Friday, July 24, 2015

Bio: a little about me

I've been interested in both cataclysmic disaster and preparedness since I was little. Growing up, my family moved extensively. My fathers work (petroleum geology) moved us from well-site, to well-site, and I had never lived in any given country for longer than 3 years until I was 16. Being a full time expatriate and part time nomad, and living in Texas and Colorado in the US, Surrey in the UK, Gabon in west Africa, Dubai in the UAE, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia and Alberta in Canada, as well as holidaying through Europe, Africa, South East Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East I have been exposed to not only a variety of cultures, but also conditions and experiences.

"Pack what you can carry" and "eat like a local" were two of the early travel and lifestyle choices that were instilled in me.

I remember living in the UK when both the IRA bombings were a frequent specter, as well as the Faulklands War, exciting in the UK in the way only 6 year olds truly appreciate. I picked up my first "survival guide" in "How to Survive" whilst at school there. I also received my first large Swiss Army Knife. 

Long distance travel, the tail end of the Cold War, as well as airplane hijackings and bombings as well as my fathers (whispered) Vietnam War experiences gave my dual citizenship (US/Aus) more meaning. Is was probably brought into further focus when whilst living in the pre-Gulf War Dubai, when Iraq invaded Kuwait whilst I was on holidays, in both the US and UK, and I couldn't "go home".

Even when we did, in the build-up of "Desert Shield" I was shown how to drive the newly acquired 4wd, we stocked up on supplies and had a go-bad, and my parents told me "if it goes bad, take your [10 year old] sister, and drive to Oman". I was 14. That puts a slant on your world views, I can tell you.

Eventually, we were sent to Calgary, New Year's Eve, and I watched "Desert Shield" become "Desert Storm" on CNN in -45C. Outdoor-Ed in Junior High was again an eye opening and awakening moment in preparedness, that never left me: I'd now lived in jungles, deserts, sub-zero conditions and some of the biggest cities in the world, as well as some crappy places too.

I followed my roleplaying through tabletop classics, miniature gaming, LRP in both fantasy and MilSim as well as my university and workplace career in microbiology and hospital science, then into hospital IT and project management.

I took up kendo whilst at university, and have achieved a respectable grade (3rd Dan) and competed at club, state and national levels. I've supplemented this with smatterings of other arts when my friends and I have pooled knowledge. I've climbed, taken up kayaking, and camp as often as family logistics will allow. I run to stay fit and build my endurance, and walk, take the stairs and carry my burdens in a pack to condition myself.


Earthquakes, forest and grass fires, floods, hurricanes, cyclones, civil unrest, international travel, blizzards,  lions, oh my. I've come to see preparedness as a lifestyle. Whether it is getting my family out of a full blown disaster, or helping someone fix their umbrella in the rain, I have striven to be Equipped, for any encounter.

I live in Melbourne, Australia, where the infrastructure of government is sound, and the legislature is relaxed. It's very pleasant and moderate here. We have a very functional social support system, including healthcare, and very little violent crime. I've lived in some places where these were not the case. I don't have any particular fears for the future, but if something comes, I hope to be ready to face it.

I've really enjoyed being asked to write first for KitUp!, then later on RecoilWeb and most prolifically for Breach Bang & Clear. It's been a real privilege. 

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