RACHEL SAWDEN: AN EXPLORER AT HEART

June 12, 2020 4 min read

RACHEL SAWDEN: AN EXPLORER AT HEART

 

Rachel Sawden was a curious child, who loved fossils, the ocean and dinosaurs and has always been an explorer at heart. As a kid she would read the encyclopedia for fun, and loved learning about other countries and cultures and would dream of far away places. Her parents would frequently take her to the sea, to museums, and even places she could dig for fossils. Rachel's father comes from England and her mother from Jamaica, and they both have always been incredibly supportive parents who supported all her interests and ideas. 

Rachel was born in Bermuda and having a multi-national family gave Rachel the opportunity to travel abroad to see family from a young age. This fueled her curiosity for travel and quickly became her most favorite thing to do in the world! Coming from a multi-national and multi-ethnic family has given her a unique perspective on nationality and ethnicity and has made her a more curious and tolerant person. Labels never worked for her, and so she developed a deep understanding of other people who did not fit neatly into society's labels.

 

 

Between spending time in England with her family and her upbringing in Bermuda, Rachel was able to enjoy spending time in various natural environments from the ocean, rivers, forests and the wild underbrush and jungles of Bermuda. She was encouraged to explore her curiosity of nature and how the world works. Spending time in nature made her into the person she is today, giving her the perspective of our place in the world and how we're all connected.

Growing up in Bermuda, and spending so much time in nature has given her such great appreciation for it, and in turn created a fierce drive to protect it. Living in a city has never felt appealing for her, as she craves living close to nature, and particularly the ocean. Even though as a young girl she didn't like the small community aspect of Bermuda, she has come to love this aspect of her home country as it has made her a more empathetic, compassionate and communal person. 

 

 

Rachel's most transformative travel experience was in 2010 at the age of 23 years old, when she embarked on a voyage to continents that were new to her with only a loose itinerary which would result in an 8 month long adventure. She didn't stay in nice hotels or have luxury amenities, and she felt for the first time like a real explorer waking up in a hostel bed she had found the night before and deciding where to go and what to see on only a moment's notice. She dove right into the culture, getting to know the people's way of life. It was through this trip that inspired her to achieve another of her life-long dreams, to write a novel. She had so many stories to tell from her travels and so she decided to make the stories more fun and juicy by creating fiction from them.

 

 

The entire process from writing the very first words to publication took 8 years. The first "final" draft took 4 years, which she then started pitching to literary agents. After a number of rejections all stating the same issue, she gutted and rewrote the story, and then started pitching the story again all the while continuing to make more revisions to the manuscript.

Rachel had always wanted to be traditionally published by a proper publishing house, but securing an agent or publisher was extremely challenging, especially if you don't already have connections. At that time self-publishing felt like a lesser option and she didn't know how to go about it or how to market it. She got to the point where she began to accept that her novel would never get published and she put the novel away. 

At that time, Rachel started channeling her creativity by telling her story through creating beautiful images and content on Instagram. She started growing her following, and when a travel opportunity with friends presented itself she realized that there was a synergy between these creative pursuits that she could combine. She set herself a challenge that if she was able to grow her following to 10,000 after creating Instagram content from her travels, she would self-publish the book as she would have an audience that had similar interests (which similarly the protagonist of her book was doing). In April of 2018 while in Bali, Rachel hit her goal of 10,000 followers and so she began doing the research on how to self-publish. She admits it was very challenging, but it was so rewarding and empowering to accomplish doing it on her own.

 

 

Now after successfully publishing and selling her book in Bermuda and online, Rachel works towards new dreams and goals. During the time of the pandemic she has had time to focus on building her own website and blog. She also managed to finish her first screenplay, which was a personal challenge she had started last year.

 

Rachel wears our Isabel top and Rianne bikini bottoms in Oleander print 

 

After the pandemic is over and when travel is safe again, she hopes to continue her adventures to new countries. She has goals of launching a web-based business and channeling her many talents through freelance work that will enable her to continue working remotely or from anywhere her next adventure takes her.

Follow Rachel on her Website and Blog
Buy her book Runaways now!
Follow Rachel on Instagram: @rachelsawden

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