How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

How I overcame my fears and spoke French on national TV

Speaking French is not a simple matter of flicking a switch and carrying on with life. It is inextricably related to feelings of legitimacy, falsehood, belonging and alienation. It is associated with anger and frustration, inadequacy, stupidity, and triumph. It is related to who and what I am, my place in the world around me and a constant negotiation and re-negotiation of meaning, intention and power. 

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Hey You! Yes You: meet Lynne, who rode a motorbike 7,500km through the Australian outback

Hey You! Yes You: meet Lynne, who rode a motorbike 7,500km through the Australian outback

Meet Lynne Oakes, aka my mother.

Although she might not describe herself as such, she is a gutsy and adventurous lady, and last year she and her lovely fella rode their motorbikes over 7,500km across the middle of Australia. She generously agreed to let me wear my reporter hat and ask her all about it.

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Exporing Melbourne, One Meal At A Time

Exporing Melbourne, One Meal At A Time

Published in לאשה‎ Laisha Magazine, January 2016

Bing! I hop out of the way as another tram trundles through the middle of a busy street. Having long since disappeared from many cities, the tram is still very much part of Melbourne, a quirky patch on the quilt that is this complex, vibrant city. A melting pot of cultures, of interests, languages and history, Australia’s second largest city has a lot to offer visitors, and I’m eager to get to know it a little on my three day visit.

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Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Hey You! Yes You: meet Ellen, who has been up the Eiffel Tower over 700 times

Welcome to "Hey You! Yes You", a new series in which I'll introduce you to a new marvelous person that I have encountered here on Earth,  each with their own interesting story. 

For the first ever post of I have chosen a friend of mine here in Paris, Ellen. Ellen is a seriously talented musician and singer, who has just finished recording a to-be-named new album.  

By regularly coaxes the magic of unicorns out of her voice and into our ears on the Paris music scene. By day she works in one of the most beautiful places on earth: The Eiffel Tower. As a tour guide, and has been up the Tower more than a hundred times. Like, way more.

I thought it would be fun to ask her a few questions about what that is like. 

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How To Be A Tourist (That Tour Guides Like)

How To Be A Tourist (That Tour Guides Like)

I’ve been a bicycle tour guide in Paris for more than two years, and this is a topic I’ve been thinking of writing about for a while. I resisted it because I’m not a fan of bitchsticles (bitchy-list-articles) and I couldn’t really see how this would interest anybody except me and my guide friends.

Then I realised something that changed my mind:

The tour you get depends on the tourist you are.

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(un petit) Tour de France: Riding From Paris to le Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

(un petit) Tour de France: Riding From Paris to le Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

One of the hazards of being a bike guide is that lots of your friends will also be bike guides, and will invite you to go on crazy rides to strange places with very little planning.

It's awful. 

Last month, we went to the Vaux le Vicomte estate, 41km from Paris as the crow flies. 

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Adventures in the South of France: Exploring the 'perched village' of Lacoste

Adventures in the South of France: Exploring the 'perched village' of Lacoste

Provence has got to be one of the most adorable regions in France.

A land of lavender, vineyards, fruit trees, gently rolling hills and the occasional limestone range... Of ancient village centres, narrow cobblestone streets and carved stone fountains... The true paysage, the authentic rural heart of France which has remained unchanged throughout the centuries in its deeply significant traditions and unrelenting adorableness.

Did I mention lavender? 

If I'm honest, the self-conscious provincialism can wear pretty thin, especially in the bigger towns where vendors cackle with delight at the commencement of the tourist season, and even on brand new buildings the paint is artfully weather-worn.

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Oh Brothers, where art thou? Exploring New Norcia, a Benedictine monastery hidden in the Western Australian outback

Oh Brothers, where art thou? Exploring New Norcia, a Benedictine monastery hidden in the Western Australian outback

Published in The Washington Post, June 18 2015

"You can find some incredible things in the outback of Western Australia, and after about two hours of driving we come upon one: a Benedictine monastery. This is New Norcia, founded more than a century and a half ago as a mission and now one of the state’s most unlikely tourist destinations."

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