fashion columnist for my Uni magazine, just to pee them off a little more with my now-printed conversational tone and love for everything fashion. I got my first pay check from my internship, having worked at an event. It felt like things were beginning to pay off. My internship was looking for a receptionist/PA. I applied after two weeks of talking myself out of it.

I got the job. I started Monday.

Five part-time jobs, a certificate and diploma in both marketing and business and 10 internships later, I landed my first full-time job at my dream company. The first step in my career.

Whether you think you are academically gifted or not, go to uni, get that ticket, apply for that internship, show determination, prove you’re passionate. Grasp every opportunity that comes your way with two hands and always look forward. Even the tiniest of goals we achieve today are the steps to our future. If you’re just an intern, keep going, you will embark on your career journey soon too. Your report may list P’s but in some employees eyes those P’s can be triumphed with another P: PASSION.



Lisa Rainsford

It’s a funny thing to write your own story. To peel back the layers of why you took a big leap into the great unknown. I know the exact moment where I realised I had to give my big dream a chance and I hold onto that tight as it is the motivation that drives me forward every day.

When I left school I wanted to move to Italy to study art, but my parents convinced me to study something more practical and so I enrolled in Psychology. From there I moved into Nursing and graduated in 2005. I loved nursing but something was missing in my life. I had shut off the deep creative side within me, and I was suffering. I became very depressed until eventually I got the balls to quit my job. Everyone was shocked, even me, my family thought I had lost my mind. I played around with some different business ideas and then it all became sidelined when I found out I was pregnant with my son, Mason.

Oh motherhood, wonderful, wonderful Motherhood, how it forces you onto a path of self discover. It was everything I needed at that moment. I played Mum for a year and enjoyed every minute of it, but then I couldn’t ignore myself any longer. There wasn’t a job to distract me, I was home, and even though I was busy I had a lot of time alone with my thoughts, and I knew I had to give my dream a shot or it would haunt me forever.

In December 2013 I started selling jewellery on eBay. I remember it well because on the morning on my sons first birthday I was busy packing items to be posted in between baking cakes and making fairy bread. I started searching out quality designers with a unique style, using quality gemstones and metals as well as designing and creating some pieces myself. My husband and I are lovers of the beach and so I was naturally drawn to jewellery with a bohemian feel.

After a year of successfully selling on eBay I started developing my own brand and called it Lisa Rainsford Collections. I was completely out of my depth, I hadn’t studied business, I had no idea where to start and limited funds to invest in help. It was an extremely steep learning curve, I spent hours upon hours online learning the basics and in between all of that gave birth to my second child, my daughter Makayla. Many had their doubts, even my husband wasn’t sure I could pull it off, I was good at my old job so why leave he would say. But the thought of going back to Nursing gave me that sick feeling in my stomach you get when your doing something and you know you shouldn’t be. So I just kept trudging along, buying stock, getting a logo and building a website myself.

It’s funny how when something is meant to be in your life the pieces seem to just fall into place, and that’s exactly how it was for me. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but for the most part things just worked. Now as I sit here typing this my website has just gone live. I am collaborating with an amazing silversmith who is bringing my own designs to life and I have created relationships with some incredible designers who create jewellery I absolutely love selling.

Its been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, believing in myself, believing in the reality of following my dreams. Maybe it will be a great success, maybe it won’t, but it doesn’t matter now, it only matters that despite all of the obstacles I gave my dream a chance and I will never regret that.



It’s not too late to send yours in. Email us at yourstory@collectivehub.com for a chance to have your own story published on collectivehub.com



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