Writer, radio maker, story collector, people watcher, eavesdropper, lover of the North: that’s me. Well, partly me.
My obsession with all things tropical and Northern began with a year in Tonga, over a decade ago now. Bright eyed and bushy tailed Australian Volunteer that I was, I got off the plane and into one of Nuku’alofa’s best taxis stitched together with sticky tape. My culture shock barometer sky rocketed. My sunglasses fogged up. We drove into town, past tiny corner stores filled with packets of two minute noodles and cordial frozen in plastic bags (local ice blocks).
And then we passed the prison. The fence was waist high, if that.
“Sometimes, the prisoners borrow the guard’s car and go into town. Nobody minds. They come back,” my in-country manager told me.
I think I fell in love with the Pacific at that moment.
I kept travelling. Samoa, Vanuatu. I nearly took a job in PNG but knocked it back when my boss-to-be told me she was cooped up in the compound, waiting for payback from some Highlanders.
I was looking for something humid with palm trees but with limited to no chance of a car jacking. Maybe a little less church on Sundays and more tolerance for singlets and shorts.
A couple of years later, I found myself in the Territory doing some work for Triple J and–bar a stint in the Kimberley–I’ve been here ever since. This year marks a decade Up North for me – do I get to be a local soon? Probably not. I’ll settle for a 10 year visa stamp.
These days, I live in Darwin with Mr Tea, our son Baby Tea and a number of pot plants in various states of health.
I’ve also been living with chronic illness for the best part of three years now – Chronic Fatigue and POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) – big, bad bundles of fun, both of them. Working less has meant more time for writing, but being sick (and having a baby) sometimes makes the blog posting a little sporadic.
Mr Tea and I like to travel out bush, by boat, across the Top End and from the Kimberley to Far North Queensland and into Asia. Not as easy now as it was pre-child and BTS (Before The Sick), but we do our best. You’ll find a few of those stories, and some more, on this blog. Some are funny and some are not.