Around this time of year, 12 years ago, when my seventeen year old Canberran Catholic school self was supposed to be studying for her Year 12 exams, she wrote this in her deadjournal:


I could do so well and get so far and get brilliant marks and academic awards and I could even get into law but I’m wasting it,

wasting it expressing my feelings on the internet,

wasting it talking on msn,

on long distance phone calls,

on missing busses

on counselling friends and being counselled in the library, the toilets, the quad, the canteen line, the internet, the phone,

on shopping sprees,

on grass seed fights,

on going into Civic with mates,

on catching up with old and new friends,

on socialising, on going out,

on dreaming,

on planning,

on thinking,

on churning out crappy poetry,

on discovering things about me, about other people, about the fucking world,

wasting it on the Year 11 Drama class I’m directing and costume shopping for red fish net stockings.


Next year I’ll work for a year, choreograph Gangshow then fuck off to Bathurst to learn, then I’ll fuck off around the world.

I’ll fuck off to check out the art and the architecture and the history and incredible culture of Italy, then follow in the footsteps of my parents and teach in Africa. Then I’ll ride an elephant in Nepal and ride on top of a train in Tibet. Then in the untouched rainforests of Irian Jaya I’ll meet isolated mountain tribes. Then I’ll go to fucking Antartica like I’ve always wanted, sail a cruise boat or even a small research driven tiny boat, I don’t care, I just want to visit the whiteness, the emptiness, the ongoingness and neverendingness of it, I just to see some emperor penguins standing proudly and some little baby grey penguins sliding around.

Then I’ll go back to Lady Musgrave Island to snorkel and scuba dive and rediscover the whole other world that exists beneath the waves and to laze on the beach and watch beautiful sunset after stunning sunrise. I’ll watch the seasons change, the turtles come in to mate, the whales migrate, the dolphins play and the albatross glide. I’ll watch the turtle eggs hatching – all those tiny little helpless life forms struggling towards the sea. I’ll write my name in the phosphorescence in the sand where it can glow all night.

Then back to the centre. I’ll drive the two and a half weeks up to Alice Springs with no air conditioning in the car, sleeping under the stars in a sleeping bag on the side of the road and staying in dodgy caravan parks, stopping at towns here and there.

Then maybe along to Perth and visit my Great Aunt who gets so excited when we call each Christmas and dive all the great wrecks they have along the coast.

Then go to Darwin, just to see what its like, to get used to the sweat and flies and dust, to get accustomed to seeing nothing day after day but red sand and blue sky and a thousand stars at night that no one in the city ever dreamed of.

Then to Melbourne to shop it up and stay and have a funky time with my friends for a while in their share house.


Back in time for Gangshow, back in time for all my Year 11 students 18th birthday piss ups, back in time for Christmas with the family at Gran’s house then Boxing Day at my Godmothers with the cousins down from Sydney, back in time to be amazed by what cool job they have this year.

Back in time for all the festivals and concerts.

Back in time to still be welcomed at my family home for dinner and a hot shower.

Back in time to visit all the friends I’d make and the people I’d remember along the way.

Back in time to go to all the homes I’d create around the planet.

Back in time for people to forget most of me, but remember enough of me to want to catch up when I shoot through their town.


Just drive and keep on going. Just jump on a plane and keep on flying. Just step out the door and keep on walking.

Every day would be new and exciting and every day I’d learn something, and I’d want to keep on learning new things, to never stop learning and wondering. Each day I’d come up with so many more questions that I’d ask people and find out.

Each day I’d meet new people and talk to them and be introduced to a whole new perspective. Some days I might get hurt by some people, but I’d only learn from it and just keep on going.

I’d have so many stories and so many interesting and exciting adventures to share with other people like me out there, and they’d tell me their stories.

Just get out, but never go far enough to let go of anything, or forget to hold on to something.

Get far enough away, but never get far enough to get out of reach.



friendly beach tasmania


8 thoughts on “Seventeen

  1. Crazy that you posted this because I just was thinking about how I felt when I was in college and had this insane desire to travel. Back when I had thoughts just as these, when I viewed the world as this beautiful, wild place…. and how good it felt to finally reach that point and take off to see it all. Oh, how I hope to be that positive about life again one day. I hope you were able to live out some of your teenage dreams. I really love this post, in case you couldn’t tell.

    • Thanks Alex! The young people I work with have that similar desire to experience full independence – that first time when you realise you can go anywhere at any time and eat anything you want!

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