I was born in war-torn Beirut in 1983 and lived intermittently between our underground shelter, our Beirut apartment, and several village homes. The village life was my first experience of being immersed in nature, and it was an idyllic respite from chaos.
Months short of my sixth birthday, my parents, my older brother and I escaped danger by boat to Cyprus and then flew out to Sydney. I was separated, for the first time, from the life I had known.
In the face of obvious dangers, I viewed my experience as an adventure, and all credit goes to my parents. Despite their anxieties while shielding us from harm, they were successful in making us feel safe and raising us fearless.
From 1989 onwards, I travelled between Australia and Lebanon, living in and visiting both countries. It became the norm to pack and leave everything behind. I had to slowly teach myself to make peace with the loss of people, places and personal belongings and accept the new and foreign. I often go through cyclical detoxes, both emotional and physical. This is why I own very little, but this will always be a constant work in progress.
I now teach at a high support needs centre as well as at three primary schools. In 2014, I was challenged by some students and their classroom teacher to drastically change my lifestyle to a more environmentally-conscious one.
At the same time, Lebanon was going through a severe trash crisis. And my many travels around Australia and beyond showed me that natural environments, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Glaciers in Colombia, are suffering and are no longer as impressive as they once were.
This has given me the drive to develop a sustainability project to show children that they are well-equipped, and have the ability to be as influential as adults, if not more so. I will keep the updates coming as this promising project progresses to completion.