Denise Taylor: Elder, Adventurer, Wilderness Guide, Earth Walker, Award Winning Coach and Author. I guide, I inspire, I coach

I have a traditional bio all about my success as an occupational psychologist and career coach. But the more important story that I can share is how my life changed about 2 years ago.
It’s not just about doing, I am a human being – and I love to spend time in nature, loving the silence and the bird song, watching the wind move the leaves, and taking time to notice the minute details. Then to close my eyes and drift in a hammock.

In May 2019 I met David Wendl-Berry, who told me about Vision Quests as the best way to fully understand who you are. All sounded interesting till he told me that I would have to spend 4 nights alone in a wood with no food, no watch or phone and no technology. 4 days without food … didn’t think I could go 4 hours. But I could and I did. David spent 8 years as an Apprentice to Sun Bear, worked extensively with Steven and Meredith Little who ran The School for Lost Borders and has been leading Vision Quests for over 30 years, training most of the other people in the UK who work in this area.

I had a strong pull to undertake a Vision Quest, wrote my letter of intention and on July 4th left for Kentchurch in Herefordshire.
I arrived the day after my interview for a place to study a Doctorate at the University of London with a plan to research ‘unretirement’.
We had 4 days of preparation, then 4 days alone and 2 days of integration. It takes a year to fully complete, as much happens within afterwards. For me this was a need to spend much time in nature, and to continue to feel the ground beneath my feet.

At the end of my solo time, I switched on my phone and had an email to say I was successful – one of eight in this cohort. I’d also decided my focus was more on Elderhood and how people find meaning in life after full-time work.
I also began training in Deep Imagery Training, a 3-year course with Dr Stephen Gallegos and Dr Mary Duggin. Very different to my academic studies, this is very much an experiential process building on the depth psychology of Carl Jung.

After 12 months you go back to the land for 24 hours on a solo fast. Completing this I realised my work needed a change of direction. I was part-way through my doctorate, so a need to complete this but I could also start my training as an Apprentice Vision Quest Guide. A month later I was camp assistant, learning much more of the role of guide, how to hold the space, immersing myself more in a deeper understanding of traditions, in particular gaining a good understanding of the ‘four directions.’

Things changed in my personal life too. Meeting someone who shares my love of nature, we went on bushcraft courses and wild camping. In February 2021 we bought a small wood, ready for us to take on more nature-based activity with people. Now in the process of setting up ‘Woodland Encounters’ for nature based work.

In May 2021 I returned to Kentchurch for my second Vision Quest. Very different weather (dry and sunny in 2019, rain and mud in 2021) and a deeper experience. I will now be assisting again in August with a view to taking on the lead guide role in September.

Before Covid I loved to travel; wanting to properly experience different cultures and create lasting memories. To celebrate the start of my 60th year I travelled around Australia, in 43 nights I slept in 33 beds, and saw a lot! I faced my fears and did the Harbour Bridge Climb and spent New Years’ Eve in Sydney Harbour. I also enjoyed going to gigs both local and further afield. 5 gigs in a week was my record! Now I’m more interested in the journey within and spending time in nature.

And the future …

A day at a time, I want to enjoy every precious day on this Earth. To do the work that I find meaningful and to step into the role of an elder within our society. I submit my thesis on 1st September and will then fully embrace this nature-based approach to life. The photo is me in Belize in 2013. The country of my ancestors.

And a bit more about me

I was born in 1957 but age is just a number. Few of us will have a conventional retirement, loving (and living) life is much more fun. I love adventures and want to continue to grow and develop. This is me, solo traveller in Nepal. Loving meeting local people. Now the journey is more within.

I work with people with the energy and passion to want more, to feel fulfilled and to have the life they want. It doesn’t have to be a traditional path. You could plan for a life without paid work, whatever works best for you. And no choice is forever, we can change at any time.

I’ve gained a strong reputation for working with people in mid to later life. I’m the Author of Find Work at 50+ and was a guest speaker at the 50+ Show (London and Birmingham). I’m regularly featured in the press (e.g., Saga Magazine) writing on issues including careers, goal setting and healthy living.

Considering working with me?

I’d love to learn more about you, to see if we are a good fit to work together, so why not schedule a complimentary consultation?

I offer 121 sessions via Zoom and longer nature-based sessions at a location near the Royal Forest of Dean. Why not schedule a time so we can decide if it would be helpful to work together?

Schedule an initial consultation now.