Two weeks into my month in Madagascar I headed south. With Madagascan roads as they were in 1994 and an average speed of 25 kph, the 150 kilometres between Ambositra and Fianarantsoa was no short trip. After breakfast my trekking companions and I, keen to get on our way, we…

East of Africa lies a large tear shaped island, Madagascar which in the 90’s was one of the last frontiers for the hard-core traveler. Setting off on yet another solo journey of discovery with my trusty Lonely Planet Guide purchased in London 2 years earlier, I landed largely uninformed just…

Late January 1963. While the summer crowds were soon to head back to Melbourne for the February commencement of the school year, Marie, Rocky and their nearly 3 year old daughter Helen continued to enjoy the dry heat of the Mornington Peninsula, a heat tempered by afternoon sea breezes off…

Part 1

‘Studley’, our holiday home, stood at the end of a long sandy coloured gravel driveway that stretched from black wrought iron gates to a dark dingy asbestos garage at the rear. Amidst ti- tree scrub and a carpet of neatly trimmed buffalo grass this fibro-cement beach shack, painted…

What day is it?

Eleven weeks later. Nearly three months back home. Other than my belongings allocated to their rightful place nothing is the same. Six months ago I considered that fast paced Melbourne no longer felt like home. …

Less than 24 hour back in Australia the whole ‘COVID 19 thing’ still seemed somewhat abstract. We disembarked the sparse Virgin flight where attendants confidently strode masses down the aisle into the normally buzzing halls of Melbourne airport which ghostly silent. Scrambling to retrieve credit cards, pay for trolleys, we…

When on the 16th of March, a Monday, our Australian volunteer organisation announced the worldwide repatriation of all 1000 volunteers, my first thought was, ‘ah, so this what they were talking about Gemma’. The ‘if you even go’ and my ‘what next’ . When weeks earlier I said to friends…

Part 1

Just a few weeks before jetting off to Tonga, walking along Carlisle Street with my friends Gemma and Carole, we chat about the year ahead. We are a pretty intuitive bunch. I’d rate myself as having progressed to about an undergrad level over the years, Carole is definitely…

It is amazing how adaptable we can be. One month in and a sense of place, a sense of routine (in a positive way) have settled over me. The small size of the Nuku’alofa and the inclusive small group of pa’langi have contributed and now each week is punctuated with…

Coming to Tonga with the Australian volunteer service has its pluses. More than 1000 Aussies a year head to the Pacific, Asia and southern Africa and the pre departure training held in Melbourne offered an opportunity to meet some of the group deployed to Tonga for the year ahead and…

Lisa Dyer

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