By Bridget Wood
Picture this: you're aged 40, a widowed mother of 12, there's no social security and a man has just rejected your very reasonable and competitive lease proposal on a shop because you're a woman (it was a 'yes' before he found out this detail). 'Good Catholic values' reigned and eventually with the help of an accountant friend, you get the deal, the 'Roadhouse Store' in Mt Eliza is yours, and your kids are no longer likely to end up in an orphanage.
It's a tale almost unfathomable today, but this was the reality for my grandmother; if she didn't have a community behind her, and some wise counsel, my mother, who was 1 at the time, would have had a very different life, and may never have known her siblings.
If Soar Collective was around in 1962, i'm sure my grandmother would have been a top pick to speak at a networking event, telling tales of her run-in with the law and the challenges of running a business and raising 12 children - certainly bringing a whole new meaning to the word 'juggle'!
In order to provide for her family she needed to build a business, and quickly. So it was paper rounds, pumping petrol, selling groceries and stamps - anything that would provide a service to the locals and holidaymakers, and feed and educate her children.
Today, the reasons that women in regional areas grow businesses and become entrepreneurs are many and varied.
Our opportunities and potential to make our own way in the world are much greater than they were in the 60s, but women still face significant challenges - it's the stories of regional women in business, and their inspiring dreams, that we want to feature on the Rise For Regional Roadtrip, through the events we'll be hosting, and the documentary we're creating.
We've had so much support already, both through the generous donations to our Crowdfunding campaign, and from our sponsors, who include Audi Australia and Thankyou Group, and we look forward to hitting the road on 28th May - you can follow us on social media with the #riseforregional hashtag.
To have one more conversation with my grandmother, to tell her what we're doing, hear more of her stories and delight in her humour would be magical, but beautiful memories will have to do; she passed away aged 91, several years ago.
It's inspiring and empowering to come from a family of women pushing the boundaries and paving their own way. As I prepare to take my daughter on the road with us, i'm grateful to all who have come before us, to make it possible.
Bridget Wood is Director and Events Manager of Suburban Sandcastles and Co-Founder of Nourishing The Mother. She's a lover of life and connecting people to themselves through wisdom, introspection and quality questions. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to understand the bigger picture of human behaviour and how the world works, Bridget is on an inspired path to learn more deeply who we are beyond the limitations that we, and our society and culture, place upon us.