Phoebe Blyth, our very first School Captain from the class of 2007, is currently living in Seoul, South Korea, working as an International Teacher. In 2020 she published her first book “Don’t Fall: Adventures in Love, Loss and Lead Climbing”. We were fortunate to be able to catch up with Phoebe for a chat about her adventures thus far.
“Ever since I can remember, there have been two major themes in my life: stories and travel. My family was always going on adventures, and moving around a lot when I was a kid. To keep my brother and I occupied when we traveled, my parents would tell us made up stories, or play audiobooks, or read us fiction – everything from Harry Potter to Roald Dahl – so travel and stories are inextricably connected in my mind. I guess it was inevitable that one day I’d write a travel story of my own.
I always loved writing and reading in school – shout out to my SCAS English teachers, Allan Guihot and Cath Carr, for that one – and I was so excited to study literature and creative writing in university, but I didn’t really find an outlet for my own writing until I started traveling alone and decided to blog about it. These blog posts led to a travel website, which led to an idea for a story, which (five years later) became “Don’t Fall”.
More than anything else, the writing process was a catharsis: it was a way of working through all the complicated grief and growth that came after my mum passed away. It’s an intensely personal story, so publishing it has been an exercise in vulnerability, but I hope that other people who have been through a similar experience may find in it some reflection of themselves. I also believe in the value of telling stories in which we have been vulnerable, made mistakes, and grown, because it shows how important it is in life to take risks and to fail. I made the decision to self-publish earlier this year (and I apologize to Mr G and Mrs C for any grammatical crimes I may have missed in the editing process), because I felt like this was a good time to offer readers some vicarious adventures – and perhaps a little escapism – after everything that has happened in the world recently.
I now work as an international teacher, and in 2020 moved from Saudi Arabia to South Korea (which was not a relaxing thing to do during a global pandemic). I don’t know what international travel is going to look like in the coming years, but I’m sure there will be stories to tell no matter what.
I’d like to thank everyone in the SCAS community for their support to my family over the years, and in particular to those of you who came to my rescue with endless proofreading requests while I was working on this story – you know who you are!”
Don’t Fall: Adventures in Love, Loss and Lead Climbing” is available on Amazon kindle (readable through the kindle app on any device), and will be available in paperback In Australia once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.