Wednesday 23 May 2018

Jilted bride who travelled the world lands sweet book deal

The 'Backpacking Bridget Jones'

Katy Colins
Katy Colins
Katy Colins
Katy Colins
Thom Soutter and Alyson Mobey

Meadbh McGrath

After her fiance called off their wedding, Katy Colins left her job, sold her house and bought a one-way ticket for a worldwide adventure.

It's anyone's worst nightmare - being jilted by your fiance weeks before the big day.

This was the unfortunate case for 30-year-old public relations officer Katy Colins in 2012. She and her fiance had spent months and £20,000 planning their wedding, their families and friends had already confirmed their attendance, but after returning from a work trip to Uganda, her college sweetheart and beloved partner of more than eight years, the legal worker Thom Soutter (30) dropped a bomb.

He confessed that he had been having an affair, and he wanted to call off their engagement, a month before they were meant to be exchanging vows.

Devastated by the news, the heartbroken Katy was inspired to quit her PR job at Manchester Airport, sell her car and her half of the home they shared, and buy a one-way ticket around the world in search of adventure.

While on her travels, she posted regular updates on social media and on her blog, called Not Wed Or Dead, to keep her loved ones updated on her journey from jilted bride to fun-loving globe-trotter.

Katy Colins
Katy Colins

The blog attracted a substantial following as Katy visited 30 countries before the age of 30, working her way through destinations as far afield as India, Nepal, Dubai, Argentina and Brazil.

Nicknamed 'the Backpacking Bridget Jones', she has said that many readers wrote to her to thank her for being so brave.

"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 ballads and devour ice-cream.

“You can use this as a catalyst for something much bigger and better.”

The success of the blog led to a three-book deal with Carina, an imprint of the publisher Harper Collins. Loosely based on her own experiences, the first instalment in the The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series chronicles her time in Thailand, and was published last week.

Colins revealed in an interview that the date she found out she’d secured the book deal would have been her third wedding anniversary with Thom, offering a moving reminder of how dramatically her life has changed in such a short time.

Katy Colins
Katy Colins

“It is poignant to think how far I’d come through hard work, being brave and wanting to live the biggest life I could.”

From Formby in the northwest of England, Katy now lives in a small fishing town in France, where she teaches English. She admitted that when she first told her family she was selling off her house and car to set off on a solo journey across the globe, they thought she was “a little mad”, but that “it just felt right.”

Katy’s philosophy is that “every cloud has a silver lining” and that things happen for a reason. She has said that despite feeling initially lost and disillusioned in the aftermath of the split, she has a lot to thank her nearly-husband for.

She described the moment as having turned out to be the “wake-up call” she needed, and gave her a second chance to find herself.

Thom Soutter and Alyson Mobey
Thom Soutter and Alyson Mobey

“I had a good job, a lovely house and lived a comfortable lifestyle but it lacked adventure. That is something I hoped travelling half-way around the world on my own would give me, and luckily it paid off,” she has said.

She has since had a wealth of fabulous experiences abroad that she couldn’t have otherwise enjoyed, from climbing a volcano in Chile to skydiving in France.

Spurred on by the release of Katy’s book, her former fiance hit back at her claims in an interview with The Sun, saying that the couple actually split three months, not one, before their wedding.

Offering his side of the story, he says that after his engagement to Katy, “the wedding took over everything” and that he felt “she loved the wedding more than me”.

It has emerged that Thom is now engaged again, to another woman, Alyson Mobey (29), whom he met while working abroad after his split from Katy.

He said that although he wishes Katy well with her writing career, he wasn’t pleased with her decision to reveal the details of their relationship in a book, and believes it may contain more fiction than fact.

“I don’t want to be portrayed as this horrendous person,” he told The Sun.

Thom also claimed that she slept with a mutual friend after they split up (the relevance of which is not entirely clear…), but Katy remains unfazed.

As she writes on her blog, “Staying put, living the same day over and over again and never venturing out of your comfort zone is easily done.

But who wants to live a life of 'what ifs'?


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