IT’S not surprising that the first woman to have her own TV show in Ireland, and who worked in the UK and in the US, Bibi Baskin, says she likes being on the move.
The Donegal-born woman, who “loves exciting challenges” made the 8,000km trip to Kerala, India, when she was 50, opening a hotel there.
“I was 50 years old, on my own, without a roof over my head,” she says.
Now, after many adventures, Bibi’s path has brought her home again where she is enjoying life in Crosshaven.
“I was welcomed with open arms in Crosshaven,” says Bibi, now 67, who often rises early to enjoy the morning sunshine and stillness in her back garden near the mouth of the River Owenabue, across from Currabinny Wood.
“I love the people of Cork,” says Bibi.
“They are so open and so friendly. Before, I knew only three people in Cork; now it seems I know everyone!”
She shares her little videos of nature with her neighbours and friends.
“When I discovered social media later in life, it opened up a whole new vista for me,” says Bibi.
“Now, I can share the beauty of my Cork
surroundings with other people.
“I get up at sunrise, go out into the garden in my PJs and make my beautiful little
videos of the birds, the flowers and nature, sharing them with others.”
Bibi always knew the art of good communication.
“I do a little voice-over to go with the videos. It sets up my day.”
Do the neighbours, used to seeing her face on TV and hearing her melodic voice on radio, think she’s lost the plot?
“Possibly!” says Bibi. “But that’s OK!”
She can also share her vast experience and her wisdom about wellness.
Bibi’s pocket book, Wellness Wisdom, is a collection of inspirational quotes for daily motivation.
“For decades, I have been collecting millions of quotes,” says Bibi.
“They have been a source of inspiration on a dull day, a ray of hope when the chips are down, a guide to reframing negative mindsets, and a tool to reinforce optimism and joy that is all around us but sometimes passes us by.
“My first love was writing, I used to collect quotes and scribble them down. My little pocket book of inspirational quotes is a kind of humble aide memoir and it could be useful for you.”
What inspired Bibi, who had a successful career in the limelight, to move to the Malabar Coast in India?
“I’ve had a life-long passion for Ayurveda, the ancient system of wellness that originated in India,” says Bibi, whose current focus is on motivational talks on life, wellness, and stress management.
“Ayurveda is a different system from the ‘pill for every ill’ approach to Western medicine. Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old holistic system of medicine, treats both mind and body, and I like the holistic system which it provides.”
When Bibi visited India with a friend in 2001, she discovered a property in Kerala which had been built in 1868 and inhabited for more than a century by the Raheem family, which she turned into a heritage guest house and hotel.
“It was derelict,” says Bibi. “The project was going to be a huge one.”
Bibi took on the project, feeling the fear but doing it anyway.
“I had no idea if it would succeed or fail,” she says.
“Passion fuelled me.”
The property opened for business in 2003 with 10 bedrooms, offering yoga and Ayurvedic treatments. It was named as one of the Best Sleeps in India in the Sunday Times.
“A lot of people want to take the leap for change,” says Bibi.
“But don’t find the confidence to do it. The key is not to be afraid of failure. It is all about mindset.
“When I started the project in India I had buckets of passion. I didn’t care whether it
succeeded or not. I don’t believe in bucket lists.”
She believes that there is no time like the present.
“If you’re going to do something, do it now.”
Bibi embraced change.
“I remember when I worked in RTÉ for eight years, I drove the same route every morning, I turned right into the same entrance every morning. I parked in the very same spot on the Tarmac every morning. I thought, will I be doing this for another 20 years? No way. I was set for change.”
And she knew that you can live cheaply in India if you want. Bibi got rid of the trappings of wealth.
“I sold my car and my house, put my stuff in storage, and off I went.”
Her parents, Jack and Hilda, promoted a positive mindset for their three daughters.
“I lost my dear dad when he was 50 at only six years old,” says Bibi.
“We went for walk together one day at 4pm. By 6pm he was dead.
“It was a big shock. My mother
adjusted very well, thankfully. Attitude is the key dealing with challenges in life.”
Bibi, realising life is for living, forged ahead, building a successful broadcasting career in Ireland and in the UK. Her name and her voice became instantly recognisable on the airwaves.
She wasn’t christened Bibi, was she?
“No. I was not! When I was in college, in UCD, I took off to Germany one summer to work. I met some Polish friends, Willie and Libby.
“One of them had trouble pronouncing
vowels and my birth name, which is Olive. So we came up with a name rhyming with Willie and Libby. Bibi
was the choice.”
And the rest is history.
Bibi these days gets up for the day, not for the job.
“Being happy in your own skin is everything. I don’t know what loneliness is.
My love of learning and of books gives me peace of mind and a sense of calm.”
Bibi says we should all slow down in this busy modern world of ours and take time out.
“Sometimes, just doing absolutely nothing at all during the day is therapeutic,” says Bibi.
“Too many people suffer high anxiety levels.”
Bibi says we should take time to stop and stare.
“You see people walking down the street, heads down looking at their phones.
“They don’t see the beauty of the architecture around them. They don’t see their surroundings.”
Bibi, now surrounded by friends and neighbours in Crosshaven, has come full circle to a happy place.
“Life is full of opportunities,” she says.
“Grab them. Life is short. We all know that. So why should you give another minute to
anything that doesn’t make you happy?
“If you fail or succeed, it is not the end of the world.”
Bibi’s Wellness Wisdom, a Collection of My
Inspirational Quotes for Daily Motivation Vol 1. To order a copy call Lorraine on 021 5003050.