Home on land and in water

Growing up in the UK, I always had a fascination with Australia and hoped maybe one day I might visit.

Being completely sports mad I definitely knew deep down that Australia was my sort of place with my sort of people.

I grew up in Norwich, a small city surrounded by farmland and fens.

It is the city that everyone else in the country makes fun of...a bit backwards, behind the times and inbred!

I could not wait to get out of there and do something completely different to my friends.

Not knowing what I wanted to do professionally, I decided against going to university and joined the Royal Air Force.

It was a way of getting a job and moving out of home in one quick step.

Why the air force? Well, the recruitment office for the army was a further walk from school, that's about it!

So off I went at 19 to join this big, authoritarian, outdated organisation and I soon realised it was not this glamorous 'Top Gun' (navy, I know that now!) lifestyle. But, it did get me back into swimming and I have never looked back.

I joined the swimming team straight out of basic training and three years later became the RAF Ladies Captain, representing the RAF all over Europe.

Swimming tours to Germany, Belgium, the Channel Islands and all over the UK followed. Then reality set in, I was off to Bosnia for peacekeeping duties.

A place where you would wake up and the place is covered in snow, only to be 30 degrees by lunchtime!

Confined to the base most of the time I relished the opportunities to get out and explore the country.

Two people per army jeep you are given the option, drive or be the shooter....keys please!

Being in the RAF was an eye opening experience but with swimming injuries piling up and realising that my actual job as an intelligence analyst was incredibly boring (and I might actually have to do it if I could not swim), I put in my papers and left to travel the world.

I started off in India, wow, what an absolute shock to the system!

I had definitely put India in the 'an experience' category rather than a holiday destination, but I survived and travelled all the way from Vietnam down to Indonesia and then to Perth.

Long and short of it, I never left. I still have (although probably not valid 13 years later) my around the world ticket back to London.

I bought a campervan and travelled up to work at Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef taking tourists diving.

It was in the Exmouth Fire Station where I learned all about AFL and my found my love of Geelong Football Club. Well, you can hardly blame me I had no idea what was going on...and neither did Port Adelaide by the look of it, getting absolutely annihilated in the 2006 Grand Final.

I remember the guy sitting next to me explaining the game and I asked him; "How did this Port Adelaide team get into the final?" "No idea!" was his answer!

I drove from Exmouth, anti-clockwise to Noosa, exploring everything in my path and fell in love with Adelaide.

South Australia was where I was meant to be, the relaxed atmosphere and chilled out living really appealed to me.

I worked my way through TAFE and then university studying environmental management.

Once I graduated, I got a job on the EP and met my husband Dyson.

We now have a complete family with a daughter Tarni, son Teddy and dog Patchy, who all get dragged to swimming training and competitions around the state.

Swimming is just one big family and I am lucky, that I have such a large, loving one with the West Coast Swimming Team.