Meet Liz! Liz is our newest regional contributor here at Pocket Cultures, and joins us from Sydney, Australia. Liz has lived and travelled all over Asia, but now she and her family have settled in Sydney, at least for the time being. In today’s interview, Liz tells us all about the best and worst parts of living in Australia, and what surprises people most when visiting her in Sydney (hint: contrary to popular belief, there aren’t kangaroos running wild all over the city!)

Tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Sydney, I’m married with two little girls and I love to travel, eat and write. I used to be Deputy Editor of AsiaLIFE Phnom Penh, a lifestyle magazine where I wrote a lot of the food articles and interviewed interesting locals and expats, plus the odd celebrity like singer Ronan Keating when he toured Cambodia. I updated the Phnom Penh section of two editions of the Cambodia & Laos LUXE city guide, wrote a Saigon column for Tiger Tales magazine and have freelanced for various other publications and websites. I also joined the blogosphere a few years ago, first with A Girl in Asia where I blogged about food finds, shopping, cafes and travel in Asia, and now at devoured ( which has similar topics but a Sydney focus.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I live in Sydney’s inner west, which is close to the city centre and a vibrant area with lots of young families and great cafes and markets. Before that I spent a lot of the last decade travelling or living overseas interspersed with some Sydney stints. I spent a year living and working in Canada in the early 2000s, embarked on an 8 month backpacking trip around Asia and the subcontinent a few years later, and more recently spent a few years each living in Phnom Penh  in Cambodia then Saigon in Vietnam. We moved back to Sydney a year ago after having two kids and wanting to be back home amongst loved ones while they’re young. We absolutely loved living in Asia for so many reasons, but there’s a nice feeling of stability, safety and comfort being back ‘home’. I wouldn’t rule out living somewhere overseas in the future though!

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

I love the idea that Pocket Cultures reveals intricacies of everyday life from other countries, and is an online meeting place for like-minded travel lovers and people with a more global outlook. One thing I’ve really enjoyed about travel blogging is connecting with great people from all over the world, and I’m hoping that my involvement with Pocket Cultures will provide a similar feeling of connectedness. It’s also a great platform for practicing and sharing writing amongst other bloggers.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Most days consist of playdates, playgroup, parks and library trips with my extremely energetic 1 and 3 year olds. We try a lot of local cafes and restaurants with cheap eats which they fortunately love just as much as I do. I write and blog when they’re sleeping, or whenever I can sneak it in!

What is the best part of living in Australia? The worst?

Some of the best bits about living in Australia are the opportunities for outdoor activities in a clean, natural environment – something I appreciate so much more after living in urban southeast Asia. The multiculturalism is another thing I love, especially the great food available from all over the world. Again, this is something I realised I really crave after living in Asia where there’s no such thing as popping over to a Greek, Italian or Middle Eastern neighbourhood for food shopping or exploration. Australia’s variety and accessibility to other cultures is fantastic. As for the worst, Australia’s distance from the rest of the world and the cost of reaching most of it is the first thing that springs to mind!

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

Some people are surprised by the rules and regulations of Australia, particularly visitors from less developed places. A friend from Vietnam who was visiting Australia for the first time couldn’t believe you had to stop and wait for a green light before crossing the road – they just wanted to charge out into the traffic and have it magically part like it does in Vietnam! Other people are surprised at the lack of ‘wildlife’ in the cities expecting to spot kangaroos and koalas at every turn, while others perceive  Australia as quite expensive compared to many parts of the world, even the US where most things are considerably cheaper.

About the author

Carrie is an American who just moved from Bali to Mendoza, Argentina. Carrie caught the wanderlust bug early on from her parents, who raised her in Mexico City. Carrie and her husband David have lived in New York, London, Barcelona, Costa Rica, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, and Bali before moving to Mendoza. They are actively working to pass on the travel bug to their young son Timmy, who has already been to twelve countries.