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Wa y n e S m i t h & R e b e c k a S m i t h

With Ulrike Hill

AGAINST ALL ODDS

Copyright Wayne Smith & Rebecka Smith (2015)


The right of Wayne Smith & Rebecka Smith to be identified as
author of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with
section 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act
1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
publishers.
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims
for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British
Library.
ISBN 9781784556907 (paperback)
ISBN 9781784556921 (hardback)
www.austinmacauley.com
First Published (2015)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5LB

Printed and bound in Great Britain


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PROLOGUE

It was something that was playing on my mind for a long time.


What was the point of my life?
I had a great job earning an enviable salary but
everything I did felt as if I had no purpose. There was no one
special and I was in a dead-end job. I felt disillusioned with
love and life.
I was sitting at my desk in an open plan office. It was dark
inside the office. Literally. The walls were painted black, the
companys brand image. The office was always cold because
the air conditioners were on - all the time. Somehow, the
colour and the coldness felt like a shadow of my soul. I felt
dark. Cold. Dead.
I did not feel like this was life.

CHAPTER 1
Life with no direction

Wayne Joburg, South Africa


I was 19 years old and had just landed my dream job at
Water World. I loved the sea and used to surf when we lived
in Durban. I moved to Joburg in my teens to live with my dad
but I missed the sea so Water World was the ideal job for me.
Water World is the home of well-known boating brands
and the go-to place for people who enjoy life on the water. It
was glamorous and represented freedom. People who love
water will understand that feeling of freedom. Racing through
the waves and the wind rushing by is mind blowing.
I was earning a great salary at Water World although
money was not a motivating factor for me. I loved my job and
I did well. That is, until I fell in love with the bosss wife who
was working at Water World. Her marriage was in trouble
when we fell in love. I did not worry about the implications
of dating a married woman. I was young and in love. She was
unhappy. Looking back on that part of my life I realise that
love makes you do crazy things. You throw caution to the
wind to be with the one you love. I was nave. Hindsight is
foresight and looking back at that relationship I realised how
stupid I was.
As can be expected, our relationship caused a problem for
me at work. It so happened that her mom and dad also worked
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at Water World. It was stupid, I know, but eventually I was


forced to resign from a job I loved. I found a new job at Vespa
Scooters and continued my elicit relationship. I had to live a
life of secrecy when I moved in with my married lover. People
did not know we were living together so when her family
came to visit I had to hide. It was not an ideal way to exist in a
relationship but I accepted this still imagining myself in love.
It was only when the love of my life had an affair with
another man and fell pregnant that I realised what I fool I had
been and ended the relationship. I then learnt that her husband
had forgiven her and she moved back in with him, still
pregnant with another mans child. I was amazed. She had
cheated on the man not once but twice and he takes her back.
Love does make a man do crazy things. I should know.
I hit rock bottom after the break-up and I moved into a flat
on my Dads property in Linksfield, Northeast of Joburg.
My job at Vespa scooters did not inspire me. I missed the
glamour of Waterworld. Although I was good at my job, I was
restless and wanted more out of life. One day, a woman came
into Vespas showroom wanting to buy a scooter. I know I am
a natural salesperson. I gave the well-groomed woman all my
attention. It turned out that my customer was actually a sales
manager looking to recruit good sales people. She called me
the next day and offered me a job at Mini-Cooper. She liked
the way I sold to her and that I listened to what she wanted. I
was happy to leave Vespa. Scooters, at the time were not big
business. In countries like Thailand, they are big. It would
only be later in my life that I would appreciate the impact that
scooters would have on my life.
I had another serious relationship after my love affair. I
believed that this relationship would last and that I had found
the right person. Firstly, she was not married but little did I
know that the hairdresser I has fallen in love with had a drug
problem and a second life. It was a shock one night when I
happened to be at a friends bachelor party and discovered her
at her nightly place of work.

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My failed relationships made me feel worthless even


though I was making money. I felt alone, depressed and that I
was going nowhere.
What was life about?
This thought was working its way through my mind. To
everyone around me I seemed to be successful. But I did not
feel that way. Money is not everything. There was more to
life.
What was life about?
I became a loose cannon as I tried to get over the pain of
failed relationships. I went on a rampage. I was out partying,
flirting and getting drunk every weekend. Women had no
particular purpose for me. I slept with them and that was all. I
soon realised that I was on a self-destructive path when I
caused a scene at my cousins wedding and I tried to make an
old lady sing. It was like a scene from the movie Wedding
Crashers. I had no self-respect and I did not give a damn what
people thought about me. My life was out of control. I soon
realised that my family was disappointed and disgusted with
my behaviour. This made me take a hard look at myself.
This was not me.
Something had to change.
That something that did change my life was a simple
quote sent in an email. It was a small thing but it made a huge
impact on my life.
It was a typical workday: wake up to an empty day,
navigate the suffocating Joburg traffic to Mini Coopers office
in Northcliff from my flat in Linksfield. Drive past the high
walls, people living trapped behind electric fences and tight
security. Taxis driving like maniacs choking off other drivers.
I was going nowhere fast driving through the claustrophobic
traffic just to get to work on time, to earn more money.
Driving past the same walls, same traffic, same routine. Arrive
at the office; make phone calls, follow up with customers and
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read my emails. The same treadmill; day in and day out. What
was the purpose to this kind of life?
I had to escape.
I sat at my desk, staring out of the glass windows in front
of me. I felt dark and chilled to the bone. My emotions
echoing Mini-Coopers black walls painted to represent their
brand. The image was sleek and sophisticated. Empowering.
But I felt anything but empowered. I felt cold. The damn air
conditioners spewed cold air into the open plan office. All
day. I watched customers driving through the boom, past the
office windows. The security guard was checking the cars
driving out, smiling and lifting the boom. Waving them on
their way. It was stop-and-go. Stop-and-go. Busy. I looked at
these people driving out with their new cars. It seemed that
these people were doing something with their lives. Instead,
here I was sitting in an office, feeling trapped. It was soul
destroying. At that moment, I knew that growing my bank
balance wasnt what I wanted. I wanted to achieve and I
wanted to be known.
Who would remember a sales man in the future?
I realised that was all I was and I wanted more from life.
Much more. I wanted to make a statement, and at the same
time find true love if it was out there. I knew I wanted to be
important, do something meaningful. And I wanted someone
special to share my life with me. The dark walls closed in on
me as I sat in the office.
When I opened my email and read the first email, it was a
light bulb moment for me. I dont remember who sent me the
email or why it was sent to me but that email changed my life.
When you start doing the thing you love most in life you
will find the one you love most in life.
I read it again and made my decision.
I was doing mixed martial arts (MMA) at the time. It was
something I loved and it helped me to escape and release my
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frustrations. My instructor had told me that Thailand was the


place to go to if you wanted to fight professionally. I had been
thinking about taking leave for two weeks and going to
Thailand. I decided that two weeks was not enough. I wanted
to go for a longer period. I researched places on the internet
offering MMA training and found the perfect training camp in
Thailand. The place was known as Tiger Muay Thai. I read
the introduction on the home page and I knew that this was the
place I was going to escape to:
Nestled in the tropical backdrop of Phuket, Thailand lies
the world-renowned Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training
camp. The globes biggest and most recognised Muay Thai
training facility. Professional fighters and fitness enthusiasts
from across the world travel here to develop their skills and
to change their lives.
We are here to help you change your life. We cant
promise you that it will be easy, but we do promise you that
itll be worth it!
Are You Ready?1
I was more than ready. I clicked on the register now
button and paid for my training and then I researched and
booked my hotel for six months. The next day I handed in my
resignation to Mini Coopers management. The company did
not want me to go. I was their top sales person so they tried to
persuade me to stay. But the perks they offered could not
entice me. I wanted out.
Out of bad relationships.
Out of a dead-end job.
Out of living in a trapped environment.
For the first time in my life I felt I had a purpose. I felt
that I was moving towards something special and that no
matter what happened that I would be successful. My Dad and
friends did not agree with me. When I told them about my
1

http://www.tigermuaythai.com/
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decision to leave South Africa; they thought I had gone off the
rails. My Dad tried to get me to reconsider.
How are you going to make money? he asked me.
What are you going into? What are you coming back to?
I understood his concern for me but I knew I could not
stay. I love my family and had good friends but I needed to
live my life and there was nothing in South Africa to keep me
living the kind of life I was leading. My mind was made up.
Despite the uncertainty of my future, I felt something was
pulling me so strong that I could not ignore it.
As I made plans to leave South Africa I did reflect on my
future and about what it would mean not earning a secure
salary.
A few months before I left South Africa, I had a cancer
scare. Isnt life strange like that? When you go through a bad
patch everything happens at once. The cancer scare did not
help my depression but it did introduce me to Reiki and
alternative healing. It also gave me a different perspective on
life.
My sister, who practised Reiki, helped me recover after an
operation to check to see if a lump was benign. Going through
emotional trauma and then the cancer scare, I decided to do a
Reiki course because I wanted to help people the way it
helped me. I thought I could offer Reiki therapy when I was in
Thailand. I knew I had enough money to last me six months
so I was not dependent on earning money but I did feel that
Reiki would be useful as a backup.
I did not think about the future after that. My six month
stay in Thailand was booked and paid for and I was focusing
on the now.
If things had played on my mind before then, it was
nothing compared to that morning reading that email sent to
me.

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When you start doing the thing you love most in life you
will find the one you love most in life.
It was something I had to do and I had all the right signs
pulling me in a one-way direction towards Thailand.

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Chapter 2
Death of my beloved Father

Rebecka Stockholm, Sweden


To see my beloved father lose all his hope is a memory I
will never forget no matter how hard I try to.
My father had been sick for a long time. Five years if I
remember correctly. It was always there in the background but
it never affected us I realised on the days when I think back to
when he was diagnosed with cancer. My father handled his
illness very well. He continued working and training. Looking
at him you would never realise he was ill. He always looked
so healthy and so strong. That is until the last year that he was
alive. My father has been my inspiration because of his
strength both physically and mentally.
The last few months of his illness, even though he was
still strong, somehow, it was different. Its difficult to explain
how but if I think about it now, I wonder how you can live
your life normally knowing you have a disease that will most
likely kill you. The scariest part of all, for me, was not
knowing. Not knowing how long I still had with my father.
Not knowing how I would cope with his death.
You can never prepare yourself for death. Even if you try
to.
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My mom and dad never married. They had three


daughters: Sandra, Jenny and then me. My parents split up
when I was still young but they stayed good friends. My mom
had met someone else and they had a son. We had a
comfortable life and I was close to my family.
I was twelve-years-old when my father was diagnosed
with cancer. My father handled it well and even though it did
spread, each operation and procedure helped him through it.
So I lived with my fathers cancer. Not knowing when it
would get worse. My father always fought it. He never
allowed it make him weak. Everything seemed fine but then
he started having complications and we started worrying about
him although he always had a smile and assured us that he
was fine.
It was my second last year of high school and I had
applied for the exchange student program in Kenya. The
Swedish boarding school was based in Nairobi, the capital of
Kenya. I was worried about leaving my dad for a year and was
scared that he would die before I finished my exchange year.
Before I made my final decision, I needed to know that my
father would not get worse while I was studying in Kenya.
Are you well enough? I need you here when I get back.
I knew my family did not really talk about the bad things
that happen in life but I needed to know.
Yeah, yeah, he said to me, I am feeling much better.
You go to Kenya. Dont worry about me. My father did look
strong and he did have the illness for a while so I thought that
it would be safe for me to leave him. I was only going for a
year and my father had lived with his illness for a long time.
He was still doing his sport so I decided to go.
I missed my family when I was in Kenya but I spoke to
them often on the phone. They did not seem concerned about
my fathers health. When I spoke to him on the phone from
Kenya, he always sounded fine but I still could not help
feeling a little bit worried.
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One day when I was coming back from the shops, one of
the boarding house teachers told me to phone my mum. I
nervously dialled her number praying that everything was fine
at home. As soon as my mum answered the phone, I could
hear the strain in her voice.
You better come home. Your dad is not well.
It was a month before Christmas.
I booked my air ticket and boarded the first flight home.
When I walked into the hospital, my father looked so sick that
I realised that he had fooled me on the phone.
While I was in Kenya, my fathers health had deteriorated
so much that my sister, Jenny was worried enough to tell my
mum to phone me and get me home. Jenny had been looking
after my dad while I was in Kenya and she had noticed the
change in his health. She knew I would be upset if my father
died while I was away.
When I arrived back in Sweden, his health had
deteriorated even further and we thought he would need
another operation. The nurse on duty shook her head.
There will be no next time.
It was a difficult time for the family. Because my parents
were good friends, my mother used to visit him as well. It was
difficult for her especially one day when my father said,
Please take care of my daughters.
It was the only time that he cried. My big, strong father
wanted the best for his daughters. He knew that his life was
short, even though he fought the cancer until the end.
The last six days of my fathers life was intense. I still
have nightmares of that week. My sisters and I did not
shower; we did not eat. We were scared that we would not be
there if something happened. We wanted to be with him until
the moment he took his last breath. We held my Dads hand
all the time. As one of us left, the next sister would hold his
hand. He always had one of us holding his hand, loving him
and comforting him.
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We sat for six days sitting there and watching him.


Breathe.
Breathe.
Breathe.
He would breathe and then his breathing would get less
and less.
Then stop.
We would watch in horror, as he would suddenly pant,
trying to get air back into his lungs.
This went on for a whole week.
A week from hell.
The worse part of that last week was on the Wednesday
when all his friends came to visit him. We all knew he had
very little time left so his friends wanted to say their
goodbyes. When his best friend walked into the room, my dad
asked, What are you doing here? I am fine. But my brave,
strong father wasnt fine and everyone knew it.
It was horrible. I could see that he realised he was going
to die. I could see in his eyes. All hope had left his eyes. That
was the worst moment for me because until that moment my
dad always believed he would get better.
After my fathers death, I started to isolate myself from
the world. I could not deal with anything happening in life. I
stopped my sports training and could not get up in the
morning to go to school. It was strange because I was stressed
about not going to school. I had missed out so much. I had to
go back to Kenya to finish my year there. It was tough
because I missed two months of school after my fathers
death. I stayed in Sweden to help my mom and sisters to sort
out my fathers affairs. After Kenya, I had to finish my final
year of school in Sweden. I had no energy and I was finding it
difficult to get out of bed in the morning. I could not even find
the energy to be with my friends. All I wanted to do was sleep
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in my dark room and not face the world outside. It was a


difficult time.
One day my sister, Sandra, came to visit my mom. She
saw that I was still in bed.
Why arent you at school? she asked me opening the
curtains. The sun hurt my eyes.
I am not feeling well, I said and pulled the blankets over
my head. Sandra got angry with me.
You are supposed to be at school like normal people.
Although I could hear that she was angry I also realised
that she was confused. I was not the focused and happy person
she knew.
I could not tell her how I was feeling and how afraid I
was. I could not tell her that I did not want to live. She had
qualified as a doctor and was not living with us. I know my
sisters and mom missed my father and they were dealing with
things in their own way. I did not know how to deal with life
now and I did not think she could understand. I felt so alone
and my fathers death made the pain of living even worse.
I knew I had to finish school. Before my father died, I was
always a focused person and had big dreams and I wanted to
achieve them but I did not know how to deal with what I was
feeling. I knew that to succeed in life I had to do right but
something was holding me back. I was trying to do the best
that I could do in the state I was.
Mom was very good. She tried to understand me. She got
me to a therapist but it never worked. I got so mad when I
went.
I would sit in front of the therapist and she would say,
Yes, yes, I understand. No! You dont understand.
How could she understand. Was she there? Still the
therapist would keep asking, So what happened next. What is
happening in your life?
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Really?
This was shit!
Therapists kept making me angry and mom would take
me to another one. After five therapists, she stopped taking
me.
Eventually I did meet someone who diagnosed me and he
helped me. He was a therapist who worked with sports people
and with business people who were stressed. I started to
understand what was happening to me but it was still difficult
because I had to get myself right. No-one can help you with
that.
I knew that I had been a positive person. If I wanted to do
something I would focus until I achieved it. Even when I was
a young girl. Mom and Dad knew that if I ever wandered off I
would find my way back. I would always find my way back. I
was never scared. No matter what I did, I always knew I
would achieve.
In the same way, I knew I was going to be a film director.
I even took subjects at school that would help me with my
future. This was how focused I was but after my father died, I
lost that focus and that interest. I felt that my life was very
difficult and I was struggling to cope. Somewhere deep down
in my depression telling me that I could not continue living
like this.
I did not recognise myself anymore.
Many people think that tattoos are bad. My father was one
of those people. It was quite funny because I have a tattoo in
honour of my father. Perhaps it was symbolic because one day
that tattoo would save my life.
A few years before my fathers death I had been to Spain
and decided I should get a tattoo, something that would
represent my father. I dont know why I thought about a tattoo
but I have always been close to my father and I felt that the
tattoo was the one thing that would be with me. I was in the
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tattoo shop looking at the different designs and found myself


drawn to the star signs. I decided that I wanted his birth sign
tattooed on my foot. The only problem was I did not know
what birth sign my dad was. I had to phone my mum to ask
her. She wasnt sure either.
Scorpio, I think, she said.
I really wanted the tattoo so I had the tattoo done not
knowing if I was doing the right one. Lucky enough, it was
the right one. My dad was a Scorpio; he was born on the 10th
of November 1954 and he died on Sunday 6th of December
2009. He was 55 years old. I was 17 years old.

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Chapter 3
Crossing bridges to my future

Rebecka Stockholm, Sweden


It was a lovely day for my graduation. My father had been
dead one and a half years and I was still trying to get over his
death. But, today I was happy. Today I was graduating. My
life would be different.
The alarm went off early in the morning; it was time to go
to school. It was one of those days where I dared to go to
school. I still was suffering from deep depression but I was
slowly learning to cope with it.
Many people do not understand depression. My
depression was so gradual that I did not know when it started
and I found it difficult to end. The hardest thing about
depression is the journey you have to take before you realise
that you are suffering from depression. Before that, you are
just a victim of something horrible and indescribable. You
cant speak to anyone about it because you dont understand
whats wrong and you cant explain how you feel. Its like
being in a dark hole and you cant climb out of it. Its a very
lonely place to be and you feel helpless all the time.
But, this morning was different. I wanted to go to school
because I did not want to miss my graduation. I felt like I had
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a purpose. Something was pulling me to my future but first


there was a bridge I had to cross.
To get to school I had to cross a bridge. It was not a very
big bridge and it had no special design but it crossed a river
and it seemed to me that it represented something dark and
something bad. Some days, when I walked across that bridge,
I was tempted to jump off into the river below. To get out of
the darkness that was around me all the time. Sometimes,
when the depression wasnt too bad and I managed to get
myself out of bed I would think about my life and about where
I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to be somewhere else;
somewhere great. And I knew that, every day, as long as I
crossed that bridge I would get there.
That bridge became my big enemy and as long as I forced
myself to cross it and get to school; I would be OK. All I had
to do was walk straight ahead without looking down at the
river.
By crossing that bridge, I was choosing to live and not to
die.
On this beautiful day, as I walked over that bridge to
finish the last day of school, I knew that I would get to
somewhere good in my life. The bridges in my life were much
longer and more difficult than that bridge, I thought. I felt that
something good was waiting for me on the other side.
School time was finally over. It was a day of celebration.
There was so much pain that I had gone through over the last
years and finally I could get away from it. I was free to start
my own life. I felt excitement for the first time.
Where would life take me?
I felt some freedom as I realised I did not have to stay in
the place that carried painful memories. I knew life would be
different now so I jumped out of bed, put on my nice white
dress, left my house and my concerned family, crossed the
bridge and walked towards my future.

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Chapter 4
Making movies

Rebecka Stockholm, Sweden


Now that school was over, I had to focus on the rest of my
life. I knew what I was going to do. I was going to be a film
director. I cant remember when I first decided that I wanted
to become a film director. When I was a young girl, my
grandmother would ask me what I wanted to be when I was
older. I would tell her, A film director.
She would then always reply, Do you still want to do
that!
Yes! I would tell her. I knew that was all I wanted to
study.
I knew it would be cheaper to study in Sweden but I
didnt want to make Swedish movies so I needed to look at
other countries. It is not that Swedish movies are bad but I
wanted to achieve something bigger. Sweden is small
compared to the rest of the world. There are only 9 million
people living in Sweden.
I wanted to make movies that would appeal to the world
so I had to leave my birthplace. I was not alone in my
decision. Many of my friends wanted to leave Sweden when
they finished school. There were many reasons. Some just
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