When I graduated from high school I was asked so what do you want to be when you grow up?
I remember being absolutely stumped the world was my oyster but I had no idea what to do with it!
It is hard when your 18 to know what you want to do in life, there is so much choice but you don’t really know what is for you.
I thought being an air hostess looked glamorous but I was too short to place luggage in the overhead lockers, so I decided to pursue a course in tourism.
I learnt how to run events and put my hand up to volunteer at major festivals and loved most of the course. But when it came to Galileo the travel booking system I truly and utterly sucked, despite this I graduated with a diploma of events management but had no idea what to with this hard earnt piece of paper.
I applied for jobs but the only gig I got was working at Footsies Pizza in the kitchen. This gig lasted for two weeks and I was fired for being too slow at food preparation but won major points for chatting to customers!
Lucky for me a stint in theme parks was waiting! I had applied to work at Luna Park as a ride operator; I thought it was pretty cool to have such a fun place to call work. I remember when I got the call that I was successful, this invoked me running up and down the hallway yelling “I got it.”
I was insanely excited and grew to love Luna Park and in particular the people there, at the time I felt like I had been inducted into a very big family!
Somehow the very big dream of being a carnie master hit my head, I wanted to work in all the theme parks of Australia!
At that stage I had been at Luna Park for four years and I wanted a change of scenery so I set my sights on Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.
So I applied and got asked to come up for an interview, this was a beginning of a new adventure and my love of this great city.
I was the only person in the room that flew from Melbourne to work as a ride operator, the only chick who was insane enough to think she could work at all the theme parks in Australia!
Reflecting back I remember that interview as if it was yesterday, I was nervous but quietly confident in my heart I knew I would get it.
Once again it was time for a happy dance! I got the job! I packed my bags and stayed at the Islander Backpackers in Surfers Paradise.
One of my new roommates Karen from Wales soon become one of my closest friends, we both braved the freezing cold pool because hey were both from cold climates! The water was warm to us! Well that was what we kept telling ourselves! Karen was in Australia on a stop over to meet her boyfriend who lives in New Zealand. I will never forget the time all us orphan backpackers had pizza for Christmas dinner, it is funny you will always find company if you seek it!
One of my friends at Dreamworld told me about Broadbeach Flatmates which is a service connecting those who want a place to live on the Gold Coast.
I was lucky the second place I visited was perfect and I met Nick who was my new flat mate. It was weird from being in a room with five strangers to having my own room!
But I soon adjusted and grew to love my new suburb Southport that was conveniently located to public transport and most of all had a pool!
Can you tell I was a tad obsessed with swimming? It was such a treat to jump in the pool after a long day of work!
Anyway Dreamworld was so different to working at Luna Park but it was an absolute blast to be working at such a diverse theme park.
My favorite ride to operate was the Wipe Out, mainly because I got to do cool hand signals! For me it felt weird that we could not rotate and experience a range of rides, at Luna Park we could rotate. It makes such a difference to experience something different; a change of scenery always does wonders. The most torturous ride was the Wild Thornberrys, mainly because it was a huge ball pit with lots of kids screaming!
So what turned out to be one season ended in five seasons! I was only up on the Gold Coast for the summer but ended up staying and studying Journalism at Griffith University!
Go figure life is never predictable! I think I have a new saying for the Gold Coast “Go for a season stay for five years!”
Hmmm I don’t think I’ll win many tourism awards with that one! Anyway I spent three and a half years studying what I grew to love! I always knew I love to write and this was the perfect course for me.
I fell in love with writing in every way I could from feature writing to news style it was an amazing gift to indulge in something that I was passionate about!
When it came to graduating, I remember being sad in a way I was saying good-bye to what I loved. I knew I loved to write but I also knew it was going to be struggle to get a job in the industry.
Sure enough I was soon attending interviews with friends I had made at university. It was strange it felt like suddenly we were enemies fighting for the same thing.
I never ended getting much paid work in journalism, other than my freelance stuff for Paws and Claws where I interviewed people about their pets.
Fast forward to 2010 that was the moment I flew back to Melbourne where I was once again on the elusive job hunt.
I ended up getting work in mainly tourism and hospitality, it was good but I was not doing what I was passionate about.
While looking through old photos of my family, I thought it would be great to create a slideshow for my uncle’s birthday present.
This sparked the beginning of a business called Golden Days Images, which scans old photos to DVD. Unfortunately I was not successful; I ended up spending more than the money coming in!
But it was a great learning ground to create Celebrate Living History which is an organisation focused on connecting young people with seniors to document stories.
I’m still in the same situation spending more money than what is coming in, but in my heart I know this is what I was born to do. Sometimes the job picks the person and in this case I believe I was chosen to make Celebrate Living History a success.
I was interviewing people for an exhibition celebrating Frankston locals and I was chatting to Dorothy Dempster who was talking about her experience growing up. In that moment I thought it would be so sad if she never had the opportunity to share this experience with the community. In my heart I wanted to have young people learn from older people and an internship program started formation in my head.
The next day I booked a flight to the Gold Coast and spoke to my old lecturer Professor Stephen Stockwell. All this without making an appointment, it was pure luck that he was sitting on the floor surrounded by books in his office.
That moment was pure gold, and I am so glad Griffith University provided the first journalism interns because that is where I learnt to write and discovered what I was passionate about.
Fast forward to 2015 since then I have spoken at senior community groups and gained interns from not only Griffith University but Swinburne University.
I have also had the opportunity to work with Frankston High School students to showcase the Celebrate Living History of Frankston exhibition at Cube 37. This is a collection of photographs and stories of seniors I interviewed in 2012.
So while I may not have achieved super “Carnie Queen” status, all of what I have learnt I believe has put me on this path.
It is just a matter of making my dream job come true.