I was born and raised in Highgate, North London. I've led an extremely fortunate life, as there's always been love, laughter, fun and food on the table. And … choices and as a result I've pursued many different careers, interests and travels.
As a child I always loved to 'make things' and to 'dance'. I wanted to become a ballet dancer or an inventor, but the opportunities at school for art, dance and music were very limited so I pursued these areas as past times. I also poured over maps and exotic pictures of India and Asia and developed a yearning to travel.
I studied geography at London University and they say, "Geographers always end up in funny places or lost". In 1971, one Sunday morning I officially 'left home' and set off with seven friends (including Steve, my husband) in a very old bus for India. It was a 32 seater Bedford built in 1948. We mischievously painted "The British Arctic Expedition" on the side. The boot collapsed two miles from my house, but we didn't dare to return and fixed it by the roadside…it was the start of many such 'diversions' as we crossed the Alps and Europe and yes…Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan through India and up into the Himalayas to Nepal (narrowly missing the war between India and Pakistan). We sold our bus and flew to Thailand and travelled by train to Singapore and thence on a Russian ship to Western Australia, arriving in Fremantle with $30 between us.
We worked in Australia for a year. I taught Geography in a country town. Later, Steve and I travelled across the Nullarbor in a heatwave and eventually returned to England by boat from Sydney across the Pacific to Acapulco via New Zealand and Fiji and then by air from Mexico City to London.
In 1974, we returned to Perth and Steve studied for his degree in Land Surveying whilst I taught Geography and introduced Media and Photography to students in an inner city school. In 1976, we headed off again to work in Nepal, UK and New Zealand, later returning to Perth as it had become 'home' as that is where we had made so many friends.
I changed career in 1980 to undertake community work with adults in Fremantle jail and then long term unemployed. I learnt about participatory techniques and adult learning processes and a whole new world opened up for me... and I hope for the people I worked with.
From 1981-83 we worked at the Hong Kong Polytechnic and travelled to China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines. We also formed "The Rusty Wok Ceilidh Band" and played for folk dances.
I have worked as a Consultant with the Australian Institute of Management, and as a facilitator with government departments, executives, blue-collar workers and rural, Aboriginal and Vietnamese migrant communities. My work as a teacher and researcher at Curtin University of Technology enabled me to teach and conduct research in Nepal and Mongolia and travel to present at conferences in Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.
We recently spent three years involved in development work in Lao PDR where I worked with government workers on community liaison and gender issues and a variety of NGOs. I travelled the length and breadth of beautiful Laos and also visited Cambodia, Vietnam.