A FORMER newspaper reporter who ran away to sea after answering an advert on the internet is celebrating the publication of her first book.
Emma Bamford, who worked as a journalist for the Derby Telegraph from 2002 to 2004, has written Casting Off: How A City Girl Found Happiness On The High Seas, which is a memoir about her adventures.
It tells of her life after she answered the online advert for "crew wanted" and bought a one-way ticket to Borneo to live on a boat with a man she had never met, together with his cat.
Emma, 35, who now lives in Ednaston, found herself sailing with strangers from Borneo to Oman.
She swam with turtles in the turquoise Celebes Sea, spotted a glimpse of lost tribes in the Andaman Islands and had a terrifying near miss with Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean.
She also spent six months working as a deckhand and hostess on a super yacht in the billionaire's playground of Italy's Amalfi coast.
Emma said: "In between all that, I learned a few lessons about planning my life less and learning to let go and that it is possible to find happiness – and love – on your own terms."
Emma, who worked as a journalist for the Daily Express and The Independent after leaving the Derby Telegraph, now works freelance for clients including Independent Buyers, a purchasing consortium based at Catton Hall, South Derbyshire, and GSE Media, which organises the Graduate Engineer Show and the Engineering Simulation Show, held at Derby Roundhouse.
She said: "Growing up in Nottingham and then working in Derby, I was always focused on doing well at school and getting a good career.
"But when I achieved what I thought I'd always wanted, I found my priorities had changed.
"I was swept along with the London rat race and eventually the thrill of a breaking news story was not enough,
"My decision to change my life was also pushed along by the fact that most of my friends were settling down to married life and babies.
"Answering that ad on the internet and setting off to Borneo was extremely out of character for me and to begin with I was quite naïve.
"But I had amazing adventures and I learned a lot about myself.
"I still love sailing, even though I now live miles from the sea – something that never held back Derbyshire woman Dame Ellen MacArthur."
Emma said she hopes Casting Off will appeal to readers who love books, such as those by Elizabeth Gilbert.
She said: "Also to anyone else who dreams of travel or escaping the hum-drum of normal life – whether in reality or just for a few hours within the pages of a book.
"I went from planning each day meticulously to leaving things to chance."
Emma is due to be at Waterstones in Nottingham on Sunday. Casting Off is available to buy from tomorrow.