Imagine if you will, being posted to the bleak prairies of Canada with no company support, no relocation package and having to stump up the fare and then make the arduous journey from England by boat and train...
Hardly the sort of assignment one would volunteer for, but more than 100 years ago Winifred Bland and her family did just that.
Winnie is the remarkable story of an indomitable and hard working young woman, written from the journals she kept until 1913, and then lovingly continued by her grandson years later, to complete her story when she died in 1981.
At the age of 14, Winnie, her parents and four younger siblings left Britain to escape the imminent threat of mass unemployment, and departed for the new province of Saskatchewan with little more than the clothes they were wearing, and $10 to their name.
Seduced by Government propaganda promising free land, the Bland family arrived in what must have felt like the middle of nowhere, to subzero temperatures, with no income, and having to rely solely on the hospitality of old friends who'd made the journey before them.
It's a story of old-fashioned stoicism in the face of enormous hardship, which could have made for a depressing read; and yet it's not at all.
Winnie's Victorian principles and her iron work ethic, combined with a deep sense of responsibility held her in good stead during difficult times and personal tragedy.
She was clearly loved and admired by her extended family to the extent that years later Winnie's story inspired her grandson to publish it.
It's all too easy as an expat to become absorbed in the many real obstacles we have to face relocating to new countries, especially with young children, but Winnie puts these difficulties into perspective and makes for an enjoyable and uplifting read.