I am a 39 yr old Journailst/Writer who lived in New Delhi, India from 1979 - 1981 and Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, from 1982 - 1985. From 1991 through to January 1995 I served in the Royal Australian Navy as a Junior Sailor, working in Hydraulics and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence. I served on two Decommisioning Destroyer Escorts and travelled througout Australia and Asia. It was an interesting persepective from which to view the world.
During my time at sea I read widely and often, leading me to Honourably Discharge after my four year service and I then spent 1995 travelling throughout Eastern and Western Europe. Eastern Europe was an eye opener, to say the least, particularly Romania, which I clearly remember still had security towers mounted througout the cities. You could literally taste the sadness within the place.
I also remember Budapest as a beautiful place that seemed melancholy mostly because of an entire lack of advertising. No billboards, no neon lights, just beautiful, stand-alone architecture, without the hype or spin that was already working its dubious magic on Prague.
I moved back to Tasmania in January 1996 and attended University, studying for a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in English Literature and History, with a minor in Philosophy. In January 1997 I was part of the first Uni of Tas Study Trip to study at a Tibetan in Exile University in Sarnath, India, approximately 30 minutes from the holy Hindu city of Varanasi. I studied the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and also hermenuetics and Tibetan History, all of which was delivered in a manner remarkably bereft of sentimentality.
I am very, very interested in Democracy and Governance, the cut and thrust of International Relations and Communications Strategies which engage with both. I clearly remember being taught at the US Embassy school in New Delhi by an Australian Expat who had been teaching at the US Embassy in Tehran at the time of the Revolution, and sitting up late at night listening to adults discuss politics - Australian and Indian - with an urgency that is mostly lacking when living in the West. My best friend at this time, a young boy named Kadima, had also been in Tehran during the buildup to the storming of the US Embassy. His father's friend, a Kenyan Diplomat, had been mistaken for an American and murdered.
So politics for me is a living, breathing organism. There is no way I can see it as anything else. It is no effort to see how grand scale, "Great Game" strategies inform the daily lives of communities and individuals, because this is something that I have directly experienced.