Travel: Extra Baggage: Flying Internationally with Children

Extra Baggage: Flying Internationally with Children


The first time I flew internationally with my children they were 14 months old and we were relocating from New York to Sydney for my husband’s new job. Since that first trip six years ago, we have flown back to the United States once a year to visit my parents so I’ve become pretty well-seasoned at this traveling with kids thing. It is not to be undertaken by the faint of heart but with some preparation and a sense of humour, traveling the world with your children can actually be very rewarding and worth the effort. Our first trip was the toughest as my son and daughter were at the absolute worst age to fly a child halfway around the globe. Take it from me – toddlers should avoid long-haul flights if at all possible. My son had taken his first steps one day before we flew and all he wanted to do was walk, especially when the “fasten seatbelt” sign was on. Poor kid. We did make it through that incredibly long first international trip and lived to tell the tale.

In the cockpit

Here are my top hints for those of you willing to brave the friendly skies with kids in tow.

  1. Get some sleep! For the week before your trip, be sure that the kids (and their parents) get plenty of sleep. Being well-rested at the start of the journey will help everyone immensely.
  2. Leave early but not too early. There is nothing worse than sprinting through an airport dragging your children behind you to make a flight. There is also nothing worse than having two hours to kill with two wired kids bouncing off the airport walls. Allow yourself enough time to check in with children, use the bathroom, buy water and take a walk to burn off energy. For us, this means arriving at the airport 2 hours before the first flight leaves. Any less and you could run into snags with check-in and security lines. Any more and you could wind up with too much time on your hands before boarding the plane. It is usually not possible to check-in online when travelling internationally with children.
  3. Don’t make layovers too short or too long. See number 2 for why. I suggest a 2-hour layover if possible.
  4. Some airlines will need to take your pram (aka stroller) when you check-in so that they can check it through to your final destination. Check with your airline before you travel about when they will need to take your precious pram and if necessary, arrange for the airline to loan you a pram to get you (and your child, snacks, diapers…..) to the gate.
  5. Pack a few snacks. I like salty and dry things like Saladas, Anzac bikkies and muesli bars. These are all good for upset tummies, both preventing and treating them. They also require lots of chewing which can prevent ears from getting blocked on take-off and landing. If you have an infant with you be sure to feed her during take-off and landing for the same reason.
  6. Pay attention to the liquids in your carry-on baggage. Do not pack more than the required amount of anything in your carry-on or you will be stopped at the security line and possibly have your bag and/or person searched.
  7. Order the kids meals before you travel. They are much more appealing to little ones and they also get served first during mealtime. If I could order the kids’ meal for myself I would but they won’t let me.
  8. For crying out loud (and to avoid crying out loud) let them watch too much television! Make use of those TV screens on the seats in front of you. Qantas has a huge array of popular kids’ TV shows and movies. I also pack a fully-charged iPad and headphones for each child for the flights that do not have on-board screens. The airplane headphones can be too big for most children under 6 or 7. I do not limit screen time AT ALL on long-haul flights.
  9. Do not be afraid to hit the call button for a flight attendant. They are there to help you. They can bring you ginger ale for a little one’s tummy ache, a snack if the meal doesn’t suit one of your kids, an activity pack (which is always a hit with my two)or any number of other items you might need during the flight. I actually had one flight attendant get my son to stop crying on a flight once. He leaned down and looked Edward right in the eye and said quietly, “No crying. Captain’s orders.” Edward stopped crying at once. I would have married this man on the spot if my husband hadn’t been there.
  10. Toddlers are the WORST candidates for international travel. Traveling with someone between one and three years old will not be a joyride but with lots of patience and bribes you can make it work. Bring a surprise gift wrapped up to give your toddler when the flight has taken off (after you’ve had him chew some biscuits during take-off to avoid the earth-shattering scream that his ears hurt). Let him walk as much as he wants when the seatbelt sign is not on. Bring his favourite lovey for falling asleep but do not leave it on the plane when you leave! Fly at night if possible so sleeping will be easier. Remember to breathe deeply and smile often at your fellow passengers
  11. Jet-lagged kids are like monkeys on speed.   When you reach your destination, be prepared for hyper-activity, sleepiness, melt-downs and hunger. Take it as it comes for the first days. Let them sleep when they want and be awake when they want. There really is no point in trying to force their little bodies into the new time zone right away because it won’t work and will only make all of you even more cranky. When we arrive at my parents’ house after about 24 hours of travel, we have a slumber party! My Mom makes us all a sandwich while we shower. Then we have our snack and go get in bed and wait to see what happens. Sometimes we all fall asleep and sometimes we are up for several hours. If we can’t sleep we watch our iPads until we do. Jet-lag usually only lasts a couple of days and the easier you are with yourself and your little ones, the more quickly you will all adjust to the new time zone.

I hope this list will provide some insight into travelling internationally with your children. I could list many more suggestions but the main thing to remember is to be patient with your children and yourself. If you can remember that and your passports, I’m sure you will have a blast.

Amy Compton

Amy Compton is an American actress turned Aussie soccer mom.  After 10 years of performing in New York and touring the U.S, she met a really cute guy with a funny accent.  She now resides in Brisbane, Australia with her husband, two children and a blue-tongued lizard who lives under the veranda.


From marketing strategy to downward facing dog

In 1997, I moved from Brisbane to Sydney to finally work on a consulting project that I was both qualified for and interested in. I had been working for a global consulting company in the “Change Management” division, on a boring SAP implementation project. Only a year before I had finished my Masters Degree, and my thesis topic, which was pretty darn interesting for the time was “The impact of eCommerce on Marketing”.  Having had no luck in getting on a eCommerce project, I finally met Campbell Macpherson at a training session, and figured out that he was the “person to know”. Not long after, I moved to Sydney and jumped on a fun project building the AMP website with Campbell and a great gang of people. I met his wife Jane and baby daughter, but it was not until a couple of years later, when I moved to the UK, and was able to stay with Jane and Campbell at their house, that I got to know Jane.

Fast forward 15 years! Jane is now working as a Yoga teacher, and I asked her to share her story about transitioning from the corporate world. I hope that if you are dreaming of a career change, that this blog helps you realise that anything is possible. Just follow your dreams, and doors will open!



From marketing strategy to downward facing dog

For nearly 20 years I was well and truly in the corporate world – Having completed an Economics and management degree, I steadily worked my way ‘up’ the corporate ladder and held various jobs in various industries – accountancy, advertising and promotional agencies, skipped over to the ‘client side’ to consumer goods industries and worked in banking and finance . I spent most of my twenties and thirties coming up with creative (well I thought so at the time!) ways to persuade our ‘target market’/’customer segment’/ ‘internal and external customer’ to choose a product or service over our competitors. I wrote more PowerPoint slides that were good for me ( or the people reading them), attended and ran numerous ‘away days’ and ‘team building’ exercises, read a plethora of management books, wore some great suits and shoes, met some wonderful people……. and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Until one day in London, at a particularly fraught meeting with some pretty senior banking colleagues, I had what I guess is a ‘road to Damascus’ moment. By now, I was married and had 2 amazing but exhausting toddlers and I was working part time at a major UK bank. Life was full on and I was feeling a little harassed having sorted out some issue concerning my daughter’s friendship issues – why is it that little girls can be so mean to each other? – telling one ‘best friend’ something and then turning her back on her friend when a better more dazzling friend comes along ( or probably in this case a brighter pink Barbie! Watching the little girls working out their relationships to each other, each wanting to make their mark, refusing to listen to the quieter ones, jostling for a better position in the class room/lunch queue/playground, I realised that work was becoming rather similar. I was sitting in a meeting where no one really cared what anyone else was saying, each person more concerned with their own story or issue and not really getting anything done! I started to get more and more cynical about my job and my reason for being there and this was not me – I have always been a positive person (some may say irritatingly so!)

Ok, I’m going to get all yogic on you now – the universe then stepped in. I had been practising yoga on and off for around 20 years and found it an ideal way to help some back pain stemming from a sporting injury and not made any better by childbirth and sitting in too many meetings. But there was more – it helped keep me calmer and able to cope with having a job and a young family ( by the way,’ having it all’ is not all it is supposedly cracked up to be!) So when I had had my Damascus moment, I started to look at whether I could train as a yoga teacher – with the far distant dream of giving up my job and teaching something I loved and believed…yeah right !– how was that going to happen – we had a huge mortgage and my husband was working for himself with all the trials and tribulations of an uncertain income and the stresses of running your own show 24/7. But I needed to do this and so looked and found a teacher training course in South London, enrolled and began studying…..

But then, lovely husband announced he had an exciting offer – a job in deepest Oxfordshire. A great opportunity to raise the kids in an idyllic spot, I could give up my now frankly tedious job – what more could I want?

I was not happy – Yes, I like walking in the countryside, fresh air and rural idyll scenes of my children frolicking with baby lambs – but what was I going to do? I could have still commuted into London but that was expensive, exhausting and I had 2 kids who needed their Mum helping them with a new school, friends, homework. I also of course did not want to continue with the kindergarten executive meetings – but I also couldn’t go to London for my yoga teacher training course. This course was I believed the best course I knew at the time – Up to 3 years of intensive yogic training with an internationally recognised qualification at the end of it. Where was I going to find one of those in the Cotswolds?

coach house Oxleaze

But I did move of course – and rather grumpily drove the kids down one very dark and rainy Friday evening to an equally dark and cold house in Oxfordshire. I was excited about a new home for us all and for my husband’s new job but did a terrible job of hiding my own disappointment ( and some panic) at my own situation. But here’s the universe again…I was reading a yoga magazine that weekend and saw a 2 line ad about yoga teacher training in a village about 15 minutes’ drive from our new home…and here’s the spooky bit – the teacher trainer was none other than the owner of the South London training centre – who had moved recently to the area. I rang her rather nervously (she is a legend in the yoga world) and she agreed to train me herself. That was 12 years ago.


Yoga teaching is the best job in the world. I love it. I get to meet the most amazing people – some of whom humble me, some who challenge me. Some who make me laugh and some who make me cry. All of them teach me something new. And this learning will never stop. 3 years ago I went back to formal study and qualified as yoga therapist working with people in chronic pain – mental and physical. I am in awe of the human spirit in times of intense pain and sadness. I am in awe of these bodies that we have and I despair at how we judge and criticise ourselves rather than accepting and loving ourselves. Yoga teaches me to be entirely present and to enjoy every second life has to offer me. I am so lucky and privileged to do what I do.

Jane Macpherson Yoga Retreat

Yoga Retreat participants

Many people ask me do I not regret following this yogic path earlier given I love it so much and my answer is always no. I loved being in the corporate world – but I knew then as I know now that this was not my true self. My time to be myself came when it was right for me and my family. I was just ready to listen and realise it.

And the best bit….. Not a PowerPoint slide in sight!

Jane Macpherson:

Jane Macpherson Yoga 3

Jane is a senior yoga teacher and a registered member of the International Yoga Alliance (IYA 500 hours). She is also a qualified yoga therapist having completed a 2 year diploma in Yoga Therapy – one of the few recognised courses in the UK to be registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare council (an accredited register by the Professional Standards authority for Health and Social Care)

She teaches classes and workshops in the UK and Abu Dhabi. She also runs yoga retreats in the UK, Greece, Mallorca and India. For details of Janes upcoming yoga events please see her website  Her Facebook page can be found here.

A lifetime of collecting, creates a legacy of memories for future generations.

Today is “Pink Ribbon Day” and in honour of the late Wendy Mattern, and with the permission of her family, I would like to share this interview with you. This article was intended to be published earlier this year, however, due to the complexities of the print publishing world, was not published.

Rob, Bronwyn and Wendy enjoy time together in the formal lounge area, just off the entrance of the house.

Rob, Bronwyn and Wendy enjoy time together in the formal lounge area, just off the entrance of the house.

When Interior decorator Wendy and her husband Rob decided to downsize after their daughters left home, they were looking for a house that would incorporate modern open plan living with the ability to house the grandkids for sleepovers.

Their single level elevated house is located in a quiet cul-de-sac in the western suburbs of Brisbane, and allows enough space for entertaining as well as showcasing the collection of memories from their travels, and careers in Interior Decorating and Styling.

Asian head, a gift from Wendy's dear friend Charles in LA now sits in the entrance foyer of the home.

Asian head, a gift from Wendy’s dear friend Charles in LA now sits in the entrance foyer of the home.

Wendy began collecting miniature containers and other silver boxes, when she was given her Paternal Grandmother’s Hobnail Glass perfume bottle. This she says, “sparked a life long love of all things miniature, including hat pins, “Netsuke” and a collection of “Limoges, which was a gift from my mother”.

Hobnail Glass

Wendy’s hobnail glass and hat pin collection.

Upon entering the combined lounge and dining area you are immediately struck by the careful curation of oriental pieces, seamlessly integrated with charcoal sketches, and family heirlooms.

The formal lounge area of the family house is filled with special memories and antiques collected from around the world.

The formal lounge area of the family house is filled with special memories and antiques collected from around the world.

Wendy, a Brisbane girl and Rob from Pennsylvania met and married in Los Angeles when Wendy was on a working holiday in America. During their time in LA they met Charles Phillips, who assisted clients sourcing special features for movie and television sets. Wendy joined him on some of the forays into interesting haunts in LA. Charles became such a good friend that he even sketched the design of Wendy’s wedding dress. The sketch, however, no longer exists as it was left with the dressmaker.


Wendy and Rob were visiting friends in a little town near Sarlat in the Dordogne region in France when they spotted this plate in an antique market

Ten years and two children later, they returned to live in Brisbane. Charles sent them many hand drawn charcoal sketches as Christmas cards during their life long friendship, and some of these are now framed and hang on the walls.

The antique furniture in the lounge area was collected in Los Angeles and brought with them when they moved to Australia. Wendy’s mother’s hope chest, one of an original three, was sent out from Hong Kong. On it sits a delicate collection of Easter themed miniatures. There is a pair of antique Chinese porcelain lamps of “Kwan Yen”, the Goddess of compassion and mercy beside the chaise.

Faberge Eggs adorn the hand carved antique chest

Faberge Eggs adorn the hand carved antique chest

Many locals of the western suburbs of Brisbane will remember when Wendy and a friend ran the highly successful “Shop 91” at Indooroopilly Shopping Town. “There wasn’t a significant birthday or wedding gift that wasn’t purchased from us in the area”, Wendy laughs. Shop 91 allowed Wendy and Rob to keep in touch with trends in collecting and enjoy continuing to collect themselves.

After this, Wendy began her career as a stylist, preparing homes for sale. Many of her clients loved her so much that when they moved to their new home, they hired her to purchase and decorate and design their new interior. Husband Rob, began the management of the trades people involved in the design and decoration projects.


The kitchen has a server window and over looks the covered entertainment area beside the sparkling in-ground pool.

Bronwyn, Wendy and Rob’s youngest daughter has begun to follow in her mother’s footsteps, launching her styling career on Instagram. “It’s been really interesting listening to mum talk about all her collectables today. You take things that appear in your family home for granted- it’s been wonderful to hear the background stories of so many of the objects, that until now, I have not stopped to think about the significance.”


Bronwyn serves tea in the kitchen for her mother, Wendy who says that tea always tastes better in porcelain cups. Bronwyn relishes the time with her mother.

Bronwyn can be found on Instagram at BRONLOVESDESIGN.

Note from author: Sadly, Wendy Mattern died as a result of secondary Breast Cancer June 5, 2015. It was an honour to have met her, and I will be forever grateful that even when terminally ill, she took the time to tell me about her life, and graciously allowed me to photograph her house.


Good Grief.

good grief


I spend a lot of time helping people cope with grief as a result of death.  Grief is seen as the nasty stuff that accompanies the loss that no one wants; the death of a loved one.

But have you ever thought about good grief? This is the grief that accompanies happy changes in life; like your child graduating from school, or moving to a new job.

Rob Bell introduces the concept in a recent RobCast (episode 24- available on iTunes). I was introduced thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert who interviewed him in a recent Magic Lesson’s podcast.

I am empowered by the concept of good grief. It simply says, that the reason that we feel resistant to change, even happy change, is that we have, if we really take the time to investigate, a sense of loss. So in the case of good change- like your child moving to high school instead of primary school, the loss you feel is real. It’s just not really spoken about. You’ve spent seven years getting to know the school, the teachers, and you’ve developed friends.

But you’re excited that your child is moving on in life and happy about the new adventures that they will have in high school. So why the tears at graduation? It’s your body’s way of reminding you that you feel attached to the school, and the way of life that you have been accustomed to. When you actually acknowledge this, and take the time to grieve (appropriate to the circumstances), then you can move forward with relish.

The same concept can be applied to your new job. Look back at the great times you had, the results you accomplished, the new colleagues you met, and shared both the good times and bad times with. Take a moment to really savour it. Feel the joy, and the sadness. Then exhale deeply.

The future is ahead of you and it’s exciting!



Words of Wanderlust


Words of Wanderlust- on

Words of Wanderlust- on

Today I’m honoured to be featured as a travel writer and photographer on the Words of Wanderlust blog by Au Revoir Travel website. Click here to read my interview with Cherie.

P.S Check out the travel journals whilst you’re there… did I mention I have a birthday coming up in oh, 160 days? If you’re stuck for a gift, a travel pack would be tops, as I’m heading off to Bruny Island in Tasmania…just joking, oh no really, a travel candle would be nice…


The power of transformational travel


Today I’m excited to launch the first of a new series of blogs on transformational travel. Recently I’ve been reflecting about what I want to achieve on this blog. My friend Sarah Duncan of Sarepa asked me to define my intention:

My intention is to inspire you to make conscious choices about your life enabling you to live with purpose and intention. When we live with purpose and intention we colour outside the box, become creative and open our eyes to the wonder of life. By doing this, we live a life that is meaningful to us, we decide how we wish to be of service to the world, and exit with a lasting legacy. 

As a part of achieving this, I will be introducing you to some inspiring people who have either traveled intentionally, or followed their passions to create a career that is meaningful to them. Today, to launch the series on transformational and intentional travel, I’m very excited to introduce to you my wonderful friend Amanda.


Amanda Cassar: Photo by Katische Haberfield

We met last September at the Business Chicks Gwinganna retreat. (You can read about it here) Since then I’ve caught up with a couple of times, including once when I was privileged to be invited in to photograph her home. Since then she’s raised $10,000 and gone on a transformational trip to Uganda to learn how one organisation “The Hunger Project” is empowering people to change their lives.

I asked Amanda if she would reflect on her journey to Uganda and the lessons she learnt. I hope you find it as inspiring as I have.


A transformational trip to Uganda

I had always wanted to travel, for as long as I can remember; starting with learning about exotic faraway places in Social Studies and Geography classes in primary school.

The story of Pompeii fascinated me.  Paris sounded romantic and wonderful.  The United States screamed adventure and Europe oozed history!  So many places to visit!  And such a big world to see!

My parents certainly weren’t globetrotters by any means and my first overseas trip was my honeymoon to Hawaii. This was the first of many marital compromises – I wanted the U.S.A. and he wanted the Islands – with Hawaii, we both got what we wanted.  And although the travel bug was firmly planted, two babies came along quickly and I had a business to grow and houses to build.

We managed a couple of Asian trips and Pacific Island getaways with the family, but it wasn’t until 2009 that my travels began in earnest with a trip to the United States with my sister.  We did Los Angeles, Michigan and New York and I was hooked!


Souvenir in Amanda’s kitchen from her travels to Paris. Photograph: Katische Haberfield

Since then, there’s been lots of travel, with friends, solo and with the family.  Bucket list places have been ticked.  Pompeii is as fascinating as I thought.  Paris is as wonderful as I’d imagined, the States have been full of adventure and Europe did drip history from every cobblestone, museum and church.

More recently China, Malaysia, Bali, Dubai and South Africa have been added to the list of ticks, but it’s one country that had never jumped out and grabbed me, begging to go on my list, that has had the biggest impact on me personally.   Uganda.

I was privileged to apply for and be selected in the Business Chicks Leadership & Immersion Program in May, 2015 to this eastern African nation that straddles the Equator.

My knowledge of Uganda at that stage was limited to, but included a history that involved Idi Amin and human rights abuses, civil war, pictures of malnourished children and the home of some of the last mountain gorillas.  After that, I was pretty clueless.

Our arrival saw us fly in to Entebbe on the edge of Lake Victoria and then drive an hour into the capital city of Kampala.  It was around a 30 hour trip door to door.

The rich red fertile dirt was sprouting with banana tree crops.  Paw paws and jackfruit trees lined the way.  Market stalls were established along the main roads selling ball gowns, bed frames, fruit and mattresses.  Children actually did roll bicycle wheels with sticks along the roadside.  And everywhere, it was busy!

Beautiful dark skins and hair, brightly coloured clothes, big blue African skies and a hive of activity were our entry to this amazing country.  I think every place has its own unique smells and scents.  For me, Uganda is the smell of the dirt, so earthy; and the smoky fires constantly burning… and maybe a dash of armpit…


Photo courtesy of Amanda Cassar

In conjunction to working in with The Hunger Project (THP,) we were shown a side of Uganda that not many tourists ever get to see.  And some of the locals, had never met white visitors before either!  As part of the program, the 16 women attending had to raise a minimum of $10, 000 each for this incredible cause, and we got to see firsthand where the fruits of our labours and those who so kindly donated, were directed.

And then, after a couple of days settling in, being spoiled by international buffets, cute chefs, spa treatments and hotel life, we jumped on a bus and headed southwest for about five hours.  We were finally going to meet the people.


Photograph courtesy of Amanda Cassar

Brass band fanfares welcomed the “Chicks of the Business Kind” when we travelled to the various epicentres set in place by The Hunger Project and the smiles of welcome were genuine and large.  Children and adults alike danced and sang in welcome, local politicians gave speeches for us and the women showed off their handicrafts with pride.  It was very special and completely overwhelming.  A total rock star welcome, and although inspiring, I felt a little undeserving.

We learned how none of the changes wrought in the community would have ever been possible without a complete change of mindset.

Uganda has now had generations of war, murders, hunger and poverty.  The team from The Hunger Project work with local communities and help them to see that change is possible, it can be real and that the people living these lives can overcome these hurdles themselves.  They are the key to ending chronic persistent hunger – and it can and is being done.

Those who had embraced the key pillars of The Hunger Project were living positive, empowered lives, making a difference to their immediate and extended families and to their communities.  Functional adult literacy classes meant parents could now proudly sign documents.  Children had clothes, school uniforms and shoes.  Parents were taught to save and apply for small loans to improve their lot through rural banks or SACCO (Savings and Credit Co-Operatives.)  Nutrition lessons are provided, best agriculture practices taught and health centres are available for AIDS testing, midwives and nurses were on hand, baby weighing is done and consultations are accessible.  Husbands bragged about their empowered wives who were now partners with them, instead of just another mouth to feed.


Photograph courtesy of Amanda Cassar

But that’s not all we saw.  There’s those who are too proud to change their ways and learn something new.  There’s some too ashamed to admit their ignorance.  There’s those who live too far from an epicentre to get there for education and there’s those, who just don’t want to know.

And for them, the despair is still there, and it’s real.  Their children still sport the large swollen bellies we recognise from years of relief organisation campaigns.  They have thin, frail limbs, lightened hair, sores, runny noses and go to bed hungry.

And then we became frustrated and angry.  It was a hard road to travel.

Why couldn’t we help the people who we’d met and had impacted on our lives?  Those who’d invited us into their modest homes and shared their stories with us.

Why couldn’t I directly give Eveline some money to send her children to school?  Eveline’s husband abandoned the family when their third child was 9 months old, selling everything including the mattress before leaving and never returning.  She has terrible allergies and syphilis and earns around $1 per day tending the fields of others for up to 8 hours.  She stays up all night to brew a local form of alcohol to supplement her income.  She can’t afford school supplies, let alone her medicine… And the unfairness drove me crazy.  I had two months’ wages for her in my purse floating around as spare change.  I just didn’t get it… yet.

Eveline waving at Amanda.

Eveline waving at Amanda.

Photo courtesy Amanda Cassar

Photo courtesy Amanda Cassar

I shared my concerns and upset with my fellow travellers and the local Hunger Project staffers, and their confidence and determination were refreshing.  At present, they impact around 1-2% of the population, but to those thousands, they’re having an enormous effect.

Word is spreading and more want to become involved.  I needed to get over myself and my ambitious desire to ‘save them all’ and now.

I’d never been so confronted and felt so useless, yet learned so much.

The resilience of those who had turned their lives around through a simple change in mindset shone in their beautiful smiles.  I do have the trust that there are a lot of good people doing their absolute best to assist their fellow countrymen who can make the best decisions about where the investor dollars flow.  Handouts cannot achieve this.  They need to have a vision of what the future can look like, commit to that, and learn how to act to make it a reality.

I know now, that I can spread the word of the great work that this charity does in giving a ‘Hand Up’ rather than a ‘Hand Out.’

My business allows me the freedom to travel, to be able to gift time and money to devote to the things that are important to me.

The lessons learnt in rural Uganda have impacted me deeply.  Most trips I’ve been on before have been ‘transactional’ rather than ‘transformational.’  I went there, took the pics and bought the T-shirt.  Great memories.  Uganda provided great impact.

I can no longer ask ‘I wonder what the poor people are doing?’  I know.  I’ve been there.  I’ve sat in their dirt, windowless homes on the mud floors and heard their stories.  This in turn has provided a clarity.


Photograph courtesy of Amanda Cassar

I’ve always enjoyed what I do.  As a financial adviser I get to also impact people’s lives for the better.  When things go pear-shaped, I’ve set up protection strategies that can assist financially.  I can make that holiday a reality.  I can assist in making retirement a better place.  How cool is that!?

I’ve also joined the Qld Development Board of the Hunger Project and can be part of a charitable form of giving that I know has an end in mind.  THP aim to end world hunger by 2030.  (And I thought I was ambitious!)

Now, being able to give back and contribute in a meaningful way gives me a greater and enhanced enjoyment for what I do.  Perspective is a beautiful and ever changing thing.  I’m very grateful that I haven’t needed to lose a limb, be in a tragic accident, survive horrific circumstances or test my endurance beyond what’s considered humanly possible to have the deep gratitude for the many experiences that I’ve been so privileged to be part of.

If you ever get to be a part of something like this, please put your hand up and jump in feet first.  Think about the logistics later.  You’ll take away so much more than you ever could have given.


Photograph courtesy of Amanda Cassar

To find out more about Amanda’s trip, and how you could be involved with the Hunger Project,  you can contact Amanda at or via the following details below.


T: 07 5593 0855 M: 0410 455 158

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