So, Anne, you’re originally from the United States, when did you first leave and what made you think it was time to get out and see the world?
I first had an experience abroad when I spent my second year of university in France. There, I met one of my best friends who is English. After graduating and working for a bit, we both decided that we wanted to move to another country and learn another language again. He picked Argentina. I bought my plane ticket and took on a third job. He moved to Paris to teach English and “save up.” He actually ended up hanging out with fancy people and blowing all his money so I went alone. It was a happy accident because Argentina rocks! Maybe that doesn’t answer your question. I don’t know if I ever decided to see the world. I love the idea. I still haven’t even touched any part of the African continent.
Where did you first travel to?
My first real traveling experience was backpacking around Eastern Europe, before that study abroad.
How did you end up in Australia?
While in Argentina, I met some people who made a lot of money teaching English in Korea. So I went to Korea. While I was in Korea, I met a lot of people who made money in Australia. So now I’m in Australia. Is that too practical? So it goes. The only reason I can live as a nomad is by working on site and saving up to spend a bunch of time not working and seeing those less lucrative places/doing less lucrative things.Fortunately, there are ways to adventure and earn without having some online job.
You’ve recently been working as a nanny in the outback, how did you find outback life?
It’s awesome! I’ve got the Milky Way every night and more kangaroos around me than I can count. And no traffic ever.
Any tips or bits of advice for someone else looking to work in the wild aussie outback?
My advice for anyone who’s looking for work as well as an experience is to just accept the fact that you have to be in the right place at the right time. And the only way to do that is to put yourself out there and risk being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good news is you’ll almost always end up being in the right place at the right time because something always works out. Just be open minded and adjust your attitude. Seriously. Before I got this gig, I was at the Great Barrier Reef with $300 left from money I’d saved up in Tasmania. I’d been looking for a job. Just as I was starting to really stress out, I landed this one. Luck? Yes. But luck is not to be undervalued or underutilized. Odds are, your readers have more privilege and can grab more opportunities than they even imagine.
How long have you been walking/hiking/trekking for?
I went on my first backcountry hiking trip in Yosemite in June 2011. I’m a late bloomer. My first long-distance hike was the Pacific Crest Trail.
Your favourite hike of all time?
I don’t think anyone could ever regret doing the gnarliest day hike I’ve ever done, up to Fitzroy near El Chaltén in Patagonia. There was so much beauty, my eyes hurt. Glacial melt to drink, craggy peaks to climb, distant valleys to ogle… Plus, we picked a special kind of local berry, calafate berries, and distilled their juices at the end of the night. Delicious in Sprite. The Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, USA, is also otherworldly. I think it’s 8 miles long.
Any advice for fellow walkers or people wanting to get into it? Favourite bit of gear or equipment?
If you want to get into it, if you have any inclination to do so, do it. There’s nothing special about those of us who do. If you can walk to the grocery store and back, you can walk across the country. I’m not special. Lots of people do this. So can you. You are at least equally as qualified as the least qualified person who has already succeeded. As far as favorite gear goes, this is very personal. Gear is totally personal. But I love Leukotape. It’s the best kind of athletic tape on the face of the planet and has more uses than duct tape. I always say, “All you need in the backcountry is Leukotape and whiskey. If you have a problem, try to fix it with Leukotape. If that doesn’t work, drink your whiskey because nothing else will.” (DISCLAIMER: you need more to survive in the backcountry)
The hike to end all hikes, what’s your dream walking trail to tackle?
I have a lot of dream trails. I always have a billion bucket list items and tackle them 50% by practicality and 50% on a whim. I’d love to hike the Greater Patagonian Trail, 1500km in Chile. I want to walk across Iceland. I hear that takes three weeks. I also want to chart my own trail. One idea is to retrace the steps of Lewis and Clark in the States. I know I will end up walking Appalachian Trail because it seems inevitable given my life trajectory (assuming I don’t die first). Which is awesome.
Any plans to go home anytime soon?
I am going home! After I hike Te Araroa in New Zealand, I’m hiking from Canada to Mexico through the States. But more to your question, yes, after that I’m going back to California to live. I’m going to start a business with my sister. I’ll have been gone five years. It’s time for a new kind of adventure.