Wait, didn't I already answer that question? Well, yes and no...
Back when I was starting out in my career in my librarian, I wasn't really interested in travel. I moved to Darwin because I thought it would be good for my career, but I never cared to travel the short distance to PNG or Timor Leste or even Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore. I didn't see the point. Besides, I didn't have a passport.
But I do have a passport now. Last night, I was handing over my passport, as I crossed the border into (the Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia, and noticed the date on my first ever stamp.
11th of June, 2009, Port Vila.
And I remembered. This is where it all started. At the New Librarian's Symposium in 2008, I met a lovely young librarian named Romany who was working at the RMIT library, who was soon to head to Vanuatu for a year as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD). We stayed in touch, and I decided that it would be worth visiting. I mean, Vanuatu isn't that far from Australia (Actually, it's 6.5 hours via Brisbane). So, I went, and it was my first time travelling abroad by myself. It was also a wonderful cultural experience, from taking in the local culture, to sleeping in a village, snorkelling, hanging with other AYADs and VIDAs, and coming to the realisation that if I want to travel, all I have to do it take the step through the door.
And although it took quite a few years, I ended up initially heading to PNG for 2 months, which turned into 3.5 months, followed by another 3 months in Hoi An, which turned into another 9 months into Hanoi. And here I am now in the Balkans where, strictly speaking, I'm not working in development anymore, but my skills and experience in the international development field have been perfect preparation for the kind of work I do now.
So, thank you Romany, for helping set these wheels in motion. My life would have been very different otherwise.
For those interested in Romany's adventures in Vanuatu, for a candid account of here experiences, you should start here. :)