Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Big Trips

I don't tend to take short breaks. Part of it is that I can't turn my work-brain off in a week and part is that if you're going to leave Australia then you better make it count. (And with the flight times, you really want to make it count. Twenty plus hours is a long time.)

In 2010 I went to live (and teach) in Japan. But in one of my breaks I went to the Big Apple for the first time. I met the lovely Gayle Forman for the first (but not last) time as well as the awesome Beth Fantasky, Michelle Zink, Elizabeth Scott, Melissa Walker and Lisa Sandell. It was a blogger's dream come true. And I got to meet Mitali and Steph in the flesh - awesome bloggers, smart ladies and generous hearts. More importantly, it was this trip (at the Penguin HQ) where I realised that I wanted to work in books instead of teaching.

And then this happened...

In 2011 I moved to Melbourne for my role as Program Coordinator at the Centre for Youth Literature (and stopped blogging consistently). Needless to say that moving to a new city, learning a new role and making a new life was enough excitement for the year.

At the end of 2012 I presented at my first (and only so far) conference in St Louis. Attending the YALSA YA Lit Symposium was amazing and speaking about emerging Australian YA talent was even more incredible. In fact I am still in touch (Twitter, I love thee) with a number of lovely ladies I met on this trip.  Even better I got to make an online friend an even strong IRL friend in fellow former blogger, Capillya. This trip also involved seeing New Orleans in the week Obama was re-elected, meeting talented US writers at YALLfest and visiting as many studios as possible in LA.

In 2013 I went to Europe for my first time with my little brother. Paris romanced me, Singapore made me swelter, London terrified me (heat wave omg) and Scotland won my heart forever. Of course, me being me, books were on the table with the Edinburgh Book Festival. I saw Sally Gardiner in action and guess who came to Reading Matters this year? Coincidence, I think not.

OMG the FNL memories
Last year I returned to the US where I experienced BEA for the first time. BEA gets a lot of hype and to be honest, it's not all that deserved. But I did get to meet the lovelies started blogging with so many years ago. And each and every one of them is exactly how they present themselves. I find this to be largely true of the YA bloggerdom and I love them all the more for it. I also visited Austin for a dose of ForeverYA (I could not love or admire these ladies more) and the smashing ATX Festival (TV junkies this is your jam) and more LA. I really don't love LA, I keep has yet to convince me it's a tolerable place.

This year I was disorganised. I left three weeks after a major project wound down (Reading Matters -  which was awesome) and I had basically chosen a few European countries to visit. There was no rationale for hitting Berlin, Amsterdam, London or Dublin but I loved it anyway.  Below are some pictures from my travels this year including the Young Adult Literature Convention which saw out my month long trip.  I can't ever seem to travel without a YA related stop. (You can hit up my Instagram if you're curious to see more.)

Currently I am dreaming up the next adventure. I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have the opportunities to travel and learn. I have no plans on stopping anytime soon. I didn't get my passport until I was 28 and in some ways I still feel like I am making up for lost time.

Next stop? I am currently thinking of US 2016 with an eye of attending a couple of work related conferences specifically LA Times Festival of Books, RT Booklovers and Texas Library Association (I fell in love with them all in St Louis.) However, I am very open to ideas...what is your favourite place to visit?

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