Sex work – it’s not all champagne and glamour you know! ;-)
I got out for a walk today. Down to Sydney Harbour and along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk to Neilsen Park. It’s a long time since I have been down that way, so it was lovely, despite the initially cool weather to see the views over the Harbour and walk along the cliffs.
It was very much a “stop and smell the roses” kind of day today. So I took the camera along with me and made the most of the excursion…
Have you ever been to Fiji? Until a couple of weeks ago, I had not.
I visited Vanuatu way back in 2005, which was a very interesting experience (and one that I would like to repeat one day), but I had never made it to Fiji.
As regular readers may know, travel with my clients has become a regular thing and I now take up to four bookings each year for longer dates to travel with clients who would like a companion to share their holiday with.
It is an extreme privilege for me to be invited to do this and I do my best to both make the trip itself memorable, and to document it photographically so that my client has a set of photographs and a photobook to relive the trip for year to come.
This trip to Fiji was no exception and I would like to share a few of the photos that I was able to take. Tropical paradise is not overstating Fiji’s charm and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to escape the winter and relax for a week with white sand and warm seas.
In preparation for this trip I attended a scuba diving course and gained my PADI open water diving certification. I now have the basic scuba diving qualification that allows me to dive to eighteen meters. This is all you need to be able to take advantage of much of the fabulous scuba diving that Fiji has to offer.
I had expected to have lots of photographs from the eight dives that I went on during this trip, however my plans were thwarted when the batteries for my dive camera being lost while clearing security scanning at Sydney Airport. It was a huge disappointment, however it did not detract from the experience of diving itself.
I had the most amazing experiences, including watching eagle rays drift out of the gloom and glide past my group, then fade back into the depths, having a sea turtle heave itself up and circle around me – curious, before heading off to another part of the reef.
And then there were the sharks. At a place called The Cathedral, where deep waters plunge away from rock and coral pillars, groups of two and three white tipped reef sharks – fine and streamlined – cruised in to look at us and circled around before heading away again into the dark. And overhead, unexpected, and seen only as a heavy silhouette – a bull shark, a powerful predator easily more than two meters long.
It is hard to describe how being in the world of these creatures makes you feel – besides small. The beauty of hard and soft corals and myriad life that they support, the schools of fish that flash silver as they turn in perfect unison when startled, even the tiny colourful fish that hover over corals and retreat as a family between the branches as you approach.
We are clumsy down there, able to exist only through our machines, and even then, only for such short times before we have to leave again and go back to the waves and the sky above.
But you don’t come back the same. You can’t. When I look at the water now, I am transported back to those moments of rolling back off the side of the dive boat, mask held in place with a finger tip, taking those first strange, cool rushing breaths of air from the regulator – and then the bubbles clear and your eye follows the shafts of light down to a wonderland garden below on the sea floor. And all you can think of is getting down there and seeing what mother nature will show you this time – making every breath of air in the tank count.
Little wonder that diving is so addictive.
And then it’s over, all too soon and you are slowly heading back to the surface, stopping to decompress, caught half way between one world and another. A moment to reflect on that place and its inherent fragility.
We drop anchors that break coral, we cast lines that snag and tangle, we set nets that take fish and other creatures wholesale. And while we stay on the surface we have no idea what is down there and what we do to this place of unfathomable complexity and beauty.
The chance to dive is a chance to become a larger person. A chance to know a bigger world. It is a chance that I am extremely grateful to have been given. And one that I fully intend to continue to explore.
Back above the waves, Fiji is no less beautiful. Beaches of white sand unroll around green atolls, and the sun, filtered through a thicker atmosphere than I am used to in New South Wales and Victoria needs less sunscreen to fend it off.
Perhaps one of the best parts though of Fiji is her people. Friendly, open, and lovely. They take a never ending tide of visitors into their land and make you feel a part of their family, sharing freely despite lives that are nowhere near as wealthy as ours. It’s a trait that stands out starkly in this age and makes Fiji such a lovely surprise to visit.
Another surprise to me was just how many American tourists I met in Fiji. For me it was a four and a half hour flight from Sydney to Nandi Airport. For many of them it takes eighteen hours or more to get to Fiji, yet they come here – many of them year after year, for something that they simply can’t get in the Caribbean, or other parts closer to home.
And while American tourists often have a dubious reputation (as do Australian tourists it must be said), I was delighted to meet many Americans who represented the very best parts of their culture and were fun people to spend time with.
All in all, I can highly recommend Fiji to anyone who is thinking of going there. It is a wonderful place, especially if you are looking for some respite from the “real” world.
If you are reading this, then it’s likely that you have at least contemplated purchasing the services of a sex worker.
If you live in NSW in Australia, then you have nothing to worry about – today – if however you live in Victoria, then your right as an adult to buy sex is under threat. The Victorian Liberal party has recently announced that they have adopted the “client criminalisation” model for regulating sex work (they call it “Nordic model” so it sounds nicer) and will take that policy to the next election in Victoria.
I don’t want to rehash why this is bad for everyone (including sex workers) in this post. If you are interested, then google “why the Nordic model does not work”. Suffice to say Amnesty International, the WHO, and basically anyone who values evidence and harm reduction has condemned it. Sadly, it’s popular in certain feminist circles that want to abolish sex work, and unsurprisingly with conservative and right wing political parties.
What’s happening in Victoria is the thin edge of the wedge in this country in what has, since the US recently past their FOSTA/SESTA laws, become an undeclared war on sex work. NSW (and New Zealand) with our full decriminalisation of sex work sit, like calm little eyes, in a growing global storm.
Sex workers are uniquely vulnerable as a group. Publicly supporting us and our right to work safely is very difficult for anyone given the stigma that surrounds our industry, so we tend to have to fight our battles on our own.
I am writing this though to ask for your support because it’s no-longer just about us. If you would like to be, or are a client of sex workers, then the zeitgeist is trying to turn you into a criminal. If you can publicly support the message that sex work is work (not abuse, not trafficking) then I for one will be very grateful.
If you can sign the various petitions calling for the protection of sex workers, that will definitely help.
You could also consider making a donation to the sex worker organisations that fight to protect people like me. They do hugely important work helping to protect the rights and safety of sex workers, talking to government and media, conducting research, and more – all of it on very minimal funding. In Victoria you can donate to the Vixen Collective and in NSW it’s Scarlet Alliance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you too for any support you can give.
People often ask me if I ever have long term clients. The answer is yes I do. Most of my clients I would consider long term one way or another. Some see me more regularly than others, but it’s rare that I only ever see someone once.
As women become more comfortable with taking control of their sexuality and choosing how and when they want to have sex, many are choosing to see a sex worker like me. For some it’s a matter of convenience – a sex worker can fit in around your busy schedule, either on call, or as a regular fixture.
Other women are looking for a regular connection, for intimacy, or just way to let go and enjoy themselves without the burden of a relationship that they may not wan’t, be able to find, or have the time and energy for.
Some women enjoy travelling, but not having (or wanting a partner) would like to be able to take someone with them to share the pleasures and burdens of travel.
There are also women who are looking for someone to help them solve a problem – physical, mental, or emotional – that they aren’t able to address with a partner, or on their own. Sex workers are able to help here too and I have much experience helping women to have sex for the first time, to build their confidence in their bodies and their sexuality, to help them learn skills like giving oral sex, or to re-engage with their bodies and sexuality post marriage.
Few of these things are achieved with just one visit, so I am always happy to see someone when and where and how often they desire. That said – if you feel like having a fun, safe fling with no consequence then my peers and I are also here for you!
P.S. to celebrate Autumn _finally_ arriving here’s a photo of some spectacular Autumn colours from the blue Mountains!
The last few weeks have been pretty rough for the sex work community world wide. You may not be aware of this, but the US government has created new laws that make promoting sex work a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Sex work is still decriminalised here in NSW, Australia, but the ripple effect (more like a tidal wave) has effected sex worker even here through uncertainty, the closure of advertising platforms, and the creation of a climate of fear.
It’s been a stressful time watching friends and co-workers, both here and abroad losing their incomes, being persecuted, and generally having a very bad time.
It’s times like this that self care becomes important. And while you may not be in my industry, I think that the lessons still transfer. We all encounter stress in our lives and our jobs. And that stress can be very damaging if we don’t recognise it and give ourselves the time and space to recover from it.
I know that many of my clients come to see me for exactly that reason. You don’t need to visit a sex worker though – it can be as easy as getting out in the sunshine – which is what I did today, taking my camera with me. So here are a couple of photos of me from sunny Darlinghurst in Sydney for you.
It was my birthday recently – I turned 46 in case you were wondering! And I received a present that I had been thinking of since I saw one at Burning Seed last year.
It is a kilt. It’s black. It has shinny bits. It is very cool and it goes really well with my Dr Martens boots…
It’s heaps of fun wearing a kilt in public. It gets heaps of looks and even comments, so it’s not something to wear if you’re feeling shy!
I’m often asked to travel for my work, which is great. It’s an opportunity to take photos and explore – even when it’s somewhere like Canberra that I have been many times.
So here is a short story in tweets and photos from a road trip to Canberra!
No trip is complete without a camera (or three!). This was only an overnight trip though, so I limited myself to my big camera, two lenses, and my phone. More than enough surely! I managed to prove myself wrong, but it still worked out fine.
Leaving Sydney was mercifully easy, with only light-ish traffic on the M5.
The clouds in the distance were a harbinger of things to come…
In the spirit of good concentration and staying safe, we stopped regularly to “Rest, Revive, Survive”.
Tea is my beverage of choice – well, just about everywhere, and it’s a good choice when travelling as it helps me avoid the empty calories of soft drink that beckon from rest stop service station fridges…
The further we drove, the darker the horizon became! In the past (including once on a motorbike) I have been caught in torrential downpours south of Sydney that were so heavy that all of the traffic had to pull over to the side of the road.
I was really hoping this wasn’t going to be one of those storms.
And then it hit. Really serious rain! But thankfully not serious enough to make us have to pull over – although it did have it’s moments.
Much to our relief, the rain eased (a little anyway) when we got to Goulburn, so I was able to get a quick photo of The Big Merino!
If you’re not familiar with Australian regional highway culture, then this is the pinnacle of that culture: the BIG [insert regional speciality].
- The Big Banana (Coffs Harbour)
- The Big Potato (Robertson, NSW)
- The Big Playable Guitar (Narrandera – apparently it’s the largest playable guitar in the world – who knew?)
And of course in a wool growing region like Goulburn – The Big Merino (sheep). There are many, many more “big” things dotted around Australia.
Random trivia: The Big Merino was moved from it’s original location, about 100m across the road to the new service centre in Goulburn some years ago to make way for a Bunnings hardware store. The jury is still out as to whether or not this improved Goulburn’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.
Rambo (as he is locally known according to Wikipedia) was sporting a very festive red thing around his neck. Good to see Goulburn getting into the Christmas spirit.
We set off again and continued through patchy rain for Canberra and took a moment to stop at Lake George. Actually two moment – as there are two quite good rest stops to view the lake from.
Now my tweet about the lake was somewhat confusing for some people. It’s called Lake George – but where’s the water? The answer is that Lake George is highly seasonal (and sometimes doesn’t fill up very much at all for years).
So most of the time Lake George is a flat plain of waving grass that hosts various birds and in the back ground a low line of hills – topped, controversially in recent years with a forest of wind turbines.
It was quite the view with the storm clouds coming over as you can see below! Click on the image to see the full panorama
If you love dramatic skies, then these photos are for you. It really was a beautiful scene and I was just a little disappointed that I hadn’t bought my equipment to shoot time-lapses!
The last time I stopped to take photos at Lake George (about a year ago) I managed to shoot a beautiful time-lapse with the passing clouds and the play of light and shadow over the lake grass. You can see it near the star of this video…
Now I’m a big fan of public transport and I much prefer light rail to busses. But it was disappointing that Canberra cut down all of the beautiful eucalypts that lined the middle of middle of Northbourn Ave to build theirs.
I suppose that they couldn’t really do much else, but it is a shame to see all of those trees gone now to be replaced with concrete and rails. I am hoping that they will replant with something once the rails are done, but who knows?
Hotel rooms in Canberra rarely have a beautiful outlook, but this one was rather pleasing.
While walking out to find some dinner, we discovered that one of the roundabouts in Braddon had been painted up in LGBTQI colours in support of the same sex marriage non-compulsory, non-binding, (totally-not-a-plebiscite) postal vote.
It’s nice to see such public, unambiguous support of marriage equality.
And it has become quite the tourist draw too – I wasn’t the only one taking selfies on it!
A burger and chips with a beer from Grease Monkeys Cafe seemed like perfect road trip fair! Not the finest dining in Canberra to be sure, but it was quick and easy and cheerful food food after a long drive.
Jump forward to the next day and we headed back for Sydney. It was a far better day to be driving! No rain and barely a cloud in sight.
Leaving Canberra though, there is an avenue of bottle brushes that were in absolutely spectacular bloom! This isn’t the best photo ever taken, but you can clearly see the beautiful red bottle brush flowers covering them.
The drive home was uneventful – but did include me sleeping for an hour! Lets just say that I am not a nervous passenger.
As always, there were many, many trucks on the Hume Highway (and a fair seasoning of highway patrol police too). It never ceases to amaze me the shear volume of “stuff” that we move around the countryside on trucks.
This was only a quick trip, but I am available to travel pretty much anywhere you might like to go. From a day or two locally, to a week or more in Australia or overseas.
Sydney has its problems, but distance from various spectacular natural attractions is not one of them.
I had some time this afternoon, so I decided to take my new camera – and drone out of Sydney and explore nature. My destination was the South Lawson waterfall circuit.
It’s an hour a little over an hour drive from my place in Olympic Park to Lawson, so it was a convenient destination that is reputed to have some fabulous scenery. And I have to say – it did not disappoint!
Don’t forget to click each image to see the full size version.