Sian Williams, 41. lives in Llandaff, Cardiff and spends all of her free time travelling around Wales ticking off the challenges from her bucket list Instagram.
Sadly, around her 40th birthday, Sian suffered a mental breakdown and with it, thoughts of suicide. Sian chose to decline the use of antidepressants, and instead, sought to work through the Wales Online bucket list ‘100 Things to do in Wales Before You Die’, in one year. Thankfully, by June 2018, Sian’s mental health had significantly improved. She said “I put this down to getting outside and sharing experiences” . Now, Sian encourages others to do the same, trying something new to prevent mental illness. She said “I’m very open about myself and willingly share my experiences of mental health. It is this authenticity and openness which enables me to relate and connect with people”.
As a keen volunteer, Sian also spent four months abroad volunteering in Nepal. Here she taught local children English, as well as providing care. She was struck with how reliant the villagers were on one another, and the community as a whole. She said “They had a shared interest in helping one another, and a strong sense of belonging” – something she believed was lacking in her own community.
With the experience in Nepal fresh in her mind, Sian was keen to bring this community spirit back to South Wales. Thankfully, she came across The Big Lunch as a way to do exactly that. She said “The Big Lunch has made me realise that I only know the names of two people who live here. It’s a great initiative to get to know your neighbours.” Although she plans to hold her first Big Lunch in 2019, she is already seeing the benefits of the initiative, as even the planning of her Lunch has already brought the street together. She said “When I love an idea I’m passionate and enthusiastic about it which can be contagious”.
This year, Sian will be joining a host of other community activists across the UK taking part in The Big Lunch Community Walk. Through her bucket list adventures, Sian has been lucky enough to visit the historic cultural sights of Wales. It is however, the people that she will meet on The Big Lunch Community Walk that excites her the most. She said “I believe that the leaders of these community groups are passionate about what they’re doing - they’re doing it for love not for money - so they deserve to be listened to.”
As a proud Welshwoman (who’s Big Lunch theme is even ‘All Things Welsh’), the opportunity to represent Wales in The Big Lunch Community Walk is a huge honour for Sian. She said, “Having felt worthless to the point of ending my life and then only eighteen months later being able to represent Wales in the Big Lunch Community Walk would be a dream come true.”