When used intentionally, social media is a treasure trove of like-minded creatives who dare to leave behind business-as-usual for a desired positive change. I was fortunate to discover Sandra, a fellow memoir author, on Instagram.
Here’s Sandra on her beginnings and what led her to try a different approach to schooling in Bali.
Q: Where were you born and how has it shaped you?
I was born in Sydney to parents who migrated from Southern Italy in the 1950s and 60s. Mine was a suburban upbringing, filled with picnics and extended family get-togethers that were lively and involved lots of food. I was the quieter one out of my cousins, happy to lose myself in a good book but also secretly keen to shine. My parents’ not-so-glamourous tales of journeying to Australia by sea helped spark a wanderlust for travel that has lasted to this day.
Q: What are some of the best places you’ve lived and why?
Aside from Sydney, I’ve lived in Hong Kong where I landed my first job as a print journalist following university. I also spent 6 months in London as part of a backpacking trip through Europe. More recently I spent almost two years living in Bali with my husband and daughter as part of the dynamic Green School community. I’ve enjoyed them all for different reasons.
Hong Kong was fast-paced and exciting. London was expensive and at times formidable, whilst being the launching pad to many youthful European adventures, and Bali was nourishing and inspiring. This last adventure led to me publishing my first memoir called Our Green Change: A Journey to Green School, Bali & Beyond. Each experience taught me something about myself and the world, but Sydney will always be home.
Q: Why did you write Our Green Change? What were your inspirations?
Whilst living in Bali, I wrote blog-style posts about our adventures. We were learning so much about Bali and the environment through Green School that I wanted to share some of that knowledge, and I thought it would be a good way for my daughter to look back at this unique experience once she was older. Friends and family seemed to enjoy the posts and encouraged me to keep writing.
When the pandemic hit, our journey was cut short. Back in Australia, I started turning those posts into chapters, possibly to make sense of this time and the bizarre situation the world was facing. The more I wrote about our adventure, the more I started reflecting on my own upbringing and education and the motivation behind the move.
Embarking on this green change was a massive leap of faith for me. Writing about it became my next challenge. Putting our story “out there” is the final step.
Q: For whom did you write the book and why?
Our Green Change is for anyone who loves or aspires to travel – especially with a family. It’s for people who love Bali and want to learn about the island beyond the usual stereotypes of bogans and Bintang. It’s for anyone interested in learning about Green School as an alternative education model, where the love of learning and care for the earth is paramount.
I hope people read it and are inspired to make a change of their own – whether big or small – and learn a bit about Bali and the environment along the way.
Q: What would you say to your younger self?
Take more risks, trust the universe and don’t worry about what other people think.