A decade ago, after an intense 12 years working in politics and the media in Australia, I was burnt out and off track. Exhausted and stressed, I was neglecting family and friends, my health was suffering and I didn’t recognise the irritable person I had become. Under the weariness, there was also a niggling sense that I had veered off the path I was supposed to take. By the end of 2011, that whisper had become a drumbeat that I could no longer ignore.
For years, I’d wanted to enter humanitarian or development work. Finally, in my early thirties, I had to roll the dice. I was terrified of facing myself in the mirror as an old woman and asking that tortured question, ‘What if?’ So I quit my job, packed up my Sydney apartment, and got on a plane to Jerusalem.
That decision forever changed my life and who I am. I have since lived in Palestine, Pakistan, Belgium, Nepal, Myanmar and New York; and worked for the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, and an Australian charity, The Fred Hollows Foundation. I studied my Masters in International Conflict and Security and visited post-Arab Spring Tunisia for part of my research.