Monday, 30 January 2017

Coffee chat with travel author, Jennifer Burge


Joining me on my blog today is an author who has travelled around the globe and is currently calling Australia home.
 
Jennifer Burge writes travel memoirs, has a career as a public speaker on the challenges and rewards of taking on a career in a new country, she is a professional blogger, and also a columnist for ExpatFocus.com.
 
Jennifer talks about the reality of picking up and moving to an entirely different country to start a career. It has its rewards, and its consequences. She's keeping it real, and for that we give her the title of an Aussie author.
 
DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you have your coffee (or not as has been the case)? And what is your favourite time of the day to partake?
 
JENNIFER: I humbly admit that I am a caffeine addict. My morning coffee needs to be extra strong and on the way-too-sweet side for most humans. At home I cut myself off about 10am but if I’m out and about, I will order a doppio espresso at any time. It hits the bloodstream quickest.
 
DL: As an Aussie writer who pitches to publishers and agents worldwide, I write using American spelling and words when I'm pitching to the US, then I convert it back to Australian spelling and words when I pitch to Aussie publishers. Now that you're living in Australia, have found the need to change from American to Australian language when you send out work to the media or publishers? And have there been any Australian words that have you stumped about their meaning?        
 
JENNIFER: Australia is my fifth country of residence and the second which uses UK spelling. Unless I am writing for an Australian publication or to an Australian organization, I still use American English. My books are written in American English using the Chicago Manual of Style. This has indeed tripped me up with Australian editors and third parties, but since the majority of my readership lies outside of Australia, I don't see this changing. After five year of Australian residency and a whole six months of citizenship, I still sound ridiculous when I say "G'day". My "mate" is progressing nicely, however.
 
I’ll probably never forget the first BBQ invitation I received from an Aussie when living in Singapore. We were asked to bring “togs” and let her know for sure if we were coming so she knew how many “snags” to put on the barbie. I had to ask for translation. My favorite expression is “gobsmacked.” It is so incredibly vivid.
 
DL: You travel the world as your mission, and kudos to you for making these huge moves sound like such an exciting adventure, but what country or culture always calls to you the most?
 
JENNIFER: On my first visit to Australia over Christmas 2008, I landed in Queensland and I was immediately drawn to it. Staying in Port Douglas and making my first trip to the Great Barrier Reef certainly didn’t dampen the effect. There is an openness here that I had never felt in Europe or Asia. For years after I left, I was determined to make it my home. I relocated here in May 2011.
 
The one place I can’t seem to stay away from for shorter trips is New Zealand. I made my first trip there in 2010 at a particularly trying time in my life and it was the balm my soul required. The remoteness, the incredible scenery, the wit and friendliness of the people there—add those things up along with the brilliant wines and you have an A-plus score in my book. My fondness for it also has a great deal to do with how easy it is to be completely alone there, an impossible feat in most of Europe and Asia.
 
DL: It's easy to romanticise travel. It's fresh and shiny, like opening a present. But there are also risks of personal danger and culture clash when we travel anywhere, even travelling to another socio-economic area can be fraught with trouble. What's the number one piece of travel advice that you generally give to everyone to ensure they are safe and have fun?
 
JENNIFER: Be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes open at all times. I’m not a timid person and enjoy travelling solo, but when you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you that something isn’t right—heed it. Get yourself out of whatever the situation is pronto and don’t look back.
 
DL: Before I started writing, I never critiqued the writing, I just enjoyed the book or not. So it was like reading with blinkers on. When you write about your travel destinations, I imagine you have to remove the blinkers to see the world how it is, not how it looks on a postcard. Does writing about the travel mean you're more critical of places now?
 
JENNIFER: Many people say that I’m critical—absolutely—but the reality is that I’m simply being honest about what’s going on beneath the surface. It takes time to work out the mechanics of a new place. Visiting and residing in a new country/culture are not the same thing by any means. Sadly, popular culture is rarely about truth and therefore my no-bullshit views are often perceived as ruthless criticism.
 
After reading so many books about women relocating overseas and the blissful lives they lead, I wanted to be real. Overseas living has as many potential pitfalls as it does rewards and it can be (and has been at times) a horribly isolating experience. When I left the United States for Germany in October of 2001, I searched relentlessly for a book that would help illustrate the life of a professional female abroad. I never found it. That’s why I felt it was my responsibility to write The Devil Wears Clogs.  Similarly, my unpreparedness for Singapore and life in Asia was anything but redemption—hence the ironic title of the sequel Singapore Salvation.
 
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?
 
JENNIFER: I’m not a biscuit or cake person, but I’ll rarely say no to crème brûlée or chocolate mousse. Too bad they rarely appear with morning coffee!
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Jennifer has twenty years of professional and cultural experience as a management consultant and certified project manager working in ten countries. While living in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Australia, she has acquired extensive knowledge of what it takes to be a professional across the globe.
 
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wears-Clogs-Jennifer-Burge-ebook/dp/B00SILZS5U/
Have you contemplated what your life would have been like if you lived abroad? Have you dreamt of taking your career overseas? You are not alone. The victim of an extreme case of wanderlust, author Jennifer Burge, has been on a mission to see as much of the world as possible, beginning with Europe. At thirty, Jennifer began the journey in real-life, having one of the world’s largest tech consulting firms finance her plans.
 

 
BUY THE BOOK
 
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
 
 
 
 
 
Thanks to Jennifer for dropping by. Enjoy traveling around the world. We're all super jealous.
 
Thanks to all the readers for dropping by. D L xoxo

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