Despite my sailing adventures as a child, I really knew very little about sailing, but I after I was finished school and college I knew I wanted an adventure.
After I graduated Fashion College in 1992, I just wanted to go traveling. So I started working double jobs to save as much money as I possibly could to go traveling.
One of the most amazing jobs I had after graduation in Australia, was working for a local manufacturing company that made all of the uniforms for Australia Post. The company was called YAKKA, a name that all Australians would be familiar with. It was the early days of computers being used in the production process, and it was my job to digitize all the patterns into the computer, grade them from a size 10 (sample size) up to 12 - 14 - 16 - 18 and so on, and then create the markers for the cutting department. Here I am with that ancient looking computer system.
Now that doesn't look all that glamorous, but I sure did learn a lot and that job later helped me to get a job in Egypt running the same sort of pattern computer system. This was an amazing opportunity, here I am with my assistant Sahar who I taught to run the computer system on her own. Egypt was a hard place to live for a young Western woman, I had to cover up and wear loose baggy clothes at all times and I still got harassed everywhere I went.
I was just 23 and my sister Cristi was only 19 when we flew out of Australia in search of adventure. Just a few days ago my mum was saying "remember that day you flew out?" she talked about how she sat there in the airport sobbing and trying not to cause too much of a scene. I clearly remember it too, only I knew in my heart that I was going for a LONG TIME. I remember saying to my family that I planned to live overseas for 5-10 years, but it turned out to be 16 years living abroard. I had so many adventures. First stop was to Bali.... here I am in some tiny deserted beach cove.
Here I am chilling in a hammock. SO young and SO FREE.
Next we went to England where we were lucky enough to have a friend to stay with while we got settled in. Here I am calling home to mum and dad - collect call of course from one of London's old red phone booths.
Here I am standing on the Greenwich International Date Line.... my new boyfriend (the teddy bear) close by my side.
Next my sister Cristi and I bought touring bikes, packed up camping gear and set off to cycle Britain. We spent a few months cycling around the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and England. Here is my favorite photo of Cristi cycling downhill towards a castle.
I recall that our budget was 10 British Pounds a day.... we were so hungry from all the cycling, that we camped everywhere - preferably in a quiet paddock for FREE, so that we could spend more of our budget on food. Here we are all set up in a lovely quiet English walled garden.
Here I am on some beautiful quiet English country road.
Here we are at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.
Eventually though, my sisters bike was stolen, with all of her belongings on the back. This was a real dampener to our trip, so we decided to get out of England. We bought a cheap charter holiday to Egypt, and the next thing we were exploring the Valley of the Kings. Here is Cristi at the Pyramids of Giza.
So young and SO FREE. We travelled around Egypt for a month or so, and then headed back north, through Turkey, Greece and Italy. Here I am on some exotic Greek Island. WOW, that is one place I would love to go back to.
After this I started getting tired of living out of my backpack, so I went back "home" to my friends house in London, to try to find a job, save some more money and get some normal back.
I ended up working in London for a company that was doing computerized pattern grading for all the big fashion houses of London, and it was after that that I got the job back out in Egypt. That factory in Egypt was enormous..... 7 stories of production lines, making clothes for British High Street stores with lovely Egyptian Cotton. Such an amazing experience.... I learnt a lot about different fabrics there.
Here I am in the sample room - Jeannine (blonde) was a designer from England, and you can just see me behind her. Loved all those Egyptian girls we worked with. Their English was non-existant, and they were trying to teach us Egyptian, but it was hard to understand each other sometimes.
After Egypt I went to "experience" USA and ended up volunteering at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with some fellow Australian friends. We had so much fun. Our job was to drive the band members on golf buggies to their stage for their performances at the Village. I was there when the bomb went off ! I heard it and then all the sirens going crazy. I rushed to find a phone booth and call home.... "Mum, you will see on the news soon that a bomb has just gone off at the Olympics, don't worry, I am ok.... bye"
No wonder my mum has grey hair !
So many crazy adventures!