Hello, I’m Vanessa.
In mid-2016, my fiancé and I sold our assets and moved to Heathcote in Central Victoria (Australia). For 18 months I worked as the Business Development and Engagement Officer at Mitchell Shire Council. Although I loved the work, an inner voice was gnawing at me. Then, at 4:40 pm on September 4, 2017, I was forced to make a decision.
To continue living a life I thought the world expected of me….or to start living one I wanted for myself.
The journey wasn’t easy, but fast forward to today…..
I've got a goal. To document the stories of 100 regional business owners, community members and government leaders for my debut book: Spark Rural! a Journey to Renewal in the Aussie Bush. Whilst it charts my own journey, a messy, yet successful escape from corporate and city Australia, the book also analyses the decentralisation question through 21st Century eyes.
Australia's major cities are struggling with unsustainable population growth. There is dangerous pressure on resources and infrastructure. Housing is increasingly unaffordable. For the first time, we are placing entire generation 'at risk' of an unstable, if not catastrophic, financial future. Is this what we want?
So what can be done?
A lot, I think. But it's going to take commitment and action from many people. To get the ball rolling, I'm travelling around Victoria and NSW in 2018. In April I'm off to Canada and the USA. My goal is to better understand the benefits and challenges of living and doing business in the regions. Plus form an understanding as to how "future of work trends" can be applied in regional Australia. Conversations and interviews will be both online and face to face. In addition to writing, I'm documenting people, places and things with my trusty Canon EOS200D.
Spark Rural! is an entirely self-funded project, although I won't say no to sponsorship. My income is through two streams: a 12 month 'safety net' that Trevor and I have worked hard to achieve. I am also undertaking writing and community engagement projects. If this piques your interest, please drop me a line!
Writer and Community Engagement Specialist
Regional revitalisation through micro-business
BOORT, Vic Feb 16-18
KERANG, Vic Feb 19
SWAN HILL, Vic Feb 19 - 20
MILDURA, Vic Feb 20-23
INTERNATIONAL STUDY TOUR Apr 13 - May 12
HONG KONG, SAN FRANCISCO, TORONTO, NEW YORK, BOSTON, RURAL PENNSYLVANIA, PHOENIX, LA.
I will be examining trends in the future of work and 'disruptive innovation', to see how new ideas may be applied in the Regional Victorian and Southern NSW context, to power our local economy.