This is my beautiful cat who lives in Sydney. My friend wouldn’t let him come on an adventure with me. He’d hate the Pilbara anyway.

Gemma grew up on the Sunshine Coast in southeast Queensland, where she spent most of her days avoiding the beautiful sunshine and pristine beaches. Instead, she stayed indoors and kept her head buried in an assortment of books and comic strips.

One of her favourite comics was New Zealand’s Footrot Flats – a series about a farmer and his curious, misunderstood dog. It became the source of much of her early childhood education – a fact that made her New Zealand-born Father very proud. Her true-blue Australian Mother, however, was of a more practical nature and expressed concern about the educational quality of the simple comic strip.

Later in life the comic also provided inspiration for unimaginative pet names including Bird for her canary and Pig for her guinea pig. Unfortunately, both animals later died prematurely at the claws of local wildlife – a subject that Footrot Flats neglected to cover in any detail.

Fortunately her primary and high school education was a lot better. Good enough, in fact, to get her into a science degree at the Queensland University of Technology. After a year of studying science, Gemma remembered why she disliked it and concluded that she would pursue a different career. Her timing of reaching this conclusion was impeccable: the day before an important chemistry exam.

Deciding to quit while she was behind, she dropped-out of the science degree and enrolled in a dual degree of journalism and political science at the University of Queensland. Originally holding aspirations of becoming a music journalist and living a life similar to Almost Famous‘ main character William Miller, she started volunteering at her local community radio station 4ZzZ.

Despite wanting to work in the music department, the station’s powerful management team noticed that she was studying journalism and forced her to work in the news department. Although, within a fortnight she was hooked and started spending the majority of her time at the radio station, instead of concentrating on her academic studies.

However, it all worked out in the end. Gemma passed all her subjects and was offered a job as the executive producer of community radio’s flagship current affairs program The Wire. She later had her first taste of the ABC through multiple internships at various ABC radio studios. In July, 2009, she started working at 612 ABC, Brisbane. In early 2011 Gemma was given the opportunity of producing emergency broadcast coverage for the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi in both Toowoomba and Brisbane respectively. At the end of February she moved back to the Sunshine Coast to work at ABC Coast FM. After six months back in her home town, Gemma decided it was time to experience the rest of Australia and have a bit of an adventure, so she moved to the Pilbara in Western Australia, where she has worked at ABC North West ever since. In 2012 the station was named Regional Station of the Year

Living and working in a remote part of Australia has been an eyeopening and wonderful experience but the time has come for her to see what the rest of the world has to offer. In January she will be leaving for a 6 month trek around Central America before settling herself in Europe. 

One day Gemma plans to work as a journalist in Africa. This blog is a place where you can keep up with her adventures, meet some of the interesting people she encounters along the way, and find out if she ever does make it to Africa. It’s like a reality TV show … but better.


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