- A gray cat slinks past a wooden house. There’s something a little intimidating attempting to describe.
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I was born in Eeklo, Belgium, on June 29th, 1964. As a little girl I could frequently be found putting stickers on pages in my school atlas, dreaming of all these exotic places I hoped to visit one day. At home traveling was not encouraged at all, so, I was determined to become a flight attendant. Extreme proneness to motion sickness made that impossible. Customer service turned out to be my thing: reception, hospitality.
In 1988 I decided it was time to move to ‘the big city’, so I left Eeklo for Gent – a whopping 20 km away! Mind you, most Belgians perceive distance slightly different from the rest of the world; it is after all a rather tiny country. Three years later, in 1991, I left Gent to go to London to live and work; for about 2 years. Or at least that was the initial plan. But fate had something else in store for me…
On my way to London I met a Kiwi called Stephen…
Traveling seems to be part of the make-up of most Kiwi’s, and being around them – and Australians with the same affliction – my dormant childhood travel longing was awakened. All of a sudden traveling became the norm. It started with trips in the UK and culminated, in 1993-1994 in a backpacking trip through Africa. That continent was then also not without issues, so we skipped certain countries as we tend to be rather risk-averse. A trip like that is adventurous enough without adding uncertainty or even danger to it. After that trip we spent 3 months in New Zealand and then back to work in London.
We moved to Australia in 1996 and spent the first few weeks in Bowral, NSW. Our first priority was buying second-hand car ‘Frank the Tank’ – a robust Ford Falcon – to go on a quick 6 week trip around Australia. Stephen first job after this trip took us to Perth, WA, for about 4 months after which we settled in Balmain, Sydney.