About Me

I'm a science-enviro geek with a playful and curious nature, into lots of things and wanting to try everything. I love adventures and exploring things. My life is very hands-on, heart-on, mind-on.

Words that describe me: navigator, explorer, independent, creative, adventurous, curious, playful, green, flexible, adaptable, calm, multi-tasking, bubbly, smiling, joyful, loving, synthesising, cheerful, communicative, interested, busy, friendly, smiling, druid, nature-loving, outdoorsy, kooky, intelligent, spontaneous, imaginative, free-spirited.
Words that I'm working on describing me better: aware, compassionate, alert, thoughtful, observant.

Back to home * Professional details * My photo gallery * My live journal
A short biography * My interests * Some philosophical traits and beliefs * FAQ

A short biography

I was born in Albany, Western Australia, on the 7th of October 1974. I grew up on an avocado farm in Torbay, surrounded by goats, forest, big granite boulders and lots of interesting plants. I went to school in Albany first, then in Geraldton for years 6-9 (including three terms living at Dellahale Hostel), then completed years 10-12 in Bunbury.

I spent 1993, the year after year 12, in the United States, meeting and living with my extended family, exploring, meeting new people and discovering my other country. I also spent it studying TEE Physics, and came home in time for the university entrance exams.

I studied Applied Physics at Curtin University, though it was a close call between that and public relations. As part of university life I got involved with the university radio station, 6NR, where I worked and volunteered for eight years. I also worked in the Department of Applied Physics as a liaison officer for four years. During my studies I delved into computer science (particularly systems, networking, communications and artificial intelligence), which is where I met my former husband, Dion Mendel. He and I were married in 1998. I finally completed my degree in December 2000 after studying part time for some years.

After university I accidentally fell into work with the fire brigade, taking triple-0 calls. If you rang 000 (emergency number in Australia) and you wanted fire or rescue, and you were anywhere in Western Australia, you'd get us. And we'd deal with it. It was very interesting work which I turned out to be reasonably good at. I worked in the Communications Centre in this position on and off as a casual and contractor until April 2005. I also began working as a freelance science communicator. Science communication was the career path I'd shifted towards by the end of my degree, after having variously considered options such as ranger, meteorologist or systems administrator. The opportunities I was getting were freelance, so I took them.

In my time in Perth I continued with the environmental interests I'd been developing. I volunteered as a guide in Kings Park and Botanic Garden from 1999-2005. I studied primitive skills such as survival, tracking and tool making. I co-wrote a wildflower book, and photographed a set of reference albums on Perth trees.

In April 2004 Dion and I agreed to separate, and I worked a last year in Perth tidying up odds and ends before hitting the road to wander solo for a while. I arrived in Melbourne in May 2005, with the intent of looking for work and seeing what opportunities came up while I explored a new city and state. I've been here since, freelancing, exploring and meeting people, continuing to build my career as a science communicator while also trying to build myself into the person I want to be. That's a never-ending task -grin-.


Tracking and trailing, forests, local ecosystems, wildflowers, trees, water and climate, weather, primitive skills, bush survival, remote area first aid, camping, navigation, bush caretaking.

Physics, codes and cryptography, puzzles, computer networks and systems, cool gadgets and interesting inventions, memory.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Aikido, orienteering, rogaining, tree climbing, gymnastics, all kinds of dance, deep-water aerobics, acrobatics, circus skills.

Languages, body language, music, singing, watching theatre, reading books. Drawing, writing, telling stories, performing, stage management, making costumes.

Gardening, permaculture and organics, horticulture, landcare, druidry, ethnobotany, food-as-medicine, cooking.

Travelling, exploring.

Some philosophical traits and beliefs

Last modified on 19 May 2006
This page is a creation of Tiki Swain for and on behalf of Tiki Swain. If I say Tiki Swain one more time, the webcrawlers might notice it.