My name is Kathleen and I’m a 20-something Anthropology graduate from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Most of my readers will be people I already know (Hi Mum, Hi Dad!) but what follows is a bit about me.
When I was born, my family lived at O’Reilly’s in the beautiful, World Heritage listed Lamington National Park. There my parents built a house; my Dad was a Park Ranger and Mum attempted to tame my siblings and I. Predictably, I grew up with a love for the environment, passion for protecting animals and a big sense of adventure.
The sense of adventure is still around. Big time. I saved up for my first trip out of Australia when I was 16 and went to China. It was incredible! So much so, that I haven’t really stopped since. I’m totally hooked on travelling (new sights, smells, sounds, tastes and memories).
I did a Eurotrip when I was 19, backing packing around Europe and the UK for 4 months. When I returned to Brisbane, I kinda felt ready for a new challenge. Something big. Something that would reflect the magnitude of my trip and that would change the way I saw the world – like travelling did.
I decided to try going to university. I kinda figured it wouldn’t be anywhere near as awesome as travelling, you know “Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer” and all. I was hoping that uni would at least make me employable at some point, and I wanted to challenge myself academically.
It turns out that was one of the best decisions I ever made and now I disagree with that quote, because a university education is another thing you buy that actually makes you richer. I loved being a student, studying a really broad range of subjects; environmental science, gender studies, archaeology, international relations, development practise and political science. Anthropology was my favourite; it was the class I looked forward to everyday and the one that dramatically changed the way I see the world. It gave me exactly what I was looking for; something to help me understand the world better, make me a more conscious traveller and it think about ways I might be able to give back to the world – in a not totally Eurocentric or Egocentric way. It taught me to be a spontaneous traveller, avoid stereotyping people, place and travel experiences, get off the beaten track, follow the locals, not hotel trawl (stay in places that facilitate meeting new people) and most importantly to truly appreciate difference. I guess that’s led to my philosophy that travelling shouldn’t be about ticking off a bucket list. It should be about appreciating difference and truly absorbing different ways people around the world live their lives, how they make sense of their environment, history, kin, religion, gender and culture.
So, I loved university. And I guess it helped that it was also a great time to travel. Some of the best trips Dave and I ever took happened in those years, as we were both students and would get three months off at the end of every year. I worked at a coffee shop on campus and he tutored, so we weren’t required to take many shifts during holidays – freedom! We went to New Zealand, Tasmania, Victoria, Vanuatu, Italy, Greece, Spain, Scotland, England and Singapore. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) and Dave graduated a Bachelor of Science (Physics).
When we finished university, we decided it was time to try and leave the nest, so to speak. We basically wanted to know what it was like to live in another state, so we filled our backpacks and hopped on the plane to Hobart, Tasmania. Neither of us had a job and we didn’t have a place… or any friends. But we were lucky, the friends came, the jobs came and the house came. And we loved it so much that 2.5 years passed.
That pretty much brings us to now. Now we’re living in Austin, Texas. Dave has just been on his first research cruise to Antarctica and I’ve been for a trip back to Australia. Oh and we’re in the throws of planning a destination wedding in France in a couple of months, so life is busy!
I feel like there is so much passion and excitement in me for the world, my field, my life – I’m so glad to have a place to put it. Plus it’s nice to have something that forces me (occasionally!) to keep thinking about goings-on in my field.
So here I am, and it’s a little bit exciting!