KATE LAWRANCE

SHE’S BACK HOME AF­TER EM­BARK­ING ON A SPON­TA­NEOUS SEACHANGE, BUT KATE HAS LEFT A PIECE OF HER HEART IN VAN­U­ATU

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - PEOPLE - AS TOLD TO ANN WASON MOORE

Igrew up in Ip­swich. I came to the Gold Coast to study en­vi­ron­men­tal science ma­jor­ing in eco-tourism at Grif­fith Univer­sity and that’s where I met my hus­band Justin.

We ac­tu­ally met in chem­istry class, which is kind of cute.

I thought he was a bit of a dork but he had a car and I only had a bike so he won me over.

I started my PhD af­ter we got mar­ried but I never fin­ished be­cause we started hav­ing kids.

I don’t think you ever re­alise how much kids change your life un­til you go through it. I sud­denly went from be­ing a re­ally busy, sporty, ca­reer-driven per­son to be­ing es­sen­tially house­bound in the Gold Coast sub­urbs.

It was quite iso­lat­ing and Justin could see I was bored so we de­cided it was time to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

I hopped on Google one night and found this re­sort for sale in Van­u­atu.

We de­cided that’s what we’d do. So we packed up our son Eden, who was about one at the time, and headed for the is­lands.

Once we saw the re­sort we re­alised it wasn’t for us, but we found a night­club for sale. So we bought that in­stead.

Justin’s al­ways been the en­tre­pre­neur­ial type, we’d al­ready started and sold an eco-tourism com­pany on the Gold Coast, but this was a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.

The night­club is for lo­cals, not tourists, and they just loved it. We ac­tu­ally did make money from it.

It played mainly reg­gae and R&B but it was Justin who was hands-on. He was there ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day night while I’d take one for the team on the week­end days and get the kids out of the house so he could sleep.

By that time we had a daugh­ter, and later we had our third child. They all grew up on the is­land, learn­ing three dif­fer­ent lan­guages and just liv­ing a sim­ple life.

We all loved it. Justin and I had the week days to our­selves. We’d surf to­gether, go get mas­sages to­gether. It was awe­some.

One of the best things we did over there was in­tro­duce AFL to the is­lan­ders.

Justin al­ways loved it and we both used to um­pire games on the Gold Coast. Then one of the other umps said I should play as well. I played for the Surfers Par­adise De­mon­ettes and it was so much fun.

It was full on, there was al­ways an am­bu­lance pulling up and cart­ing us off the field but we loved it.

When we got to Van­u­atu they had never heard of AFL so Justin taught them. The kids were just ad­dicted to it and even­tu­ally we set up AFL Van­u­atu.

The high­light was when our team of nineyear-olds was in­vited to play one of the half­time games at the MCG, I think it was be­tween Colling­wood and Carl­ton.

Just see­ing their faces as we landed at the Mel­bourne air­port was amaz­ing. They were just gor­geous kids.

We fi­nally came back home in 2013 af­ter seven years over there. It was sad but we de­cided our kids needed to go to an Aus­tralian school. The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem just isn’t the same over there.

We’ve all ac­tu­ally set­tled in re­ally well to Gold Coast life. We love the school the kids are at and we run our own real es­tate agency now. I think we’ll al­ways be try­ing new things.

I’ve just started um­pir­ing for my son’s AFL club, it’s great to con­tinue that.

We still own the night­club in Van­u­atu as well, we could never com­pletely give up our is­land life.

“ONE OF THE BEST THINGS WE DID OVER (IN VAN­U­ATU) WAS IN­TRO­DUCE AFL TO THE IS­LAN­DERS.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.