If childfree by-choice, what was your biggest influence?
I was never really that fussed on the idea of children, but imagined that would change once I met my husband when we were both teaching in Japan in the early 1990’s.
After almost ten years of marriage and in my early 30’s, I started to worry about the so-called biological clock (I hadn’t heard anything from it; I just thought I should start worrying around that time, so I did). I was sitting quietly at home one day, working on something, and I had the clearest thought pass through my head: “No one can make you have kids if you don’t want to. Just stop worrying and start living your life.” You could call it my come-to-Jesus moment. I haven’t looked back.
Do you have any pets?
We have a staffy/greyhound called Pace (“his name’s a mission statement” 🙂 ) and a cat called Drake.
What was your first job?
I had two: 1) Doing laundry at a local motel on Saturday mornings and 2) delivering flyers with my Mum and little sister (we’d use her pram as our delivery van)
What is your occupation now?
Senior Lecturer: Media, Film, and Communications. I’m also working on my 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training certification. I’d like to move more into working from home on blogging/writing, teaching yoga, and editorial work.
What is a typical day like for you?
Wish I lived somewhere sunnier (make a resolution to work on that post-Covid and the current housing market madness).
Do yoga. Drink coffee.
Prep for university responsibilities. Do those. Some are great (teaching and advising students; writing), some suck (anything mandated by the university adminis-phere).
Exercise. Walk with our dog, Pace. Read. Hang out with my husband, Pete. Watch movies. Read. Sleep.
Repeat. (On the weekend, we make pancakes).
Do you enjoy any hobbies?
YES! I love stand-up paddling, yoga, reading copious books, watching movies, walking, swimming, travel, visiting campuses (around the world, when that’s possible), learning about the tiny house movement–and I bake a mean brownie.
Do you have a special talent or skill?
I can read really, really fast (although I never learned to formally speed-read).
If you could master a new skill instantly, what would you like to learn to do?
Become a glider pilot and fly the length of Aotearoa, which is roughly equal to flying the length of the USA. (it is possible to fly that far in a glider, but not many people have done it 🙂 )
What’s an interesting fact about you?
My husband and I lived in a cabin with no running water and an outhouse in Fairbanks, Alaska, for almost two years while he was studying at the university there.
The temps there ranged from 95F down to -65F each year. We hauled water from a town supply (which charged 7¢ per gallon) to use for all our kitchen needs and then threw the gray water into the snowbanks.
We went to the university to use the gym and shower. Also: there is no smell in an arctic outhouse, but you also have to sit on closed-cell foam or you will stick to the toilet seat permanently.
I am still traumatized about living in Alaska, but I also still like to use the experience now to boast about how I am way more hardcore than I look.
Do you have any “stupid human” tricks?
I have never been able to learn to whistle. I still can’t.
Are there any accomplishments you want to brag about? (Don’t be modest, we want to know!)
I have landed a glider plane!
I did a week-long course on learning to glide; I couldn’t quite get the hang of the taking-off part–in what is essentially a non-powered craft being towed by a small plane and which can crash and kill you at any point between leaving the ground and dropping the towline once you’ve leveled out in the air. Hence I am not a glider pilot. Yet.
What do you enjoy most about the childfree lifestyle?
Freedom, freedom, freedom. To be who I really am.
The fact that my husband and I respect each other as two equal human beings that happen to like being in a marriage together. For over a quarter century.
Give us your Top Three recommendations for travel destinations that you have visited?
Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands (Most. Beautiful. Island. In. The. World.)
Slovenia (warm welcomes, great coffee, trains arrive on time, unfairly overlooked when it should be on all the Top 10 travel lists)
Just traveling internationally, anywhere. As a verb. Just get out there (after Covid) and do it. Do it again if you’ve done it already. And START if you haven’t. I have visited 48 countries so far and am aiming for many more.
Is there a travel spot you REALLY want to visit?
Portugal. I am obsessed with fado music and their literature, although it’s all incredibly melancholy.
What do you want people who are not childfree to know about this lifestyle?
Childfree people are very likely your neighbours. Spend some time getting to know us (we don’t bite).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Living in the Far North of Aotearoa New Zealand (the warm part), giving yoga classes, blogging/writing, and doing editorial work. Only working in the ways that suit me and my life. Spending time in my community. Being warm.
I just started this blog, which has some childfree material on it. It also covers all sorts of “life navigation,” from navigating changes, to higher education tips, to yoga philosophy.
I also have a book coming out from Rutgers University Press in April 2022, called “Childfree across the Disciplines: Academic and Activist Perspectives on Not Choosing Children.” More info will be available, including the ability to pre-order copies, in early 2022.
What is your favorite quote?
“Living well is the best revenge” – George Herbert
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Sorry, not sure about this one (yet). But if it was the “which actor is you” question? Definitely Laura Dern.
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