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Stuck: pets are in limbo due to COVID19 travel bans and Australian quarantine

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6 Reasons Why Being a Woman is Ruining Your Career

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Latest posts

I’m almost happy in Hanoi again… and here’s why

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With the prime minster and National Cabinet introducing caps on the numbers of Australians returning home and a user pays system for mandatory hotel quarantine for returning Australians from mid July, taxpayers may be relieved that they are off the hook for this particular bill. I believe that the government’s argument of it being “fair” and “you’ve had enough time to get home” is flawed — the circumstances of expats are more nuanced and complex than they would have Australians believe, particularly if repatriating beloved pets is involved. My cat (and consequently me) is stuck in limbo in Vietnam because

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I started a PhD in 2008. A year later I quit, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about women, work, and career advancement. It’s about what I see happening again and again in workplaces. Where women overwork in the hope they will have career success. Where women are often chewed up and spat out by the places for which they work. Where women of a certain age can’t get work. Where women have to hide their age on paper to even get a look-in for work. This post is about that, which, coincidentally, was also

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After all the doom and gloom of the last year or so, this is an “I’m happy in Hanoi again” post. It’s taken a Stupid Fucking Virus™ pandemic, lock down and a bicycle to start enjoying this city again. After a long winter, punctuated by brief bursts of warm weather, summer — with all its sweltering heat and horrible humidity and ferocious storms — has finally arrived in Hanoi. I’ve packed away put my winter coats, jackets and jumpers (actually, I’ve posted them to Australia in anticipation of my return) and hung my sleeveless shirts and floaty dresses and baggy

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I first published this letter to civil servants everywhere on 29 January, 2017. In light of recent events — Black Lives Matter and the Stupid Fucking Virus™ — it seems timely to republish it because its more relevant than ever. Dear civil servants everywhere (but especially in America), You have an important job to do. And it is more important than ever. Your job is to speak up and out about things that happen in the government organisations in which you work that you know are not right, or are criminal, or even downright psychopathic. I know that you worry

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Yesterday, I woke up with a familiar feeling gnawing at my insides, and it wasn’t the upset stomach that had appeared out of nowhere (and that I attribute to a veggie burger or onion rings from my favourite burger joint in Hanoi). It’s a feeling I’ve not encountered for a while — at least a few months, even with not being able to exit Vietnam when I’d planned, and subsequently sitting out the soft lock down in Hanoi when I really wanted to get back to Australia. I had plans, dammit — but I digress. It was my old friend

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There is an old Chinese curse that says: may you live in interesting times. That curse should be updated to a 2020 version that says: may you live in unprecedented times. And that’s where we find ourselves, and will for at least the next few months — riding out the coronavirus lockdown shit show. COVID-19, and all that that entails, means that plans are in limbo, on hold. Jobs gone. Freedom severely restricted. Flights grounded and travel limited for the time being. We are washing our hands with an OCD-like repetition, adhering to the social distancing demands of our respective

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When I left Australia for Hanoi, Vietnam, I was in desperate need of a change. I’d lived in the same country for 53 years, the same city for 30 years, and the same house for almost 20 years. I’d been in the public service for almost 10 years, albeit in different roles. My life was routine: running a few times a week, sometimes socially, sometimes not; the odd Friday night drinks with work colleagues; trying and failing to get my publishing and freelance career off the ground. My relationship with my daughter wasn’t the best.

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It’s no secret that 2019 has been one helluva year. I have lurched and free-wheeled from crisis to crisis, never feeling I was on solid ground. I felt like I was either wading through partially set concrete or scanning for shifting sands or watching out for storm clouds brewing on the horizon. My boat of The Self has been hammered by a relentless ocean of awful situations, pelted with rain and hail of always being on high alert. I haven’t been able to come up for air. And. Just. Breathe. In January, I’d been in hospital with my liver failing.

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Confession time. I am going through what Brené Brown calls a midlife unravelling. No, it’s not a midlife crisis. It’s not a mental health collapse, either, although it feels like it. It’s an undoing. An uncontrolled and uncontrollable breakdown of what has been assumed and is assumed. What was certain is not. What seems to be reality is actually a foundation of quicksand. It’s a curious No Man’s Land of stripped back limbo where I’m questioning my decisions, and the preceding groundwork and reality on which I have based those decisions.

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My lovely friend Karen Willis from Sharing Bali and Beyond (I met her when I did a writer’s retreat in Bali a couple of years ago) issued her end-of-year newsletter (you should subscribe because it’s gorgeous and full of inspiration about travel and health and wellness) and something she said struck me.

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Regular readers will know that my relationship with my mother was fraught, to say the least. It was characterised by restriction and control and violence. And fear. An overwhelming fear that I was not safe, would never be safe. And that I was not enough. Would never be enough. Of course, this is was from the perspective of a child but some 50 years later, I still bear the scars — scars that still weep with blood and tears in the right situation, which — usually and invariably — involves a man because attachment.

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There’s something really nice about being on the other side of fifty. You’ve seen it all and done it all (well, maybe not everything, but quite a lot) and you know that you don’t have too much tolerance (or time) for crap… your own or anyone else’s. You know what works for you, and conversely, what doesn’t. And if things fall into the “not working for you” camp, you can say without hesitation and without too much delay, I’m done. There’s a certain freedom that comes from knowing when you’re done, and calling it. It means you can walk away,

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