The “me” part of this blog:
First thing you need to know: I don’t particularly enjoy writing about myself.
Phew. Getting that out in the open will make the rest of this process so much easier.
The thing about ‘About’ pages is that everyone else’s is more interesting. I love a good biography, but would feel a bit awkward reading my own. I mean, there’s a lot of expectation to sell yourself, isn’t there? And I don’t like selling myself. Not one bit.
With that in mind, I’m going to spice things up a bit. You still get the obligatory info-dump, but integrated with something I do enjoy: trivia. Everyone loves a good quiz, don’t they? So, treat this section like a night at the pub, and answer me these questions three! (Well, it’s actually more like ten). Drinks are on me — when I can afford them.
(Remember the unwritten rule of tests: chances are, the longer answer’s always right).
Question one: Who am I, anyway?
A) An Australian country girl in a big world, who loves a bite of chocolate and planning her next adventure. B) A charming, but hopelessly shy, English ladyboy, originally known as Lawrence. C) I don’t exist. You don’t exist. This isn’t happening. Get back to folding knickers or whatever it was you were doing.
Question two: What’s the inspiration behind the pretentious-sounding blog title?
A) I once went to an international restaurant, and noticed the fish of the day was a species known as “world”. So I ordered it. B) I used a random word selector and that’s what came out of it. C) I’m ridiculously indecisive. When someone asks me what my plans are or where I’ll be in five years’ time, I get so flustered by all the possibilities that I usually want to respond with, “The world — now stop badgering me!” I added the “please” because I’m polite.
(To add to that, I’m expanding my website to include more stories about other people around the world. I don’t want to be known *just* as a travel blogger — I mean, I like other things, too. I like art and culture and photography and food and music and politics and spirituality and sustainable living and comedy and things that are downright strange. These things, other people and I all come under that global banner I want to celebrate in its entirety.)
Question three: Cool. What’s with all the open-ended travel?
A) I’m running away from the responsibilities of life. B) I’m determined to be self-reliant and have a damn good time. I shudder at the notion of missing out on so much the world and all its cultures have to offer. C) I suffer from a tragic illness that caused me to forget where I came from and all the people I once loved. I’m to wander Earth forever in search of home.
Question four: What unnecessary essentials do I always cart around in my backpack?
A) A large set of headphones, book of journeys, and jar of Vegemite. B) My birth certificate, childhood teddy bear, and an envelope full of warm-and-fuzzies from high school. C) A dictionary, calligraphy set, and my mum.
Question five: Favourite country? (Yes. Some travellers pick favourites).
Question six: What do I want to be when I grow up?
A) A terrifically knowledgable and witty travel writer like Bill Bryson/fiction author with the heart and sass of J.K. Rowling. B) A sailboat captain who exclusively navigates the South Pacific. C) An Olympic-level practical joker.
Question seven: Let’s pretend I’m hosting an “Across the Ages” dinner party (I wish). Who would I most prefer to attend?
A) Frida Kahlo, Barack Obama, and Albert Einstein — for a good blend of art, politics, and science. B) Bill Bryson, Stephen Fry, and Mark Twain — all for wit. C) Kanye West, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Stephanie Meyer — for drowning in the backyard pool, I suspect.
Question eight: What are some of my future travel goals? (Hint: this page just might give you the answer).
A) Cycling New Zealand from top to bottom, attending Burning Man, and learning Gaelic. B) Completing a base jump, reaching Mt. Everest’s base camp, and circumnavigating the globe without flying. C) Swimming with sharks, owning a vineyard, and skiing across Canada.
Question nine: Most mortifying travel experience?
A) Being detained at Heathrow Airport for four hours. B) Realising three hours before boarding an international flight that I’d accidentally sent my passport six hours’ north. C) Being felt up in a freezing-cold room by a masseuse in Vientiane, Laos, before witnessing a motorcycle accident on the walk home. D) Being admitted to a Bangkok hospital with such severe gastro I was passing blood and attached to a drip for two days.
Question ten: Which city/cities have I recently added to my “I could probably live here — maybe. Ask me later” list?
Well, how did you go? Did you survive? Did you win?
Let’s find out, shall we? (One point for each correct answer).
1. Obviously, A. You’re off to a bad start if you got this one wrong. 2. C. 3. B, though I wouldn’t be too surprised if you thought A. 4. A. 5. C. To quote my dad, “New Zealand is God’s own country”. I couldn’t agree more. 6. A and C! (Yes, you get two points if you saw that twist coming). 7. B — I can’t resist good wit, and I wouldn’t really consider drowning Kanye. What would happen to all the memes? 8. A. 9. D. The others are strong contenders, but there’s nothing quite like firing out of both ends in a foreign land with a bunch of strangers looking on. 10. B and C. Bangkok is too mental to be dealing with all the time. London, while cold, has the National Gallery and Portobello Market. I’m sold. And Hong Kong just flat-out rocks.
So, how well do you know someone you’ve probably only just heard about?
0-3: Faaaaaaail. Now, go read some posts and leave comments to say you’re sorry.
4-7: Not too bad. Stick around and read some more, and you just might become an expert.
8+: You’re pretty awesome. I think you ought to subscribe or sommat, and set and example for all the ones dragging their feet.
Hope you enjoyed that. Feel free to brag about how well you did, and spread the word. Now, onto…
The “everyone else” part of this blog:
I started The Human Gallery as means of unifying the three things I love most about travel: like-minded people, perspective, and opportunity.
While working as a blog editor for an online magazine, I had the chance to interview, and write about, a photojournalist who took it upon herself to cover the tumultuous situations in Syria, Turkey, and Brazil (during the World Cup protests), and document the burgeoning mixed surfing community on the Gaza Strip. I was seriously flawed by her bravery, candidness, and heartfelt nature — and I won’t lie, I had more than one of those pesky “What the hell am I doing with my life?!” moments.
This was a milestone in my modest writing career, and I just knew I had to adopt a more worldly tact in future pieces.
So, what’s The Human Gallery about?
It’s where the funny, eccentric, nerdy, poignant, inspiring, and downright weird things live. It’s a virtual showcase of bold, creative, and quirky people doing seriously cool things right under your nose. Or, at least, it will be…with your support, of course.
Don’t flinch. I don’t mean monetary support. I mean you (yes, you) getting in touch if you’ve got a story to share. It doesn’t have to be travel-related (although that’s always welcome); if you knit woolly jumpers for street dogs, I want to hear from you. If you’ve walked around Wales with a donkey (yup, I got to write about that, too), I want to hear from you. If you’re cycling from Alaska to Argentina, scootering Italy, swimming with sharks for the sake of conservation, stand-up paddle-boarding the Missouri River, inventing a cure for social anxiety, facilitating an interpretive dance ensemble about autism in the workplace, writing a book about indigenous communities in the South Pacific (you get the idea), I want to hear from you.
I want this thing to blow up. I want it to be like Humans of New York, but with bigger stories. I want it to be a catalogue of every kind of person you can possibly think of. I want you to laugh and be inspired and use your noggin for good, and support other travellers and human beings instead of competing with them. I want us to move past this idea of “conventional”, and accept with deep-seated mirth that the world is, at its core, an extremely bizarre and tremendous place to live.
So, get out there, and get in touch with me when you do. Who knows…maybe we’ll cross paths on the road someday.