Apart from a few years in the desert and the mountains, I have always lived by the Ocean. I have done offshore sailing, scuba diving, some surfing and lots of ocean swimming; seeing the sea in all its lights and colours and tempers. I get into that salty goodness at least three times a week and am so lucky to be able to hear the roll of the ocean from my home.
Moving my body regularly makes me feel balanced, and that in turn makes me feel strong. Being able to choose kindness and openness makes me feel strong, as opposed to when I feel defensive or frustrated.
Of all the ways I move my body, I come away from yoga, mountain bike riding, ocean swims and surfing feeling the very best - although, who doesn't love a game of netball too!
Surfing has presented a big challenge for me in terms of overcoming fear. I'm a small wave, fair-weather surfer (and VERY intermittent surfer since I became a Mum) but I value that connection to the sea none the less. I did most of my surfing on a quiet break in the South Pacific with a talented, generous and beautiful oceanwoman, Chris Egan, who has been surfing her break for over 30 years and who I just love to bits. I have had some of the best times of my life on that beach with the Egans, including Christmas with my Dad (who I've since lost) and getting married there. It's my heaven.
I think starting my surf career with boys (who were already established surfers) didn't work well for me and going out in water I had no business being in...I really encourage women to find other women to surf with, it's a whole other thing!
Climate, wealth inequality, respect for Indigenous people, culture and knowledge and self-responsibility are the big ones for me. Oh, and a good sense of humour!
For progress to happen in both climate and social policy we need more balanced public discourse. To avoid political policy driven by sound bites, populism and fear we all have a role to play in educating ourselves, actively seeking out reliable information sources and thinking critically about information. This includes understanding how different types of information is generated. Extreme positions and bandwagons are lazy, and often self-righteous, ways of thinking and aren't going to get us anywhere. We have to be willing to engage with complexity and to remain open to our opinion evolving and changing as we learn and grow - otherwise we can't hear each other and all is lost.
I would like to see Indigenous policy that is based on the opinions and self-determination of Indigenous people. Consultation happens over and over again and then political agendas move policy action away from Indigenous-led solutions and that has to stop.
In my life I try my best to get the basics right. Be truthful. Be kind. Try to tread lightly. See yourself as part of a whole - no more and no less than others. Don't be afraid to say what you think, but listen too. Keep learning and educating yourself. Prioritise what matters to you and invest energy into it. Work out what things in your life are time sucks or don't make you feel good and switch that shit off, or say no. There is a quote attributed to the Buddha that I have always liked, "Be lamps unto yourselves." I understand this to mean we are capable of lighting our own way, by learning to see ourselves, and we must work to do so if we are to remain steady and open throughout life.
I have learnt a lot from the Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron, I encourage everyone to read or watch her teachings! She is really funny. And I think when you've learnt you're no big deal, you don't have anything to defend, you can relax enough to see the humour in things! Humour can get you through most anything...
On her achievements in life...
3 months camping across America/Canada in a 1984 Buick, and another three months camping between Los Angeles and the Mexico/Guatemala border; living and working in Tonga on and off over a 10 year period, snow seasons in Australia, Canada, NZ.
Working at sea/offshore sailing.
18 months working in Walungurru (Kintore) running the youth, sport and rec program. Kintore is one of Australia's most remote Aboriginal communities. Working there as a youth worker and sharing life with the community, who had first contact in the 1950s, was an absolute privilege - shout out to Martha and Phyllis who remain good friends 13 years later.
Finishing 2 Masters and a Grad Cert whilst working full time (and pregnant for part of the time)! A 4.45kg baby, and the wild journey into motherhood that has followed!
I grew up in Adelaide and Mt Isa. My grandparents all grew up in the bush or outback, and I think that runs in my blood and explains why I have spent most of my life in small places like Tonga and Kintore. I bounced around the world throughout my 20s and 30s, travelling and working. My career has been in the development and health sectors, I currently work for NSW Health. I live in the Northern Rivers with my quirky, steady, honey, Ben, and our busy, curious, funny ray of sunshine (with occasional thunderstorms!) Henry.
And I forgot to add..surfing in Tonga all those years ago is where my SG journey began...I've been loving your tights and rashies since the beginning. See, it was meant to be! xox