Barbara fulfilled her life-long ambition to work in the press gallery in Canberra (the Australian equivalent of the White House Press Corps) in 2006 when she was appointed the Australian Political Correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal.
After 18 months in the job, shortly after a life-changing cycling trip through Vietnam and Cambodia with her dad, Barbara decided to take a career break of “three months or so” in Vietnam.
You could say it’s been quite a long three months.
The Busy Career Break
Barbara’s career break included working as an editor at a newspaper in Vietnam, as an editorial consultant for an online news site in Vietnam, as an equities editor in Singapore and remote editing for a Singapore-based current affairs magazine, Asia360.
During this multi-year career break, Barbara also met a lovely man, had two children and set up Saigon Street Eats, a street food tour company that’s been mentioned in the Lonely Planet, The New York Times and The Independent.
Other adventures included:
- living in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for seven months;
- freelance corporate writing and editing;
- a failed attempt to cycle from Marseilles to Geneva; and
- a short stint as a social media manager for a Spanish agricultural group.
In late 2014, Barbara was offered a contract to update Fodor’s Vietnam guidebook. Several months of intensive research, travel and writing reignited her passion for storytelling and she is now determined that 2016 will be a literary year, as well as the year she completes several half-finished (but brilliant) writing projects. Stay tuned to the published work page for more details.
Barbara’s new writing push will draw heavily on the skills and experience she developed during her pre-career break days. Highlights of that long-ago career include:
- covering state and federal elections in Australia, including accompanying the leaders of the major political parties to various far-flung corners of Australia;
- exclusive interviews with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello, Finance Minister Nick Minchin, Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane and Iraq Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani;
- covering Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s trade mission to Indonesia and China in 2006;
- reporting on Australian equities for Bloomberg and Dow Jones Newswires, with beats ranging from transport, gaming, packaging and steelmaking to retail;
- working as the Queensland State Political Correspondent for Australian Associated Press for three years;
- working as AAP’s Melbourne-based Industrial Correspondent for a year, covering industrial relations and workplace issues; and
- working alongside many talented and interesting reporters and editors from all over the world.
As you can see, it’s been quite a ride!