Who I used to be..
Everybody has a story. A past. Who you used to be and who you are now are often two completely different people.
Is that a bad thing? I don't think so... because who you used to be is vital to who you have become, right?
A brand is an essence of a person and it was created as part of their story, and I want to be able to share mine with you.
I come from a family of 4 girls. Our parents are literally the world's most genuine, sweetest and proudest parents you will ever meet. There is nothing they have never done for us. Growing up we were given every opportunity - to swim, dance, sing, run.. whatever sport or activity we wanted to try, whatever venture we wanted to undertake, our parents were the ones behind us cheering us on.
Our education was paramount. Mum, being a teacher, ensured that we worked hard and had every opportunity to receive the best education we could. Most importantly, she encouraged us to seize the opportunities they gave us. My Mum is gentle, sweet and caring. She has put all of her love and devotion into her students and school for 30 years now, going above and beyond what her job description outlines... one of the biggest things I admire about her.
Dad has always been hard working. He has run his own business and worked for others. He's a clown, your typical Dad-joker, outgoing and respectful. People have always said to him "I bet it's been hard having 4 girls!" but honesty, I think he wouldn't have had it any other way!
Together they make the perfect pair.
My sisters and I have a special bond. As girls do, we fight and bicker (especially growing up!), but there is such a strong foundation of friendship, support and love that could never be replaced.
I truely believe that it is because of my family, the values and the love and support that I was given growing up, that I am who I am today.
I share so much of my life. My children, for any parent, are the centre of my life. As a mother, you build your future around them. Perhaps your future looks completely different now... your career, has it taken a hit? Your friends.. have you lost them? Have you made new ones and gained a new circle?
For me, all are a yes. Who I always thought I was going to be has completely changed.
Designing and creating educational activities wasn't always my vision. It's a new passion, a new skill and a new part of my life. Would you believe I am probably the worst drawer the human race has seen?! I mean, my 5 year old draws better stick people than I do! My grandfather, on the other hand, was a magnificent artist!
I always loved science. I was obsessed with biology and how the world worked. I loved animals and advocating animal rights.
I loved it so much that straight after high school I began my university degree.. a Bachelor of Science (Zoology). I thrived on learning about molecular and cell biology, animal anatomy, disease and health. I still didn't know WHO i wanted to be. But I knew I was heading in the right direction.
I remember my Mum asking me what I wanted for Christmas when I was about 18. I asked her for a textbook about diseases. It was one of the best presents I'd ever received. I still have it!
My passion for science and health strengthened and in January 2013, my Mum got me the second best gift I've ever been given... two tickets Chiang-Mai (Northern Thailand) and positions to volunteer in the rehabilitation of working Elephants. It was life changing. We spent two weeks in a foreign country. In a village full of culture and a completely different way of life.
We trekked, fed and observed elephants in the jungle and I had never been more at peace. There's something that changes inside of you when you experience something like this; a sense of purpose, perhaps?
I was so blessed to have been able to spend this time with just my Mum. We bonded in a way that we never had a chance to do at home.
Shortly after returning I had this crazy idea.
My parents had previously taken my younger sister and I to see Tasmania. You know of the Tassie Devil, right? Well, there is this devastating facial tumour disease that wipes them out... like wild fire.
The perfect job for an animal and disease obsessed Zoology student? .. trying to save them! I started researching the 'Save the Tasmanian Devil Program' and the Trowunna Wildlife Park about volunteer positions. I started looking at apartments and considering if it's something I could actually do for a while. At that time, I hadn't been with my boyfriend for long. If I left, it would change the dynamic of our relationship... would we have had a future? Well, thank god I didn't go... because we are going on 8 years together with 2 beautiful babies.
But my passion never wavered.
In January 2014, one of my best friends and I travelled to South Africa to volunteer in an animal sanctuary. We spent two weeks cleaning enclosures, creating enrichment activities, playing with lion cubs, training 3 legged cheetahs and observing wildlife.
I was given the opportunity to vaccinate livestock and perform an autopsy on a deceased wilderbeast. I was in my element. It was then that I considered.. did I have what it took to study veterinary medicine?
The next week we flew to Kruger National Park and saw more African wildlife, landscape and lifestyle than I could have imagined!
When I was there I decided, THIS was who I was going to be. Our tour guide at the Crocodile River asked us if we'd love to join a program he was developing to track, observe and hunt rhinos. As if we wouldn't?!
Upon returning home I was a changed person. I had already began researching volunteer programs in Cambodia, called 'Free the Bears'. It was another animal rights issue that I was so passionate about! I could choose to volunteer from 1 to 8 weeks, and I planned to go alone.
It was March, and I was in the process of organising the paperwork. But I was struggling with something inside me, this love I felt for this boy... corny huh?!
He hated it when I left. And I hated leaving him. And I was scared of this change in my life.
I decided not to go to Cambodia. Not only because I'd be leaving again, but because it was going to be the first time I'd travel alone, and that scared me a little too much.
I was only 20, I had my whole life to travel and save wild animals.. right?
Well, it didn't quite work out that way.
In March of 2014, I had an unexpected but welcoming surprise. I was going to have a baby boy!!!
This meant my whole life and everything I had ever planned; travel, overseas volunteering, finishing my studies, was about to change.
Was I scared? Hell YES!
Oh but how my life changed for the better!
I continued to study though the year, sitting my final exams in November and ready to pop for a December birth!
My baby boy was born 5 days before my 21st birthday.
And thus began the newest and scariest chapter of my life... motherhood.