Gutsy Goddess: Ann

Photo of Ann with Tiger

Trips of Triumph

Ann washing a tiger in Thailand

Bengal tiger camp operated by Buddhist monks; Bangkok, Thailand

“Every year now since surviving almost twelve-hour surgery to remove a bleeding tumor from my brain stem in 2009, I mark this momentous second chance at life by traveling across our globe to add another year to my belt.

“One year I took off on a camel’s back through the Sahara Desert, following an Arab Berber nomad through Morocco’s slice of this mighty desert. Another year, I boarded a train from Delhi to a remote Indian village to attend one of the world’s largest camel-trading festivals.

“I’ve been to a reindeer farm that straddles the Arctic Circle to hitch up these gentle, big-racked animals to sleighs. Rode an elephant to an Indian fortress. Joined thousands at a pilgrimage to a sacred Hindu lake. I rang in a birthday to remember at the Taj Mahal at daybreak.

“Then there was the time I spent a day at a Bengal tiger camp outside Bangkok, Thailand, operated by Buddhist monks. I had an opportunity to bottle-feed cubs, and help exercise “teenager” and adult cats!

“I work and save and plan all year for what I call trips of triumph over Angie. Yes, I named my brain tumor. It was a cavernous angioma.

“My trips remind me of what I survived. How much I have yet to see in this world. How fortunate I am to be able to strike out for another adventure. Another horizon.

“To live another day.”


Ann is writing a memoir about surviving her brain tumor. Follow Ann on Twitter @annkkelly


  1. admin_laughingatthesky April 21, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration Ann!

  2. Amazing story, Ann. Thanks for sharing it. Very inspirational!

  3. I love your answer to life’s disasters. Very inspirational!

  4. Ann, thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. So inspiring Ann. Thank you for sharing. My wife Valerie had a cancer challenge as well and her optimistic approach, acting from a place of love rather than fear, inspires us all. Sounds like you have used your experience to grow and expand your approach to life. Hooray.

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks for stopping by John. You and Valerie are so inspirational. I hope she will consider being one of my Gutsy Goddesses and sharing her wisdom. She has such gifts to share with the world. Please invite her for me.

  7. Hi everyone, thanks for your comments! So pleased to be featured as a Gutsy Goddess on Heidi’s newly launched blog. 🙂 It’s been an honor to work with Heidi as a critique buddy for the last year as she completed her memoir draft. I was chilled by some of her passages… thrilled by other passages. I’m honored to be a beta reader for her important — and oh so Gutsy — story of what she overcame. I look forward to the day when we all see her name in print! Proud of you, Heidi, on many fronts!! The MS draft you completed, the life you lead, the sailing dream you chased, the love you spread to others. 🙂

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      So proud of you too Ann! I can’t wait to see your compete memoir. You have much to inspire the world and I’m so pleased that you joined the Tribe!

  8. Your story reminds me to be grateful for my health, my family’s health and to live every day to its fullest.
    The trips of triumph you have undertaken are impressive. I can see how it would take a year to plan these off the beaten-track adventures.
    I look forward to reading your memoir.

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for visiting Kathy. I too can’t wait to read her memoir. I’ve had glimpses and teases and now look forward to the whole piece. I learn so much by sharing stories.

  9. Such a lovely warrior! You inspire us all, Ann!

    I remember this Tiger park outside of Bangkok, which we visited a few years ago. Closed down now, sadly.

  10. Just found this via your post on Damyanti’s blog. Thank you, a tale of tigers in the aftermath was what I needed this evening!

    • admin_laughingatthesky August 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by DJ and also for leaving a comment. So glad it was what you were needing. I hope you’ll stop by again maybe share some of your own wisdom. Heidi

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