Woods’ trip to France, Egypt and Jordan was just the beginning of her extraordin­ary travel adventures. During their time in Jordan, Julie and Ron visited Petra, which they discovered was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. “And I said to Ron, ‘What are the other six?’ He went away and researched them and said, ‘Do you want to visit the Seven Wonders of the World’? And I said, ‘Why not?’”

Woods also managed to travel to 50 countries by the time she was 50 (she has now been to 54 countries). A melanoma diagnosis in 2015 prompted Woods to further expand her travel horizons – when she found out she was clear of the disease, the trip planning began. “We left the hospital and went straight round to the travel agent and wrote a bucket-list trip of places we wanted to go to before we died.” They went away for 107 days, which took Woods’ country count to 49. “I was 49 years of age at that stage, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go to 50 countries by the time I was 50?’” She celebrated her 50th birthday in Samoa. Travel is not the only thing Woods has achieved in the 13 years since we last heard from her. She has also walked 10 half marathons; published two more books (she published her first in 2009) and walked every street in Dunedin. She is now working towards a goal of writing a million names in braille, with her current tally at the time of writing at 26,091. Woods says her mantra of saying ‘Why not?’ to opportunit­ies that come her way has enabled her to live life to the fullest.

“I’ve continued to say ‘Why not?’ and it’s continued to provide me with wonderful opportunit­ies to live life as a daring adventure, as Helen Keller would say. She said that life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Saying ‘why not’ has indeed helped me live my life as an adventure.”

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