Laura Ogden:

 
“Mobility is often challenging, 
  but always interesting.”​

 

                                                                                                                                   

It all started in Africa...
“Movement and migration have shaped my life since the very beginning. My English mother met my Australian father on a safari in Africa in the 1970s - yes, they were total hippies! After a few months travelling together on the back of a truck, my dad proposed, my mum said ‘yes’, and within a year she was living on the other side of the world. Her move to Australia was a big deal: she moved at a time when her communication ‘back home’ was through weekly handwritten letters to her own mother and rare phone calls on birthdays and at Christmas.

Family in England

Growing up, I travelled with my mum to visit our English family every two years. I had a strong attachment to and pride in my English heritage, and absolutely loved the wintery (and sometimes white) Christmasses, the patchworks green fields, and my aunt’s Bakewell tarts and shepherd’s pies. As a child, I also travelled a lot with my parents: Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Hawaii, the Australian Outback, Hong Kong and Macau… And by the time I was in high school, I was itching to go explore on my own.


Travelling on my own
At 16, I did an exchange in Germany, where I attended a local high school and was immersed in the language. When I graduated from high school, I took a gap year and travelled and worked my way through Europe. At university, I majored in Latin American Studies, and did the final year of my degree at a college in Mexico City. My year in Mexico was incredibly exciting, and sometimes confronting: a city of extremes, Mexico City contains lavish wealth and grinding poverty, thick pollution and gorgeous mountain vistas, and the incredible, inevitable diversity of a valley housing more than the population of Australia. My time in the city, and travelling through Mexico and Guatemala, fuelled my interest in the arts and social justice - threads that would continue to weave through my life and work.


Move to Timor-Leste
After a few years back in Australia, working in the arts and volunteering with asylum seekers, I moved to Timor-Leste (East Timor), a tiny, tropical country in South East Asia. Timor-Leste was a Portuguese colony for centuries before being occupied by Indonesia in the 1970s. Gaining its independence in 2002, Timor-Leste was the first new country of the millennium, and my work there was part of a large, ongoing effort to help reconstruct the nation after a long history of colonialism, occupation and conflict. This effort brought people from all corners of the world, and the fact that I encountered something new, confusing, and bizarre every day made Timor a fascinating, exciting, and sometimes exhausting place to live.


Living a transnational life
During my nearly four years living in Timor, I met my partner, Bernardo, who is from Portugal. A few years ago, we decided to move to The Netherlands to continue our studies. Our lives are now centred in the Netherlands, but our personal and professional networks extend around the world and take us to near and far corners of the globe on a regular basis. As anyone living a transnational life knows, while it’s great to have many homes, sadly, you can’t be in all of them at once. But things are much easier than when my mum moved to Australia decades ago - now, weekly video calls and daily text messages help collapse the distance and bring my various ‘homes’ together.

Besides, my movements around the world have taught me languages, allowed me to take on diverse professional projects, have introduced me to some of the most important people in my life, and have given me a deep curiosity about, and appreciation for, the world’s complexity and my very real privileges in it. Mobility for me has meant a life that is often challenging, but always interesting.”

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