TEM Stories: Life is a journey, travel it well, travel it sustainably
Growing up in paradise
I was born and raised on the island of Tahiti, French Polynesia. I grew up surrounded by white sandy beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, tropical gardens, the smell of exotic flowers, colourful birds, amazing sunsets and all the things you imagine in a paradise destination.
I knew how to swim before I learnt how to walk. I spent countless hours at the beach, exploring the turquoise lagoons, swimming with multicoloured fish and friendly rays. I even learnt how to whistle while trying to communicate with hermit crabs (if you have ever tried to get a hermit crab to come out of its shell, then you know what I am talking about!). At school, the standard sports program included outrigger canoeing, which I now realise was a one-of-a-kind experience.
There is something really special about living in this part of the world. Many will tell you that you feel the life force that flows through everything. Polynesians call it Mana. The connection to the ocean and to Mother Earth is deep when you live there. I feel so privileged to have spent my childhood in Tahiti, surrounded by pristine nature. I have no doubt it has shaped the person I am today.
The travel bug
I must confess though; I have not always felt that grateful. When you have nothing to compare it with, it is hard to appreciate what you have. It took me a long time to realise how incredibly lucky I was to be born there.
So, any time I had a chance to leave my little island, I jumped onto the opportunity.
As a kid, high-level swimming competitions and training camps were my ticket to the world. It got me to travel across the Pacific Ocean and to discover amazing places like Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. I was also fortunate to have parents who thought understanding other cultures and learning foreign languages were an important part of education. Thanks to them, I spent many summer breaks learning English and Spanish in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Chile.
By the time I was 14, I had definitely caught the travel bug.
When I was 17, I left my home island and moved to France to pursue higher studies. Most of the decisions I made from there were based on the likelihood of travelling. I decided to get into a Business School because they had great student exchange programs abroad. It got me to study and work in San Francisco, Sydney and New York City.
My first professional experiences, with no surprise, ended up being in the travel industry.
Taking action for a greener future
But in my quest to see the world, I lost myself along the way. I felt like my life was missing something. I felt as if the connection to the environment I once had, was broken. I could not feel the Mana anymore.
I was living in New York when I decided to do something about it. I opted to go back onto the school benches and went for a Master of Sustainability. I wanted to make sure that the time and energy I put into a job had meaningful impacts for people and the planet.
My goal with those skills was to eventually work in Tahiti and implement sustainable initiatives into the local tourism industry. But life decided otherwise… My personal situation took me to Paris. I got a great job in the Corporate Social Responsibility department of a listed French company (in the construction sector) and worked there for 5 years. I learnt how to navigate those social and environmental issues in the corporate world. Being able to raise biodiversity, climate change, diversity, and other ESG issues at the top level was really rewarding.
My son was born in 2014 and that was another trigger that I needed to make adjustments in my life. I could not see my son growing up in a busy city like Paris. I think that is when I finally realised how blessed I had been, growing up in Tahiti, far from the stress of a bustling city, with crowded subways, noisy streets, and polluted air.
I am lucky my husband was on the same page and together we made the decision to change our lives.
In 2016, we packed all our belongings and moved to Australia. It was a real bet moving to the other side of the globe with a toddler in tow. But everything went smoothly and 5 years down the track, we are now a family of 4, enjoying life, by the beach, in Sydney.
Life with purpose
After navigating (and enjoying!) the early years of motherhood, I decided it was time for new challenges. I wanted to do meaningful work again.
I want to be accountable to my kids and make sure I do my best to leave them with a better world.
To do so, I was looking to be part of an organisation, on a mission, with a purpose, and that is when I came across Tasman Environmental Markets (TEM). On their careers page, you can read: “You will have more of an impact on the planet in one year with TEM than many people have in their lifetime”, and that really resonated with me.
Even better, with TEM, I have found a way to consolidate both of my passions: Travel and Sustainability.
I really believe that travel is a big force for good and I am pleased to have found a company that has the tools and solutions to help this sector take action on climate change. I am thrilled to participate in the expansion of TEM’s BlueHalo climate technology into the travel industry. And I am amazed at how reliable, easy and fast this software is to implement and most importantly, how it supports life-changing projects.
I am glad this is set to be the purpose of this new chapter in my life, and I cannot wait to bring others along on this journey!