Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving


Hello and welcome to my blog. Here’s a little bit of information about me: I was born in 1977; I studied Geology and Chemistry at university and completed a PhD in Geochemistry in 2003. Since then I’ve worked as a research scientist and project manager. I love my job and I get to use and extend my scientific knowledge daily. I grew up in an alternative setting and I maintain many of those principles now. I married my high school best friend and we have two children, born 2007 (girl) and 2009 (boy). I took time off work for each child and I continue to work part-time to enjoy spending time with them. From 2015 to 2017 we lived in Trondheim, Norway while I was on an expat assignment.

I blog anonymously for a couple of reasons, one is to remove ego from the process as much as possible (so no photos of me or style tips from me!), also I have a client facing role with about 500 personal contacts on LinkedIn and I don’t want them to read my thoughts on my blog! Finally, I travel to countries that aren’t always kind to bloggers, so there’s a bit of self preservation in there too.

I eat a mostly grain-free and sugar-free diet and I exercised regularly including hiking, yoga, swimming, team sports, and gym classes. I love being outdoors; hiking (e.g. Mount Tennent, Bymarka), camping (e.g. Wombeyan Caves and Blue Mountains), birdwatching, geologising, and I had a nice garden in Canberra, Australia.

I am committed to the principles of intentional consumption and we as a family attempt to minimise our purchases by either doing without, borrowing/trading, buying secondhand, or if we have to buy then buying ethical, environmentally conscious products. I don’t have a TV or read or listen to mainstream news but I like to watch TED talks from time-to-time, read the Economist and listen to podcasts like In Our Time and BBC World Service. I also love to read and over a wide range of material from travel to popular history, science and philosophy, to fiction, especially more challenging fiction, and I started a book group.

I believe in giving and as part of that I donate part of my salary to 3 cost-efficient charities, until I moved to Trondheim I donated time to my favourite charity (Room to Read). Education is very important to me! Most of all I love good conversation. Those of you with young children will understand when I say that I crave uninterrupted conversation.

I love to travel! I’ve travelled so far to about 36 countries scattered throughout Asia, the Americas, the Middle East and Europe (NZ, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Oman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, England, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador, USA). I travel internationally for pleasure with my family (e.g. Malaysia & Indonesia in 2013/4, Japan in 2014, Norway and Sweden), for work (e.g. BahrainSpainColombiaKuwaitEcuador, USA), and with Room to Read (e.g. Nepal in 2012). I love to sample different cuisines, try to speak different languages (I’ve studied German and Spanish extensively and beginner Arabic and I picked up beginner level Norwegian but I can also speak a little French, Italian, Polish and Indonesian), to connect with people, see amazing natural beauty and explore different cultures.

My motivations for blogging are: to share my travel experiences, to express myself, to share my musings and ideas in the context of the books that I read, to compensate for insufficient time for good quality conversation, to express my discontent with the terrible Australian policies towards asylum seekers and hopefully to influence others to think about some of the concepts and ideas that I discuss.

Here’s a map of the places that I have visited so far

Places I have visited so far…
Make yours @
Make yours @

14 comments on “About

  1. tinyexpats
    September 22, 2015

    Wow! You’re leading such an inspirational life! So many parts of it that I admire – charity, healthy lifestyle, travelling, doing what you love. Would love to follow your journey on this blog!

    • strivetoengage
      September 22, 2015

      What a sweet comment! I enjoyed reading about your journey through life too!

  2. Sartenada
    March 25, 2016

    Languages are fantastic. They offer an eye to country’s life. Happy blogging!

  3. johnwreford
    October 17, 2016

    I love your blog well done really, such a great philosophy.
    Thank you so much for dropping by and following mine 🙂 much appreciated.

    • strivetoengage
      October 18, 2016

      Many thanks for the kind words. It usually feels like I’m blogging in a vacuum so it’s nice to receive a supportive comment.
      I love your blog! Are you still living in Damascus?

  4. Abinotronix
    March 30, 2017

    Hey ! It’s great that you have visited soo many countries!
    I hope you are soon visiting India! I bet, It will fascinate you like no other country did.

    • strivetoengage
      March 30, 2017

      Hi! Thanks for following my blog. Travel can certainly be interesting. We live in Europe now and we’ve made some trips while here but we are starting to return to places we’ve enjoyed in the past rather than run around visiting the countries in Europe that we haven’t been to.

      Simply reading about India fascinates me so I’m sure that I could spend months exploring India and still feel that I don’t know anything! I had great experiences in Nepal and I really would like to go to India one day.

  5. Jules & Verne
    August 14, 2017

    I second the decision to blog anonymously! We do it for orne of the reasons you pointed out – keeping personal and professional lives separate – and it has worked like a charm. The freedom of having several online identities is perhaps the modern equivalent of writing under different pseudonyms 🙂 -Verne

    • strivetoengage
      August 14, 2017

      I wish that I had been clever enough to create a pseudonym like you did! My blog already reads as much more impersonal than yours but that’s also because I lack your warmth and vivacity in writing style.

      I was asked by one reader who alleged I was a coward for blogging anonymously.

      • Jules & Verne
        August 14, 2017

        An Australian that moved to Norway, traveled the world, worked with charities, loves to read and lives a healthy lifestyle? We need more cowards then 🙂

      • strivetoengage
        August 15, 2017

        Gosh. Thank you!

  6. TheRamblingWombat
    January 19, 2019

    Great to come across you blog. I look forward to exploring it in more detail especially your walks.

    • strivetoengage
      January 21, 2019

      Thanks! I’m hoping to start walking every week again after the school holidays. I’ve missed the Canberra bush after 2 Years in Europe.

      I enjoyed the satire in your post!

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