Alex McLaughlin

Canadian acrylic and watercolour artist,

S2 Ep36

Alex McLaughlin

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Today I welcome Alex McLaughlin to the podcast, Canadian acrylic and watercolour artist and mum of 2 boys from Midland Ontario.

Raised in Honey Harbour on Georgian Bay, Alex was fortunate enough to have a childhood full of love and opportunity. Her summers can be best characterized by exploration, swimming, boating, and working for the family business. Having the opportunity to be on the water nearly every day since she was born has never been something she has never taken for granted.

After working as a paramedic on the streets of Toronto for many years, Alex felt the pull to return to her childhood home, and now lives there with her husband and 2 boys. She now focuses solely on her art, working out of her home studio which allows her to to maximize precious painting time and be the present mother she has always wanted to be.

Put simply, Alex feels like she is now doing what she was always meant to be doing.

Ever since Alex was little, her grandmother encouraged her to practice and appreciate the arts as a way to document her life. Alex is a predominately self taught artist, but after taking a watercolour course by local Canadian artist John Hartman everything seemed to make sense for her and allowed her to explore her local area with a new set of eyes.

Recently, Alex created her first-ever painting series that is very close to her heart: Georgian Bay Reflections. Using vibrant colour and layered brush strokes, Alex feels her way through each piece until its depth and composition are reminiscent of this special place that was, is and always will be home.

Through the power of her expressionism artform, Alex's hope for us is to be reminded of how the simple and natural things in life are the most beautiful. In a world that seems to be evolving faster than ever before, Most of all her wish is to have us stop and experience, even just for a moment, the beauty of life translated through art.

**This episode contains discussion around anxiety, OCD and depression**

Visit Alex's website

The Massasauga Rattler Snake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGW3MSt8nJI

Beam Paints https://www.beampaints.com/ is the paint company Alex mentioned who she found making water colour paints locally.

Podcast - instagram / website


Music used with permission from Alemjo https://open.spotify.com/artist/4dZXIybyIhDog7c6Oahoc3?si=aEJ8a3qJREifAqhYyeRoow

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast


I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!

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Thank you!

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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.

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Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast where we hear from mothers who are artists and creators sharing their joys and issues around trying to be a mother and continue to make art. Regular topics include mum guilt, identity, the day to day juggle mental health, and how children manifest in their art. My name is Alison Newman. I'm a singer songwriter, and a mum of two boys from regional South Australia. I have a passion for mental wellness, and a background in early childhood education. You can find links to my guests and topics they discuss in the show notes, along with music played a link to follow the podcast on Instagram, and how to get in touch. All music used on the podcast is done so with permission. The art of being a mom acknowledges the bone tech people as the traditional custodians of the land and water which this podcast is recorded on and pays respects to the relationship the traditional owners have with the land and water, as well as acknowledging past present and emerging elders. Thanks so much for joining me. Today I welcome Alex McLaughlin to the podcast. Alex is a Canadian acrylic and watercolor artist and a mum of two boys from Midland Ontario. Raised in honey Harbor on Georgian Bay, Alex was fortunate enough to have a childhood full of love and opportunity. His summers can be best described by exploration, swimming, boating, and working for the family business. Having the opportunity to be on the water nearly every day since she was born has never been something she's taken for granted. After working as a paramedic on the streets of Toronto for many years, Alex felt the pull to return to her childhood home and now lives there with her husband and two boys. She focuses solely on her art working out of her home studio, which allows her to maximize precious painting time and be the present mother she's always wanted to be. Put simply, Alex feels like she's now doing what she was always meant to be doing. Ever since Alex was little, her grandmother encouraged her to practice and appreciate the arts as a way to document her life. Alex is a predominantly self taught artist. But after taking a watercolor course by local Canadian artists, John Hartman, everything seemed to make sense for her and allowed her to explore her local area with a new set of eyes. Recently, Alex created her first ever painting series that is very close to her heart, entitled Georgian Bay reflections. Using vibrant color and layered brushstrokes. Alex feels her way through each piece until its depth and composition are reminiscent of the special place that was is and always will be her home through the power of her expressionist art form. Alex's hope for us is to be reminded of how the simple and natural things in life are the most beautiful in a world that seems to be evolving faster than ever before. Most of all, her wish is to have a stop and experience even for just a moment. The beauty of life translated through art. This episode contains discussion around anxiety, OCD, and depression. Thanks so much for coming on today. Alex. It's

such a pleasure to meet you all the way from Canada today. Yeah,

thank you so much for having me. I'm excited. Absolutely. It's

such a pleasure. So tell us whereabouts you are in Canada.

So I live in Midland, Ontario on Georgian Bay. It's a it's a massive Bay off of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes. And we're about an hour and a half an hour and a half north of Toronto. People call it cottage country,

cottage country, what's the meaning behind that?

Um, most people from the city that own cottages will head north pretty much every weekend. I know that people call it something different in many parts of the world. But yeah, it's called a cottage here. And most of them in my area are not tiny little cabins, a lot of them are are very extravagant.

They're not exactly cottages they like made

quite a bit of money has moved up here in the past, like 20 years so and then we're pretty close to Muskoka right next to us as well, which is can be kind of fancy, like major wakeboarding culture. And, ah, yeah, it's a pretty amazing place to have grown up and to live now. I left her about 12 years with school and my previous career and then moved back up here five years ago, so we're nice and settled in again. Yeah, yeah.

So what's the weather like there? Now I have this real obsession with finding out temperatures and weather around the world, people I chat to

were pretty extreme. Which I like So it's it's warming up a little bit now like today was gray and cloudy and and it was still cold it was I think minus seven or minus six Celsius. Yeah. Because you're in your Celsius so today was like warm compared to what it's been. It's been minus 20 to minus 30. Recently. Yeah, we were ice fishing this morning. Oh, my parents this and there was 20 inches of ice. Oh, wow.

We don't seem to say

you get that much ice. It's it's a good winter for ice and like people snowmobile all over the lake. Yeah, nice. Good. So, yeah, we have a very extreme weather we have like the lake effect. So we get tons and tons of snow. You have to. Some people don't have one, but it's very helpful to have a snowblower here. Like your full time job would be shoveling throughout the winter if you didn't have a snowblower so well, yeah, it's very extreme in the winter. And then we have pretty awesome warm, humid summers, so Oh, well. Yeah, the best of both worlds.

So what's your sort of average champion Summer?

Summer, like we we truly do have spring we have all all the seasons. So the spring can seem very, very long when we're anxious for the summer to come. But pretty reliably June, like through September now, anywhere from, like 18 degrees to it can be extreme heat warnings of you know, 40 degrees, sometimes, well, for about two months, we get between, I guess 25 And like 32, something like that. So

that is amazing. It is that is truly amazing that you can have like zero like monastery up to like 40. That is incredible. Yeah.

And we don't always have like a cold winter like this. I prefer it because then you can do stuff on the ice. And you can go skiing and snowboarding and all of that stuff. Like we are only 20 minutes from a hill. Not a big hill. It's not I wouldn't call it a mountain. But we have a few options here. And and then we have an ice rink in our backyard as well. We started that last year because of the pandemic and not being able to really go out right so yeah, yeah, no, I absolutely love it. The winters can be tough for sure. And most people will fly south during the winter for at least one trip. And and we're making the best of all the winter activities now. So

yeah, that sounds amazing. I haven't I didn't realize places like that existed where you could have like a normal summer basically, and then have massive, massive winter.

Yeah, it's really, for a lot of people. It's all about the summer here because the summers are really incredible. I've actually traveled in Australia and quite a few places. And the one thing I really missed while traveling was having my own boat because I don't live on an ocean and I'm so used to being able to boat like there's actually 30,000 islands in my area. All you kidding. It's the largest freshwater are archipelago. I think I said that right. archipelago, sorry. Which means just like the largest cluster of islands in freshwater in the world. It's yeah, so very interesting boating culture here.

Yeah, right. Actually, that reminds me is it like, this is like a real left of field but the Ozarks TV show where they take boats everywhere. Is that kind of like? Totally.

I would I would call the Ozarks a little bit more like Muskoka because there's a whole bunch of, they call them Muskoka lakes. So there's great lakes, where it's a lot more sheltered. Georgian Bay has much more open water in certain areas. So you can have all those, like nooks where it's protected if you stay in, like honey harbor is where I grew up. It's just a small drag from here. But then you can go to open water where you can't see anything and you feel like you're on the ocean. So yeah, we actually traveled to an island and a lighthouse on an island called the Western islands. And it takes about two to two and a half hours of driving fast, like straight in one direction not being able to see any thing, and then the island emerges out of nowhere. You post stuff like that with friends and get just like for safety but pretty wild.

That sounds like an incredible place to leave. That's just

wow. Yeah, I'm really happy to be here.

That's lovely

I was reading on your website, you talked about honey Harbor, how you were so deeply connected to that Georgian Bay Area. And I love that your quote with the way that you describe things, its life translated through art in love that

I'm primarily a self taught painter. I have been mostly doing acrylic paintings and, and mostly large scale, I really like to paint large, starting to mix in some smaller stuff, because painting large all the time is difficult with time management. But yeah, so that's mostly what I've focused on. And I've and I've recently been mixing in using watercolors as well, as more of like a daily paint. I was always super creative as a kid. Like I really took every project to the creative extreme in high school, stuff like that. But I didn't really sorry. And I was also very involved in the arts, just not fine art. So I was a competitive dancer for many years. And I played classical guitar until the end of high school. It's like I was always very involved in something that was really creative, but didn't really stumble upon painting until university actually. I had taken one elective course throughout my psychology degree, and got to do art. And we did two weeks of painting. So I just learned the basics. And I honestly didn't really I wasn't very proud of any any of the projects that we had in that class. But then beyond that year of taking that class, it stuck with me and I did a lot of paintings like for gifts for family and did a few commission jobs. And throughout the years, I kept coming back to it so and then I didn't get really serious about it until 2018 When I moved back here to Midland I was living closer to the city to Toronto, for my husband, because I was actually a paramedic in Toronto for eight years before diving into the art full time.

You said that the painting you first like you discovered that at uni? Was there anyone else like in your family like growing up was painting ever exposed to earlier than that?

So not necessarily painting. But I was gonna mention my grandmother I called her only because she she was German. She's passed now but so my mother's mother took care of us a lot. She helped out a lot with babysitting. A lot of my memories are with her. And she was super interested in art. She painted herself as well. But mainly she was a photographer. Yeah, right. Yeah, she didn't consider herself professional by any means. She struggled financially a lot of the time. But yeah, she was the one that really encouraged me would sit me down with all the materials for drawing. I remember her teaching me sort of like a just the way to draw certain things like a barn and she had a way to instruct me how to do that. And then it also remember doing a lot of like still life like vases with flowers in them and stuff with very special markers that she would get me. Yeah, somehow I never really got into painting with like professional paints. It's funny that I don't remember touching that until university. Yeah, she was the early influence. My parents were always super supportive. But they. And my mom is very creative herself with like interior design. And my dad is a builder. And so yeah, like, it's in the family. But yeah, she was my push for sure. And like she is one of the reasons. I do it today. And I sort of had the confidence to go for it. And I know, even though she's not here physically, yeah, I know. I hope that she knows what I'm doing. Yeah. Be proud. So yeah, that's really special. Oh, that's lovely. Growing up, so.

Oh, so she didn't she wasn't alive, to see change careers and come back to

Oh, yeah, she met my first son, who he's seven now. But she found out she was sick, like within that first year that he was born. So yeah, it's really kind of tragic, but but she clearly lives on through a lot of us. My aunt who's like her other daughter, is also an artist, and like, has been pursuing it more seriously as well. So

yeah. Oh, that's lovely. It's like the legacy that's carried on through the family.

Yeah, that's beautiful.

I love the quote that you've got on your website, when you said I'm finally doing what I was meant to do. Yes, like you had to go through all this other stuff and maybe discover what you didn't want to do before you went? Actually I want to do was that was that an easy decision? Or hard in some ways to just give up, I want to say a nine to five like, solid job.

I had worked really hard to be a paramedic. You so yeah, that was the part that was really hard for me was I've always been very introspective. And trying to balance what was going to make me the happiest I was, I was so lucky to have like an upbringing with all these opportunities, right. So I was trying to figure out a path that would make me super happy, but also seemed like a smart, logical path. Which led me to do this, like psychology degree, and I was considering business and all these other things. But I guess deep down inside, like, I was always very creative. And then, and I loved my career as a paramedic, super competitive, to get into school to get hired right out of school. And then it takes about five years of doing that job to start to feel settled and comfortable and not just freaked out and in a few of the situations, right. Yeah, it takes a long time to build that confidence. And then when we started having a family, it's like I knew we were going to have to make some tough decisions. Financially, you know, mortgage was going to become difficult. My husband is also a paramedic in Toronto, and he's he's still doing it there. And I just couldn't imagine doing the double shiftworker family with children, you basically have to hire a live in nanny to make it work. And then I just be working to pay for somebody else to take care of my children. And yeah, so I was starting to feel like a little bit. I was frustrated for sure, like knowing that these big changes were coming.

But

it's funny because now I'm happier than ever. And I really do think that just trusting the process not only like in my art but in life is super important. I have always been when not to make too many strict plans. I know that things can change. I especially learned that as a paramedic, right and just to really not take anything for granted and and try and appreciate every day as it comes and then know that they're the changes will come and I just tried to roll with it the best I can. So that's what we did. And I knew I needed to have something of my own. Like something really exciting to look forward to. As I was approaching that moment of officially quitting my paramedic career and moving on so yeah, I, I took a year leave of absence when we moved up north, away from the city, which it also that provided some major financial relief, by the way. So like all these changes were to set us up so that I could be at home with the kids and not worry as much about money, because leaving that Job was was a big paycheck as well. Yeah. So yeah, we moved north, and we're actually mortgage free because of the move, because we moved really like from very close to the city to two hours north where most people wouldn't, wouldn't go that far, right. And it was, it was tough. Like it was, even though I had grown up here, it didn't have too many strong friendships remaining like in that immediate area. So I really had to start over. Build those new connections and, and it eventually happened. But yeah, for a few years, it was tough. And so yeah, when we moved up, I took the year leave of absence. And then for about four months, I just was trying to, I was stressing over what to paint, I knew I was going to try and pursue painting. I just didn't know what I should paint because I wanted it to be successful. So I put a lot of pressure on that. But I just started painting all kinds of different things, different themes. You and and then enough work to sort of build a cohesive series, because A, in my research, I realized that was very important to make it as an artist or to get, you know, just to be successful, like to sell work and be represented or whatever. So yeah, just worked really hard to build a cohesive body of work. And then I launched my website, as soon as I had officially quit the paramedic job. And the response was amazing. I sold two original pieces, I think within the first two weeks, which is a nice boost of confidence. Yeah. And then yeah, it was a bit of a whirlwind, like lots, lots of cool opportunities. But then I got into the the fun, like figuring out the balance of trying to run my own business and be the full time mom and having a shiftworker husband, who's gone a week at a time kind of thing. So

yeah, that was like a new area that you were like trying to work out the balance. Yeah.

Well, you know, thankfully, it was busy and I wasn't bored. And I think that keeps you happier. Right. Especially when you're in a new place and and away from your, you know, the friendships I had established in the city and stuff, huh? Yeah. Yeah, just just an interesting, a lot of changes. But we we believed that that was the best thing to do for our family. And I feel like it all worked out. Really did. And I do feel like I am exactly where I should be because being back home has informed my art greatly. Like when I was saying I didn't know what to paint. Eventually, I figured it out because I just started painting what I know best. Yeah. Yeah, that was the water that I had grown up on. And it's just mean like the response I've had from people. They really love that series. Oh, yeah. Now I'm at a point where I've done I don't know how many of them I've done. It's it's around 25 of them. And I'm ready to I'm ready to mix it up a bit. So yeah, it's kind of cool to be successful in something like that and then know that I sort of have that as my fallback but and then but I'm always wanting to try new things. So yeah, and I'm at right now yeah.

So is that where the water colors start to come in a bit like you're just sort of testing out what else he can do and

yes, so I'm trying to figure wrote that does have a lot to do with just like incorporating my practice into my life and trying to be more efficient. Because I've never really been able to involve my kids in the studio too much. I have two really active boys. I tried I really did try to to just be casual about it and set them up and but yeah, my oldest was could not sit still he'd get into the the worst things, you know, like climbing the walls. So and I didn't want to say no, I didn't want to say no all the time, right. So we kind of avoided being in the studio too much. earlier on. Now I am learning what they prefer. I have to set my my oldest seven year old he has to be set up with an easel and he takes my light and he sets it up. But he's he's very short lived though. Like he'll pay it for about maybe 10 minutes and then that's it. And then he's gone and he hasn't cleaned up and and then my five year old is on the floor like still like rubbing the paint into the broken paper. Like he gets really into it. Yeah. And then everyone's gone. And it just gets busy. So yeah.

Lots of having boys Hey,

yeah. The the watercolor like that medium. It was sort of a magical thing. I took a water color course, online during the pandemic from John Hartman, who is a huge artists here in Canada. And luckily, he's local. Yeah, I actually know his his niece's here, I played volleyball with them growing up. And so there's like a bit of a connection there. He had never met me though. And I took this class online, and I've taken many, like several art classes, this one was just different. And it something clicked. And he, I think grew up similar to me, has like, a very special appreciation for the land, and just just this unique corner of the world, right. And he's he's obviously very into nature and all of the animals and all of the patterns and and he's been very, very successful here. So the local gallery got him to teach this class. I took it from him. And it just seemed to make sense for me as well, the way that he was taking his watercolor kit out to the islands if he would go like by canoe or kayak or whatever. And so I decided to prepare like a waterproof backpack, prep all of the paper and, and then I discovered these incredible, this incredible paint company where the paints made on Manitoulin Island. It's actually five hours north of us. Yeah, but it just felt so right because they're very focused on producing plastic free. Like the pigments are almost a lot of them are sourced locally on Manitoulin Island, and then they use tree sap, local honey, all of these things as like their binders, and it's just completely natural paints. So I feel good about going out and like washing my brush in the lake. Yes, water and then using the natural paints that she's made, and it's just amazing. So

that's such an incredible connection isn't a lot. That's just

amazing. Beautiful. Yeah, because they really do care about that as well. Like I am painting about my connection with the bay and then using things that are made here to create the work is yeah, it just feels really right. So I was really excited about that. And I'm getting better at being more consistent and remembering that backpack it was just always ready to go. Yeah, I'm not the most organized person so it's taken a few years for me to get myself sorted like that and know that I have to prep a few things to sit to enable myself to create in those busy situations and our children are old enough now that it's not so crazy to have my husband watch them while I take half an hour to paint so yeah, yeah. Good day

The pandemic really pushed me to want to explore locally more, as it I'm sure has for many people, I love traveling, my husband loves traveling, we really miss it. And so this island hopping culture that exists here, I didn't do that growing up, my parents were always working. And I was always boating and working at marinas and like very familiar on a boat, but not really exploring. There's a lot of public islands that you can, that you can go and have a picnic for the day and, and they're really amazing and really rugged and picturesque and challenging. A lot of people don't do it because there's you could hit rocks everywhere where your boat here, like, just beneath the surface. So for some people, it's a bit too risky, or expensive to be hitting rocks with your boat. Oh, yeah, I have this level of comfort with the bay and boating. I used to to live and work on the water for many years. So yeah, it's a really.

Yeah. That's incredible. Oh, just hearing your story. It just I don't want to say it sounds perfect, because nothing's perfect. But just the way things have come together for you just sounds just ideal to so.

Yeah. And I, I knew that there was just something about this place when I traveled because when I, when I first traveled after university, I went on my own, I did a solo backpacking trip in Australia. And that led to many other trips to different countries until I went back to college for paramedics, and then it kind of halted the traveling and the art and everything. But now yeah, I'm coming back to it. And I didn't know how much I missed it here until I returned with my kids. And I felt like I could almost breathe easier just being surrounded by nature and the trees and I honestly didn't know how much I missed it though. Because I'm pretty happy wherever I go. I truly appreciate the city. I loved living downtown Toronto. The excitement of being a paramedic downtown was amazing. You know, I was happy I thought but I think I am much happier here. So but yeah, we also don't know, I guess we never really think in forever. My husband and I are adventurous. And he's from the east coast of Canada. So we we go there often and that's pretty amazing out there too. But when he talks about it, I I don't know if I could move there. Right. It's mostly just leaving Georgia and bay that would stress me out. So yeah. Anyway, I'm really enjoying being here right now. And it's yeah, it's inspired me so much. And gotten me on a pretty amazing foot with my art career so far.

I wanted to mention, I'll put a link for people to have a look at the way that you paint the water. Right. It's just It looks like a photo. Like it looks so real. And I actually paint properly. I just mess around with painting. So I'm really interested in painting because I can't do it.

I love like zooming in like how do you do that? Like it just looks real?

Just beautiful. And yeah, that series that you mentioned before. Just all those pieces that just like you feel like you could literally dive into the paintings. They're just so real. So yeah, I just love them.

Yeah, all right. First of all, I think that anybody can paint. It's, it is a practice, right? You just, you get better as you do it more or not necessarily even better, because I'm trying to get back to like a loose lit a looseness actually, that I had before I did these water pieces, and they have progressively gotten more realistic. Which wasn't really my intention. It's just I seem to be getting pickier with it right. And I, I can't leave it alone, like I just go further and further and further with them as I do more of those pieces. So yeah, I get very intense about them. So I honestly just think it's the amount of layers. And I will just keep painting until I'm happy with it right. And, and I do paint from a photo for the water pieces, because they wanted, it's just something I always wanted to try. I had tried painting several things. And it's interesting, because when I look back at my early paintings, like way before I knew I would pursue this as a career, the water element was there. And a lot of a lot of my pieces not not in exactly the same style, but it was there. And yeah, there's just something about it that feels like home to me and nostalgic. And I feel like the water here is very unique to other places in the world I've been. It's beautiful in all of these different places, too. But there's something very special to me about it here. And I think just with the response I've had, it seems like people that are cottagers here really identify with it too.

Yeah, they're really drawn to it.

Yeah, there's something about when you walk down on the dock, because we have a floating dock. And which is different from a lot of places in the world. We don't have tides. So yeah, when you go down to the dock, you feel like you're so surrounded by water in a in a really unique way to it's different from working on a beach, or Yeah. I don't know, you know, all the different ways that you can be next to the water. There's something very unique about floating on air.

Like you're connected to it straight away, like you're already part of it. You can feel the move, all that kind of stuff.

Yeah, and I don't get that feeling all the time. It's usually when I've been away for a while and then I go down. You're standing there and it's kind of overwhelming. I remember coming back after being away for almost a year, right. So yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm very lucky.

You've mentioned the children a little bit in passing. Tell us a little bit more a bit about your boys.

Yeah, they're loved them. Um, so my oldest is Charlie, he's seven. And then my younger boy is five and his name is Van. And I also have a Newfoundland puppy as well. Oh. He, we had we had another one before him and unfortunately lost him through the pandemic. So this is a COVID puppy. Do it again. And yeah, very, very active household. It always has been. But it suits it suits myself and my husband. We are not good at sitting at home. We're extremely adventurous. So and now we're taking our kids along with us on those adventures. They are learning to drive the boat. They are there in Forest School as well once a week, which I love. So they're just they're super resilient kids like they go out in that minus 20 degree weather the entire day at school. And then I'll pick them up and I was so you know, I'm always a little worried about their hands and feet. And then they'll tell me that they were too hot. So because I put a sweater on them very particular layering system Man, you, you know, the types of clothes you have to put on the kids to do that sort of thing but love it. And yeah, we're outdoors, hours and hours a day like, we don't stay indoors very much. And that was I always wanted to raise them like that. But then the pandemic pushed me to turn to nature even more way to deal with the anxieties and stuff that would come up with all of this. My oldest son got very anxious with like the first sort of flip flopping locked down back to school, that kind of stuff. It was really hard on him, but at the time, he was five years old. So yeah, I find five is a really interesting age to be dealing with complicated things like that. So

yeah, it's like the brains not quite developed enough to make sense of it, but they can understand quite a lot. So it's really hard for them to, you know, comprehend things and deal with them. Yeah.

So he definitely has some OCD. Which, you know, we we haven't taken them to get diagnosed, because we were a little bit worried about that, at that age to like, what the effect of actually going and getting a diagnosis. Just, we just wanted to see if we could deal with it on our own first, and it did get a bit scary, for sure. But he's doing amazing now and we've figured out some coping strategies. We're lucky with the internet, right? You can do so much research on your own. Yeah, we were open to if we felt like we couldn't handle it, I had the name and number of someone to call, but got through it. And you just never know when it's when things like that are gonna creep up on you with the kids. Challenging, challenging time. Yeah, that's

for sure. You're listening to the art of being a mom was my mom, I was naming.

Ellie, you mentioned that being a paramedic was good at sort of allowing you just to go with the flow and things are unexpected things change? Do you think that's sort of helped you being a parent in the way that things are always changing unexpected things? And

for sure, yeah, absolutely. I think that was sort of in my personality anyway, and, and why I enjoyed being a paramedic so much. And, but yeah, like that experience, I knew that I would never regret becoming a paramedic, even if it was not the be all end all of what I was going to do, you know, having those skills, I would never regret it. It's pretty cool. And I my style, honestly, was to not worry about the call details. Because you get when you get a call, you get a bunch of details. And most of the time, it's completely different. When Yeah, when you arrive. Yeah. Somebody on the phone? Yeah, people in emergencies can't describe. Can't describe what's going on accurately most of the time. Yeah.

So you'd like to discard that. Basically, when you get there you make your own assessments and work from that sort of thing.

Yeah, I just tried to always have a really open mind. Honestly, though, my husband is an incredible paramedic, and he has a completely different approach. He actually goes through all of the possibilities, and all of the protocol protocols for all of those possibilities. So he's the one practicing it all in his mind before he walks in. So he knows the dosage and everything medications, whereas I I was different in that. Yeah, I would more roll with it. Because it's it's dangerous to get tunnel visioned. Especially in that job, right. Yeah. So yeah. And I think that has reflected In my life as a parent, for sure, you learn pretty quickly that as soon as you get the routine going, it changes. Prizes and, and your, your children usually turn out very, very to be very different personalities. So yeah, it's it's pretty cool. Something really neat about my oldest son, the one that had all of that anxiety. He's I think it's because he's such an empath we've learned, he picks up on everything right, no matter how much we were trying to keep our cool at the beginning of all of it. Everybody was holding their breath and watching the news too much. And yeah, it was. It was terrifying. So And I honestly just snapped back into paramedic mode. I was not thinking about art at all. Yeah, yeah. And I was almost feeling guilty that I got out of that profession. Like before this happened.

Yeah, right. Yeah. Because this

is just so huge. It's like something that you prepare for, and you hope never happens. But yeah, it was happening. And my son, yeah, he just picks up on everything. Even when you don't know that. It's like that you're stressed out or you're depressed, or whatever it is. So yeah, things kind of fall apart when I get when mom gets super stressed or overwhelmed. And then I start seeing issues in my kids with their anxiety. So he keeps me in check. I have to take care of myself and keep a balance and not forget to get back to exercising when I can and all of those things. Or yeah, I find we have issues. So

huh. That's it if mom's not happy.

It's challenging, but I really appreciate that about him. So I'm super lucky, right? I'm at home with him. I don't have to leave the house to go to work. We made some tough decisions to put me in this position. But so I know I'm very very lucky. Some people aren't as fortunate right. And life is tough. It's sometimes impossible to get out of debt for a lot of people now so that's easy. Yeah, so I really just appreciate Yeah, I'm able to do and be at home with them and be super in tune with my kids

absolutely YEAH.

I just wanted to ask just on that when you're talking about the, the pandemic Did you ever consider thinking I need to go back and help like, did you ever think or I'm I'm a paramedic? I can I can help with it's yeah,

um, um, I think it crossed my mind. But so yeah, I was feeling guilty, but I know I didn't have the urge to walk away from the art that I had yet into and protecting my family. I sure applied it in all of my conversations with friends. You know, like talking through it with people. Then like new connections that I made helping friends with anxiety The stuff like that. And just like explaining things in like a medical way was really helpful. Like we we obviously could grasp what was going on in a different way from a lot of other people, which was scary actually.

It's like you knew you knew exactly what was happening. And that was a little bit too much.

Honestly sitting there thinking, why aren't we doing what New Zealand is doing? Like, why are we not locking everything down right away? Like what is taking so long? And there were real repercussions because of that, but but nobody really knows. Right? So.

Yeah, it's yeah, that's the thing. They're all making decisions. On the fly. Basically, there's no book about how to deal with this. It's never really happened. Before your best. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But on that, New Zealand's done amazing. They're still not letting Australians back in. Like, that's how good they're going. They're awesome.

I know. It's a different way. And yeah, it's hard to say

what's best. But yeah, that's the thing. And every country is like, obviously, geographically different challenges, whatever. But yeah, I do have a lot of respect for New Zealand and the wonderful Prime Minister, she's pretty cool. changing tack slightly, in terms of there's a topic that I love to talk about two mums about mum guilt. And I'm not sure if that's a term that. I mean, I find the Australians know what I'm talking about. Is that something that you're familiar with over there in Canada, the mum guilt? Yeah.

I definitely believe that it exists for sure. And, as I've explained the way, the changes we've made in our life, and the fact that I can work from home and pivot whenever needed to put my children first. That sort of like mitigates that a lot, right? I think I've experienced mom guilt in small doses, and then almost used it to help guide my decisions with my life. Because I want to avoid feeling like that, of course. And I'm lucky that I was able to find a way to avoid it a lot, right? Yeah. Yeah, the first time I think I felt it was honestly when I was pregnant. I was nesting and working on the house, and I fell off of a ladder when I was seven months pregnant, I think, yeah. I just remember sitting in the bathtub after feeling like horrible. I had a very hard time adjusting while being pregnant, to not being able to do certain things. Just because I really independent I pride myself on being a very strong woman that way, you know, yeah, ask for help. to a fault. Yeah, so that was the first time I felt really horrible. Like, that was a dumb decision to be doing that in the first place. And then, and then I'm trying to think, oh, so I had my first child. And then we did have a plan. Like, I didn't think I was going to continue doing the shift work. We sort of knew there was going to be an end eventually. But I did go back to work when my son was one year old, but I went back pregnant because they're only they're 19 months apart. Yep. So I went back wasn't going back to the road. I luckily got to go back to modify duties. So much safer, safer environment. A little more mundane and not the type of stuff I like to do. But yeah, so it was like an eight hour day instead of the 12 to 15 hour days that I would normally work. And that was really tough. I finding a nanny that I felt comfortable with, and then leaving my child with the nanny, even though I had put a lot of effort in had, I think I fired two before we settled on the one that we kept. Yeah. And yeah, it was really tough to leave him with her. But eventually, we got used to it. And I knew there was an end in sight. And then I went off the road again, you know, when I was, I can't remember how many weeks. But I just didn't want to go back to that. I didn't like that feeling. I personally didn't see the point of having kids if I couldn't be with them all the time. Right. So. But, yeah, I'm so fortunate that we could make it work that way. Right? It's not that way for everybody. So sometimes there, those opportunities don't exist. And my husband, I was able to really lean on him for a couple years to support us while I was not making any money as an artist. So I just started making more financial goals and wanting to relieve him a little bit. But we made it a good couple of years without too much pressure on it. Yeah, pretty hard to create meaningful art. If you're worried about the money. Yeah, that's

the thing, isn't it? You just, you'd be really constrained and like, I've got to, I've got to do this. So I can sell it. And I've got to, you know, you'd have all this pressure on yourself.

Yeah, I don't know. I don't know how I would do that. Yeah, it would be such a distraction. Right.

Hmm. Let's see. Yeah, it's almost like it wouldn't feel like a creative space. It just feel like a job like you had you just have to. Yeah, produce stuff. You know what I mean? Like, yeah. Yeah, no good.

The other thing I love to chat to moms about is identity, like how you how you see yourself shifts in as you become a mother and from what you just mentioned, is that like, you're started when you were pregnant. You know, you're the challenge of having to adjust how you do things. So then when you actually had your children, did that change? Did the shift keep? Was the shift already made sort of thing, like we able then to adjust into motherhood? Because you've already sort of started to change. Does that make sense?

Yeah, yeah. I think the shift so I physically, like I was always very athletic and doing kind of adventurous things like that, you know, like when I traveled a, I did the skydiving in the bungee, and the the only thing I I was too nervous to do is hang gliding and Brazil. myself with run off a cliff like that. So yeah, I've always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and I've had a lot of injuries, or my last major injury was while I was in paramedic College, and that scared me because it threatened my career. So I I I've shifted big time just being more careful with my body. And then yes, as as I was pregnant that was really difficult. Adjusting just asking for help with anything lifting wise was I left the hardware store falling once because I lifted a how many gallons is that? I think it's like 18 liters. Yeah, like the big thing of primer I lifted into into the cart and then felt obviously some major pain. And then I had to ask somebody to put that into my vehicle at the end. And and they were like, how did you get it in the car? So just stuff like that was so hard on me. But yeah, I'm so obviously I adjusted and it's okay, and I realized I needed to be careful. And just not taking as many risks right like you have kids to protect you Yeah, I find her a lot more careful like that. I'm always wanting to do the adventurous stuff and my husband. It makes him a little more nervous with kids around water and things like that. So we're good balance. Yeah, yeah. Yep. But I feel like I really worked on like figuring out who I was. Before kids, I was really lucky to do the traveling and several jobs, right. I really played around and tried to figure it out. And I thought I had figured it out with the paramedic thing and. And then, yeah, leaving that behind was a huge, felt like a sacrifice. Being a mother, it felt like I was giving up something that I had worked so hard for. And I didn't really see that coming. I did, but it didn't, you know, it didn't actually happen yet. So I was a little upset for sure. But, ya know, like, I think when things get tough like that, I think just thinking about what will be best for your kids always helps make the decision a little easier, like what direction to go. That's the way that we approach it. And I have never regretted making a decision based on that.

Yeah, that's really well said, yeah. Yeah.

I don't know. You always have to think about yourself, too. But I'm personally happier when I put my kids first. So. And I'm getting better at balancing those things. But when they're really, really young, yeah, I was. All over it all, I was pretty crazy with all the homemade food and schedule and trying to mix it up enough that when we do mess with their schedule, they're not devastated. And, you know, trying to just do everything as responsibly as possible.

Give him a sort of taste of life, I suppose that things don't always go to plan. And, you know, you can be adaptable. And mean, you can you can, you're allowed to get annoyed if things don't work out. But it's not like the end of the world. Like he can give back things. And that's really important.

Sorry, sorry, I think kids in general have just proven how much they can handle and how resilient they are through this pandemic, right? It's just crazy. Yeah, depends on what country you're in, I think but we have done the online schooling I think four times. It has gotten easier, but which is amazing. That the last time it was kind of knew the routine and I wasn't as upset, right? Like I was really hard on myself with the online school. First, or Yeah, the first time it was very stressful. And I felt very down on myself. That's I guess that could be slotted in as mom guilt, right? Like not I eventually learned that I had to decide when we just had to call it quits for the day and to not allow myself to feel guilty that it wasn't working on the computer and we're just going outside and blowing it off because it was easier because they're in kindergarten at the time. So junior and senior kindergarten so like, I don't I didn't believe they should be on the computer anyway, but I also didn't want them to fall too far behind. So

yeah, yeah.

Yeah. More reasonable commitments. In my mind, I was like if we do it three days a week out of the five then I'm happy or if it's a bad day just just stopped right so yeah. hoping it's over,

gosh, I know. In terms if you're making and I know your children, age wise, this might not apply but is it important for you, for them to see what you're doing and how you contribute? doing?

Absolutely, it's important to me that they see what I'm doing and my process. Actually, just recently, I've had a lot of really awesome opportunities landed in my lap. And and I'm just trying to figure out how I'm going to do it all, because I think they're gonna stay in school. And I think we can plan for this right. So I've actually just turned my dining room wall into my new studio, so that I cannot get away from the project that I'm working on. Because when I'm walking by it constantly, I'm just subconsciously like working on it in my head. Right? Yeah. And I think it's really cool and exciting for them to go to school and come home and then see what it has changed. Yeah, it's, and it does inspire them. And I am seeing them try to copy things that I paint, it took, it took a while, like, you have to know that you have to be patient with some kids, like they're not going to just show interest in. And Charlie, my oldest showed so much resistance at first, so I just didn't push it. And then all of a sudden, in the last year, he is a big drawer, like an amazing drawer. And like his composition is on point. It's crazy. And he would draw his emotions through the panoramic. That's kind of home with these drawings. And with very, like, all different emotions on all of the people's faces, and it was a little bit sad. Of course. Yeah. His anxiety. But yeah, so his drawing skills have are just amazing. And then he has recently been trying to like copy certain pieces that he sees of mine. Yeah. And then they're both really giving their opinions on, on art. Like, yeah, on like, which paintings they like, and my little one van will always he's really into the water paintings and Hill. Yeah, he just offers his opinion on his favorites. And, and I have two really great friends I met online in the last year as well. And we're always sharing our work and critiquing each other and pushing each other along. Yeah. And sometimes, like, they'll see the little video clip and, and, you know, chime in on what they think of their work as well. It's really

well, that's lovely. I love

I love involving them in the process. Yeah. So even though we are just starting to do some collaborative, like paint, paint days and stuff and trying to do like Saturday mornings, there's a little online class that I'm trying to get all of us set up and I set them up exactly with all the things that I have. And I think that's really cool. But mostly, I think that they are part of my process. Not in the physical art making but like the inspiration side. Because reliving my childhood with my kids has been amazing. And definitely coming home and the nostalgia of like this place was sort of the initial inspiration and it's and yeah, now experiencing it alongside my kids and having all these adventures it's really special. So I'm trying to capture that in some of my future paintings. Yes, yeah, I really like to to give them that freedom in nature like as long as they're safe to explore and like I find they're just so confident because of it. You know? Yeah, it's really cool to see

Yeah, absolutely. I love the way you describe though you really reliving your childhood three children. That's just

Yeah. Thanks. Yeah, it reminds me when you say reminds me of my oh me when I when I describe that because I actually think I'm trying to provide them with sort of the same experience that that she provided with me. I purposely avoid driving anywhere I make them walk incredible distances. You know, we're like always picking flowers and, and just really getting into things like that. And that's that's what she did with me. And I remember sometimes finding it annoying, you know, when I was an older child care thing, stopping at the side of the road to pick flowers and stuff and she's taking like photos of my brother sister and I and I And now we appreciate it so much and, and all of those flowers and stuff remind me of her. So yeah, I'm just hoping that they remember that when they're an adult as well, right? I just, yeah. That's just beautiful. I'll go tingly now. Lovely.

Similarly, like I had my, my Nana was real, it was very, very close to her. And she wasn't musical, but she was the one that bought us. My sister and I are first like organ like the double keyboard organ is fun to sort of encourage us to play and she passed away when I was 10. So and she's never met, obviously never met my children, but she inspires so much of my music and decisions that I make. And, you know, it's just incredible that someone who's not here has just informed our lives so much. It's just lovely.

And yeah, it's the people that are really present with you. Not just going through the motions there. They put in sort of the hard work and, and, and the tough love.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's really interesting. You say that.

I interviewed a lady from she's Hungarian. But she now she lives in Austria. And it's, this is really funny. I have these runs of people that I talk about the same things with like, it goes through phases. And so the last thing I spoke to, and you have talked about the same thing about a significant grandmother, who had such an impact on them, and the same thing that that tough love like this, this grandma would be like, you're not playing that right. Like she's a flute played, played again. Not like that, play it again, play it again. And at the time, she's like, Oh, come on, like this is, you know, you felt like she was she was punishing her. But she's like, now I understand why she was doing it. And it's made me who I am and all this sort of stuff. And yeah, she passed away early as well. So all these people that is

mighty Yeah.

You talked about your watercolor that you you sort of adventuring into and including your children in your work. What sort of other thoughts have you got about the future for your art practice? Was it sort of hinting?

Yeah, I have a lot of really exciting projects that I can't even really, they're not, you know, developed enough that I can talk about them yet. Yes, you're sort of man, it's only February. And the year is planned. Well for commissions, and it's just amazing. But there is one really big exciting thing that I'm starting, that I haven't talked about yet, but I do feel ready. And it is about everything in my life. It's just all making sense and coming together. And I guess I've always been waiting for the right idea like business, I always consider different business ideas. And so yeah, the last two years, we did a lot of the adventure, boating, checking out all these islands that I didn't even know existed. It's just crazy that it was like a 20 minute boat ride away and I had never discovered that. And we ended up purchasing a new boat in November. That would be suitable for this idea that I have. I'm going to start what's going to be called compete with me excursions. And I'm going to invite small groups of artists to go out with me on the boat, and I'm going to take them to paint plein air, meaning outdoor painting I'm just because a lot of people that live in this area actually don't have access to the water and the islands, and it's right there. But they've either never been on a boat or never really been on a tour in the area. Because there aren't a lot of there's just no businesses that enable that. Like there was one cruise boat from Midland that takes you on a couple hour cruise or whatever. But yeah, so this is going to be more of a, like a private tour, and we're going to select a destination based on the weather just like I always do, we really have to pay attention to weather. Yeah, because it can, if there's any chance of a major storm, I don't want to risk it. Even though I, I enjoy it. But yeah, so I have to upgrade my certification to be able to take this boats gonna be able to take 10 people. But for now, I'll be limited to a group of six people, which will be really nice. Yeah, I'm just trying to get the business end of all of that organized so that I can start advertising and start booking some dates. Trying to involve that in my my summer schedule with my, you know, my husband's schedule, the kids being home, all of that stuff. But I what I wanted is just to be on the water more, as much as possible, because for many years, I worked for my dad doing marine contracting. So like a lot of barging and doing the building of those cottages on these Rock Islands. And I just loved working on the water, you know, boating to work. And then it was very physical work. But it was amazing to be outside all day on the water. And then when you're on the water every day like that, like you experience, the different weather and kind of like magical things in nature, the wildlife that you see, sometimes it's just amazing. And you don't, you don't get as many opportunities like that if you're not consistently out there. So I feel like it's going to really support my own art practice. Yeah, I'm gonna get to do my little daily painting, even if I'm trying to instruct others and not really doing my own work. I'm just out there and fired. i It's like my favorite place to be. So I'm trying to position myself there. You know, while supporting myself financially, it'll support. it'll inspire my work, I'm sure. And we need a little more like community with the there's a lot of artists in the area. But it's a small town. Yep. You know, and so these kinds of things are needed. And I did one test run with a group of friends. Yeah. And it just, it was amazing. And like, just listening to everyone the ideas that were flowing and the chatter it was a group of women and they were just loving it right. It was very cool. And I've actually seen sort of the inspiration from that day in a in most of them like a lot of them started these new projects and stuff and I think I think a day like that can just give somebody an extra nudge

something new so yeah, just and then my, my paramedic background makes me feel confident to like take care of people. Yeah, in you know, a wild terrain. There's going I actually did a photo shoot on one of the islands I'm going to use and we pulled up with the photographer and there was a bear on the island to eating berries. And I was like are you serious? The time is right we need to do this photo shoot and there was a bear there and we just sort of paused for a couple of minutes and I checked with sorry there's major stomping upstairs Yeah, I just checked in with my friend and the photographer like are you guys still into this because I definitely was and the bear took off to the other end of the island is very small island and they were they were game and we went on the island we we obviously didn't go to the other end where the bear went. But we still did it because I don't know I know there's no for sure but there you could just tell we weren't bothering the bear. The bear didn't want anything to do with us.

Yeah, it just eaten some berries. He was full. We didn't need to eat some

kind of crazy so yeah, I would never, I, you know, if I see the group, I'm not going to go on the island. But personally, I take some more risks I think than other people would be willing to take. Just when I have those kinds of experiences, I feel I feel like it's like, a good omen or it's like good luck. It's like a sign from the universe. Right? So Oh, yeah. And it really made it memorable.

Yeah. You couldn't like try and position the bear in the background? So

a couple of shots of it, I'll definitely post them at some point.

Oh, that's so cool. I love that.

It was neat. Excited to start that, a lot of organization, obviously, but

yeah, like, you know, paperwork, kind of, yeah.

booking system, all of those things, but I'm just going to try and take it easy for the first year and, and just see the interest and stuff. I'm feel very confident about it, because there aren't many things available like this here. But yeah. And then, and then I've offered to be like a volunteer steward to keep an eye on some of these islands for conservation purposes. And oh, cool. Because they get a lot of people to just do that people that are cottagers to keep an eye on a particular island. And yeah, make sure people aren't leaving garbage behind and things like that. And, and it can extend into a major educational opportunity. Yeah, just to educate people how to enjoy it, but like in a zero footprint way. And

yeah, be respectful of the Yeah, because yeah, that's the thing you said, there's like 3000 islands, like there'd be so many where no one would be able to actually, like people can't be everywhere. So that's a great thing to do.

Yeah, so I just feel like tourism is going to become more of a thing up here. We're seeing some major booming with housing and stuff like that, right, as there is everywhere. But I yeah, I feel good about doing it in a responsible way. And I have a ton of experience here. And I just, I want people to respect it the same way that we do. We're out there all the time. But yeah. I would probably, you know, report to whoever is whoever owns the island or is responsible for the wildlife conservation. Like if we ever noticed an issue or something like that. So yeah,

that's wonderful. And it's like you're you're you're passing on like you've got such a connection such a love the area and you're sort of ensuring that it's cared for and looked after for for the next generations. You know,

yeah, it's, it's super important, right? Because I have been in those places in the world that the water is just almost and swimmable, it's so polluted. The microplastics in our lakes are actually are at a very high level. If you're paying attention to that kind of stuff, yeah, it's, it's already really bad. So hopefully, we can find a way to reverse some of that stuff.

When you're talking about the wildlife before? What sort of other animals do you get up there?

Yeah, so it's super unique here because of all of the rocks like the landscape and all of the islands. So there are I think there's a lot of I don't know enough about birds, but there are a lot of unique birds. There's a lot of marshland as well. And then we have very unique reptile aisles and master set a Massasauga rattler snake that is poisonous. So, like I grew up watching where you're walking for snakes just like in Australia. Oh, yeah, well, either that one. Yeah. So that's just normal to us it Yeah, it's hard for someone to get used to if that if they haven't grown up that way. But that's just part of it and you learn about them and they're not. They're not out like looking for you. They're very frightened of humans have.

Absolutely yes. It's

just something to be really careful of. And I think if you're educated on like, how to coexist with wildlife, then that's, that's the best way to be the rattlesnakes. Something super interesting is they actually protect the blueberry bushes. Oh, yeah. From being over picked and stuff. Like a lot of people won't go to the areas where there are all the wild blueberries because there are so many rattlesnakes there. I think originally it was to protect the berries from being over eaten by animals. But yeah, yeah. So um, but there are so many other types of snakes as well. Just that that is our only poisonous snake. Lots of birds of prey. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, you don't want to mess with an angry owl or something. Right. end We have pretty bad mosquitoes and things like that. But But yeah, it's it's pretty beautiful. I love very into nature. I that's what I focused on when I was a kid.

Yeah. Sounds wonderful.

I have a lot of fun with the kids with that stuff. We raised butterflies last summer. Yeah, right. Yeah, just stuff

like that. So

gosh, you're making me jealous. I want to go then. You'll have to come visit.

I honestly have been inviting people to come visit my whole life. Right. And I have hosted a couple of friends like I drove to Toronto and, and brought them up for the day and took them on a boat ride just to show them. And I just Yeah, I love that. I'm actually going to start a business like this. And can invite especially I've made a lot of artists friends. I'm a part of a few communities online now. Yeah, took me a while I was too shy to like officially join any of them for many years. And then I felt ready and it's been amazing. Yeah, the connections I've made and I know some of them will come visit eventually. Paint together.

Oh, that's awesome. Geez. I love that. Yeah, that's that's wonderful

I was gonna ask you whereabouts Did you like do a big lap of Australia? Like where did you go to when you're over here?

I started in Melbourne. I didn't I didn't go to where you live yet, but I Yeah, Melbourne. I went all the way up the coast, the East Coast. I was really lucky when I started. I stayed for two weeks with a friend. So we have friends here. She's Australian. He's Canadian. They ended up living here. And they are the ones that pushed me when I was considering it. I think I was thinking maybe three weeks. No. You need to go at least for three months. Yeah. It's turned into I think I booked an open ended ticket. Right. And it lasted eight months. Yeah. All the way up the East Coast. I did Fraser Island, you know through Whitsundays. I went all the way up to Cape Tribulation. Yeah. I never did the like the interior. Yeah, I didn't get to do that trip. But I flew over to Darwin, just there was just a layover. I didn't actually spend much time there. Although I really wish I could have and then I even did some of the West Coast. I stayed in Perth for a little while. And then I did more of a an organised tour of the West Coast, southwest coast. And in between there I also went to New Zealand and Southeast Asia and I did tomato planting. Do you know where Boeing is?

Boeing? Which was typesetting?

Um, it is. I'm trying to think if it's north of New South, I think it's near North. Oh boy. It's near Airlie Beach.

Oh, yeah, yeah, Queensland. Yeah.

It's where the film Australia was filmed. Yeah, right. Yeah. Here and they were looking for extras. Ah, yeah. And I it was, oh boy. It was a, I guess a bit of a risky situation. Like, somebody asked me if I'd ever Oh no, the guy that picked me up for the farm. asked me if I had ever seen Wolf Creek.

Oh, God. That's a great that's a great stuff.

Uh, he ended up being Canadian, which was great. Oh, and they had bought this hostile to ours. inland. I'm trying to think of Bowen was. I think Bowens coastal. Right. And then, yeah, so yeah, it is. It's right on the coast. Yeah. So two hours into the Outback, Bowen, and I worked on a tomato farm for five weeks. And it was called the bogey river Busch house. And such an amazing group of people that I met there. together first, most people were very broke. I spent every night at the bonfire on the like, dry riverbed. It was amazing. And I'm sure I will connect with some of those people. Eventually. They're all over the world. But yeah, it was a really cool experience. And we were all dreaming of going to Thailand because it was cheaper and, like, blew up into this massive trip. But yeah, that was one of the coolest experiences. And I got to see, like a true Aboriginal ceremony as well. Like, I didn't pay for it. We had a barbecue and oh, man, it was really amazing.

Oh, that's so cool. You've seen more of Australia than what I have. I

I haven't traveled enough of Canada, to be honest. So yeah.

It's funny how that happens.

Yeah, yeah, it was, it was the best place to start. Like traveling alone. It was it was awesome. Yeah.

Did you sort of feel comfortable because we all spoke English. You know, English is our language. And we're in a court. We're a Commonwealth country. So you know, yeah. sort of feels really familiar.

Pretty easy. That way, you know, not overly dangerous.

Yeah. And you use the snake, so that's okay. Yeah.

And I Yeah, exactly. If the watch for the spiders on the farms especially. Yes, that stuff didn't freak me out. Maybe because of where I'm from. Yeah. But oh, it was so beautiful. And I met the best people. And I was very lucky to have I don't know if they finished explaining that I stayed with the friend for two weeks initially, just outside of Melbourne. And then I just remember being ready to go on my own and the city and stayed in a hostel for the first time and, and I very quickly met a friend from Ottawa, Canadian. And he ended up being my travel partner through Thailand and stuff too. So yeah, I just made incredible friends. I was really lucky. I had a great time. And I don't know it's always timing,

right? Oh, yeah. That's it, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. Has my cat. Oh, good on. Yeah.

Thanks again. It's been great.

Yeah, I had so much fun. And thanks, sir. I'm just glad you found me.

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