A couple of months ago Expat Blog contacted me, asking to feature this blog as 'Blog of The Month' on their site. What a surprise. So here is an excerpt of the interview and you can read the full interview over at their site. For anyone who's ever wished to live abroad, and hankers after new shores, and wonders how on earth one would go about working in Peru or Portugal or even Ghana, check out the blogs there.
'I’m Gayle, which is a brilliant traveling name. It can sound like ‘frog’ or ‘vomit’ in Japanese or ‘girl’ in Ghanaian English. I was born and grew up in Sydney, Australia.
Where are you living now? Have you been there for a while? How long
do you plan to stay?
I’m living in the Upper East Region of Ghana, West Africa. I spent two years in Cape Coast/Elmina and four months in Kumasi. I’ve been in Bolgatanga since February. And I spent almost one year in Cambodia for work too. Eventually, my Ghanaian partner and I would like to establish a centre up here focusing on domestic violence and communication, with some kind of income generating element. There are no social services and there is very little access to helpful skills or information. If there was less violence, perhaps people could concentrate their energy into putting more food on the table at the end of the day. I know it’s a chicken and egg argument though and after discussing it in depth with various individuals around this area over the last few months, we feel that we can make the best contribution to what is
really needed this way.
Have you ever lived abroad before?
I lived in Japan for a year when I was seventeen as an exchange student. I absolutely loved it. I studied Japanese throughout high school and uni, but my language is rusty these days.
How many countries have you visited?
NZ, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, India, Japan, China, USA, United Arab Emirates, England, Italy, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Ghana. The Philippines was like the Ghana of Asia to me—so friendly and fun. All of South East Asia was interesting, but I really want to see more of Africa and India.
When did you decide to go and live abroad? Is it your first time or are you a "serial expat"? Why did you choose to live in Ghana?
I discovered I could get a British Ancestry visa and planned to work in England. And then, late 2004, the tsunami hit and I decided to volunteer in Indonesia, which led me ultimately, and quite surprisingly, to Ghana for 6 months. Just before I left Dad said there’s no shame if I don’t like Africa and I want to come home. I was secretly relieved because I thought I might not cope! In my last week at work in Sydney a colleague who’d spent time in Zambia said something like, ‘the Africa bug will get to you, you will always want to return to Africa.’ I remember thinking, yeah right. Famous last thoughts.'