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177 Nations of Tasmania - Episode 52 - Beautiful Bolivia

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Sometimes in these interviews that I do, the thing that I think is going to be interesting, doesn't end up being much of a focus but then something else unexpected turns up in the person's personal journey. So the moral of this is that you always have to keep your ears and, more importantly, your mind open to identify the potential of different angles.

Why do I raise this ? Well, of course, something like this happened for me in my interview with Lucia. You don't meet Bolivians every day in Tasmania, and Bolivia is a country with an interesting culture, geography and history which is different in so many ways to Tasmania, that just the mere fact that you're talking with someone from Bolivia in Tasmania is kind of fascinating in itself, but can blind you to other angles. Although we did talk a bit about life in Bolivia, when I listened back to the interview what struck me was the personal journey that Lucia dhad been on to get where she is now in Tasmania. There's quite a bit of vulnerability involved in talking about feeling lost and trying to find direction at a certain time of life, and then describing some of the major setbacks she had experienced in her first year in Tasmania - mostly COVID-related of course.

This aspect of Lucia's story I found personally very relatable, and I'm sure many others, both migrants and non-migrants would too. What also stood out, and what I've experienced with other migrants I've interviewed in Tasmania, was Lucia's determination to get outside her comfort zone. The decision to travel to Melbourne to do a particular course that was going to be a big change in direction career-wise was one example. The other was her determination after a while to try and avoid the easy option of being around Spanish-speakers all the time in Melbourne. And then the choice to come to Tasmania, although it did fit with her aims to work in the eco-tourism field, was another perhaps risky choice.

But of course, being in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic was hard on many people, but especially new migrants like Lucia, and she speaks fairly frankly of the difficulty of finding another job in that time and being 9 months without work, and as anyone who has experienced something like this knows, it eats away at your self-esteem and erodes your self-confidence...and that's without even considering the experience of being in a new place where you don't yet have good social or professional networks and feeling you haven't quite mastered the language yet as well.

But Lucia seems to have ended up in a good place right now, working at the Spring Bay Mill, which is a pretty funky events centre out at Triabunna, on the redeveloped site of an old timber mill.

So the lesson in all this ? You can find something different but nevertheless significant in every story, it just might not be what you expected at the outset, and I think this was the kind of story that will help people understand and emphasise with another significant aspect of the migrant experience.


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