The Octopus

Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

When I first started writing at a young age I came to an important realisation: I knew nothing about the world. I decided at that moment that in order to be a writer I needed to go exploring. It is this mentality that has shaped my attitude to life and to writing thus far. It is a mentality that has taken me to the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific and it continues to drive me to seek out more adventures and knowledge.

Within this website you will find writings on all of my travels, however in the last few years my interests have focused upon the plight of the world’s displaced people. I met my first asylum seeker in Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre in March 2012. He was a Tamil man from Sri Lanka. Like me, he was aged in his twenties. He had rope burns around his neck from a recent suicide attempt. He told me that the Australian government had decided he didn’t have a genuine claim for refugee status in Australia. His neck bore the scars of hopelessness.

During that visit a woman called Fabia, now a dear friend of mine, told me the refugee issue in Australia was an octopus that would take over my life. Three years later, Fabia’s words seemed prophetic.

Since that visit I spent 10 months working for the Salvation Army in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre (RPC), one of Australia’s offshore detention centres designed to deter asylum seekers from arriving to Australia by boat. For the last two years I have been employed as a social worker assisting asylum seekers to settle in communities in Sydney and in March 2014 I published The Undesirables: Inside Nauru, an account of my time working inside the Nauru RPC. More recently I embarked on a journey through Asia to broaden my knowledge and understanding of the situation of displaced peoples in the world.

This website and my writings are an opportunity for us to broaden our collective understanding of each other and our world. Together we will explore cultures and people, injustice and persecution; adventure and discovery. We will discuss people who flee conflict and seek protection and we will consider how governments of the world come to terms with mass displacement of people.

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