My mission is to inspire people to have vibrant health, discover their passions, have fun adventures and overcome the challenges of life.
My name is Ally and I'm grateful to share experiences and tips. Thank you for reading and sharing the journey and adventures of life.
Aunty Ally’s Introduction
My name is Ally and I am originally Canadian from Victoria BC Canada. Presently a proud citizen of Sydney Australia.
Why the name AuntyAlly? I have never had children although I adore most of them and have wonderful nieces and nephews both related and adopted including Melanie, Andrew, Chloe, Elias, Samuel, Benoit and Rachel.
While in University I nannied a precious, cheeky baby called Michelle who has grown up to now live and work in London as a classy, sassy adventurous soul who I am so proud of. She is the closest I came to having my own child and I adore her to this day. So I’m officially her aunty too.
As an English as a second language teacher I adopted many young students, sometimes far away from home and came to love them like family. They make me so proud and inspire me with their amazing lives everyday including: Yukino and Hiroko from Japan; Tam & Jo from Thailand; Phi, Phuc, Viet, Vi, Van and Bao from Vietnam, Kyaw from Myanmar; Hendra and Anisah from Indonesia; and Robin from China. I met most of their families in my travels to their respective countries, which was a sheer delight, and we keep in touch on Facebook regularly. I am so proud of the amazing people, parents, entrepreneurs and business people they have become.
In Asia they still truly believe it takes a village to raise a child. Close family friends quickly become Aunty and Uncle as a sign of respect. I love that.
Ten Facts About Me
Lifelong Passion for Travel and Food
Travel and food have always been my passions. It fits my new job as a part time Independent Thermomix™ Consultant perfectly. I follow a strict gluten, dairy, sugar and low FODMAP diet to deal with my immune and autoimmune challenges and decrease and lower the intensity of flareups.
Since I was a wee child I stood on a stool so I could reach the counter and stove top to cook. I love experimenting with food, inspired by my grandmother and both parents. My parents were into healthy eating so I was baking bread with honey, making yogurt, and always loved experimenting and making food from different cultures adapting them to suit my families palette and food allergies.
I dreamt of travelling since I can remember first to Europe. I always said I would marry a man with an accent and I did. I always wished I had an accent and was delighted when I learned that I do, I am now in linguistic limbo from living and working in so many places, having left Canada in 1995 😉
I love to communicate with people from all different countries who speak other languages. Only 10% of communication is verbal and I’ve had some of the best conversations of my life with people who don’t speak of word of English and I for example spoke only a few words of Tibetan, Nepalese, Swahili, Hindi, Mandarin, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Burmese etc.
Travelled to 52 Countries, Lived in Eight
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 52 countries and live in eight including Victoria, Kelowna, Zeballos, Black Creek, Vancouver and Calgary in Canada; Kyoto, Japan; Koh Samui / Koh Pha Nang, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; London, UK; Lausanne, Switzerland; Singapore; Cairns and Sydney, Australia
I love the movies Julie & Julia, the 100-Foot Journey, Chocolat, Babette’s Feast, and Like Water for Chocolate. I admire their portrayal of how the right intention and emotion while cooking is essential as it has the magick to uplift, heal and inspire those enjoying the meal. Cooking nutritious food with loving care, eaten in a calm, joyful atmosphere, with good and new friends is my favourite thing to do.
Adventurous and Love Outdoors
I have always been adventurous and loved the outdoors. I grew up in the rain forest on the ocean and love hiking, camping, camp fires, canoeing, kayaking and going to summer camp where we learned survival skills.
I now belong to AWDC and go four-wheel driving and camping regularly with an amazing bunch of people. I am a licensed Inshore Sailing Skipper in Canada and Australia. I owned and lived on a nine metre yacht in Victoria, a California Coronado sloop called Sheer Madness.
I am a PADI Divemaster and did my first dive in Monterrey, California, USA swimming with a baby seal for 15 minutes. I now have over 200 dives in 10 different countries.
I love cycling and have been an avid cycler all my life.
After travelling in Hokkaido, Japan I got inspired to get my motorcycle license at 25 in Canada and had a Honda CB400T. I rebuilt the engine myself. I rode various bikes all over the world including riding my BMW 650 Fundaro from Sydney via Whitecliffs, Broken Hill then off road to the Flinders Ranges, down the dirt Oodnadatta Track to Coober Pedy, then to Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon and back to Sydney.
Love at First Sight
I fell in love at first sight with my Swiss French husband who was living in Silicon Valley, California, USA working for Logitech. Many people comment that he looks like Russel Crowe with riveting blue eyes, curly dark hair and the loveliest smile. We met by chance, while I was teaching English and studying Japanese in Kyoto Japan. Lucky me!
Exchange Student in Japan
I was an exchange student in University to Ritsumeikan University in 1989 and studied Japanese Language and Culture. I was also studying traditional arts including: Tea Ceremony: The Way of Tea, Aikido martial art, Ikebana flower arranging, calligraphy, scroll painting, traditional Kaiseki Ryori and family cooking in Kyoto, Japan in 1998. The way of Tea with the most amazing experience with the amazing Sensei Reiko and it profoundly changed my life. I now say my religion is Tea as it encompasses all things dear to me and I have always loved tea.
Health Challenges and Car Accidents
I have been in two serious car accidents since moving to Australia. These have taken me on a profound healing journey and changed the trajectory of my life. I work hard at steadily healing but it’s been a slow and challenging process.
I am still disabled and find many daily tasks that used to be very simple quite difficult. My energy levels are sporadic and I have occasional migraines although much improved after a 3 1/2 year daily severe migraine after my last accident. I have had a many friends and family, in Sydney and around the world, who have been supportive and have come to love and appreciate them even more, especially my loving, supportive, patient hubby Gilles
I am in severe chronic pain everyday but have learned a lot of skills to deal with this. With the support of my dearest hubby, my naturopaths, amazing caring staff at the Greenwich Pain clinic, supportive skilled staff at Lady Davidson Hospital rehabilitation centre, my doctor, psychologist, neurologist, and many others.
I have had one surgery in November and have another on my ear to correct my balance in February. I have many disintegrated discs in my back which pinch nerves in sciatica and other areas.
I have occasional dizzy spells from ear damage so need to use a cane while walking to not fall down and cannot drive when these unpredictably occur. Being overtired, loud busy places like shopping malls and airports can bring on the dizziness.
My healing journey continues and I am very motivated to pass on what I have learned to others facing similar or very different but challenging life circumstances.
Love my Grandma
My Grandma Dorothy Cherbo was one of the most amazing people I ever met. She had a profound influence on me and was a professional chef, traveler and creative persona extraordinaire.
I visited her for holidays while she worked as a chef at five star resorts and hotels. I learned my passion for all things in the art of food from her: eating and cooking with passion, feeding people with loving emotion, chopping, creating new recipes and how to tear lettuce gently so it doesn't bruise 😉
Grandma loved travelling and took me to Disneyland. She loved going to Reno every year to play black jack which I helped her practice and got to keep the pennies I won!! She passed away very young at 65 and I miss her every day. I always keep dill in her memory as she grew amazing tall dill plants in her garden.
Love my Dad Neil
My Dad and my adopted Dad Neil were both incredible men. I learned so much that shaped who I am today from them. Neil introduced me to Buddhism, bullshit detection and freedom all with his wicked sense of humour.
Originally he worked as a Canadian RCMP: Royal Canadian Mounted Police, then transferred to Special Ops chasing Russian spies around the world in the day. Now he is a psychologist and writer telling and writing riveting tall tales about his spy chasing days. He has survived 7 pacemaker operations and lung cancer surgery in the last few yars.
I love him with all my heart and soul and miss him every day as he lives in my hometown of Victoria, Canada. I am delighted to be attending his wedding in January 2016 to an amazing woman.
What to do When I Grow Up ?
I could never decide what I wanted to do when I grew up so have had a wide variety of jobs including: Independent Thermomix Consultant; health, life and nutrition coach; Reiki Master teacher and practitioner, Certified Australian Bush & Bach Flower practitioner; English as a second Language Teacher in Kyoto, Japan, Singapore, London, UK and Sydney, AU.
Journalist for health, food, travel articles for women’s, food, travel and health magazines; corporate writer for corporate website content, corporate Facebook sites, personal and corporate writing coach; novel writing for travel adventures, children’s magical realism books and chick lit; writing coach for individuals and companies; editor for magazines, corporate documents, resumes, corporate letters, website content
Event coordinator for Camosun colleges five campuses, Canadian Ministry of Forests, educational fairs in Singapore, event companies in Sydney at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and Sydney Olympic Park
Nanny and waitress from the age of thirteen in Canada and kebab seller on the esplanade in Cairns AU in 1995, Nutrimetics salesperson for all natural cosmetics and face products, and many shorter interesting jobs.
Insatiable Curiosity and Desire to Learn
I have an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn so have studied countless degrees, diplomas, certificates and courses and even started a Masters programs. A few are listed below including:
University of Victoria, BC Canada
General Arts: Anthropology: Native Indian & Pacific Rim Studies; Linguistics: French & Japanese; Children’s, English & Japanese Literature, Environmental & Cultural
Geography, Psychology, Sociology, & Political Studies
Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan
Japanese Language and culture
Japanese Traditional Arts in Kyoto, Japan
Tea Ceremony - The Way of Tea; Traditional Japanese Cooking and Formal Kaiseki Ryori; Aikido Martial Arts with weapons, Ikebana Flower Arranging, Calligraphy and Painting for Scrolls
University of London, UK for Media Studies
Journalism, Editing, Children’s Literature and Screenwriting
Cambridge University, UK
CELTA English as a 2nd Language Teaching for Adults
Birkbeck College, London UK
Sculpture & Pottery
University of South Australia based in Singapore
Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy
Nature Care College, St Leonard’s, Sydney
Certificate in Nutrition, Homeopathy, Certificate in Bach Flower Remedies
Diploma and Bachelor studies in progress
NSW Writers Centre, Australian Writers Centre, Sydney Writers Festival
Creative and technical writing, editing & blogging courses
Jansen Newman Institute
Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy
Certified Travel Agent, Tour Guide & Fitness Instructor in 1982
Reiki Master Practitioner & Teacher
Practitioner and teacher since 2011, Koh Samui, Thailand
Wat Kow Tahm, Koh Phanang, Thailand
I've done 10 ten-day silent Vipassana meditation retreats focusing on compassion loving kindness and mindfulness in Thailand since 1996.
Iyengar, Hatha and Power yoga practitioner since 1984
Tai Chi and Qi Gong practitioner for over 1990
Greenwich Hospital Pain Clinic.
Pain management, Tai Chi, stretching, mindfulness and meditation in 2014.
Quest for Life, Benowa, Australia.
Trauma and illness recovery, life skills such as meditation, yoga. 3 sessions since 2012.
Lady Davidson Hospital Rehabilitation Program, Sydney, Australia. 2013 and 2015.
I'm originally Canadian, my husband is Swiss French and we're also proud Australian citizens, living in Sydney. Australia is a country with amazing nature, fantastic weather and a fun multicultural society.