Growing up, I was a typical suburban kid. My passion was netball and I spent as much time as possible outside throwing a ball at the brick wall in our garden. After leaving technical college, my first job was in advertising — during the 1980s (think shoulder pads, big hair and liquid lunches) — and I even gave modelling a go. Sensing there was more to life, I worked three jobs to save for a travelling adventure. Telling my mother I would be away for three months, I set off — returning six years later with a two year old.

Just a simple girl from a simple world

I once read a book that suggested we actually ‘pick' our parents. If that's the case, I picked the quintessential ‘Aussie Mum and Dad'. Mum stayed home and Dad made the bacon. Dad worked for Fibremakers, a carpet-making company, in a middle management position. His aim was to move up the corporate ladder during the week and enjoy his time off on the weekends.

I'm the youngest of their four kids, born in Knoxfield, about 30 kilometres east of the Melbourne CBD. Back in the 1970s, the suburb was semirural. Our home was a tiny green weatherboard house — only 10 squares — but it was set on a quarter-acre block of land that had previously been an orchard. It was full of fruit trees, with an abundance of fruit every year (which could have something to do with my brother needing to manually pump the septic tank every day). Uhmm … perhaps the love of fruit started here? We were outside children by ...

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