In this month’s InTravel Yarn I talk travel with Mayrah Sonter, NITV presenter, AIME board member, proud Wiradjuri woman and Director of the exciting new media, events and communication company, 33 Creative!
33 Creative is co-owned by Mayrah and former Deadly Vibe CEO Georgia Cordukes. Both Mayrah and Georgia have worked on diverse projects from events, media production, communications campaigns, conferences and social marketing campaigns.
For more details on 33 Creative visit - www.33creative.com.au
Dwayne: Tell us about the year ahead for you, what interesting projects are planned for the year?
Mayrah: 2015 is already proving to be a busy year. Getting a new business off the ground is a huge undertaking and I’m enjoying the challenge so far. Each month the business is growing, we are gaining more clients and getting to work on some amazing projects.
We are delighted to say that we were successful in our bid to produce the City of Sydney NAIDOC event, ‘NAIDOC in the City’ in Hyde Park on Monday 6th July from 11am-3pm. If you’re in Sydney, make sure you come and check it out. We are honoured to have the opportunity to produce such an important celebration for our mob and the Sydney community.
Around the Traps, the Indigenous Arts program on NITV will also be back in 2015. We just recently covered the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which was so much fun!
Dwayne: What is your favourite international holiday destination and why?
Mayrah: Has to be Los Angeles! My husband and I lived in LA for 2 years; it’s such an exciting city. LA is such a laid back place, everything is so cost effective, you can order what ever food you want….and Mexican food…..lots of Mexican food!
Dwayne: What is your favourite domestic holiday destination and why?
Mayrah: I have always loved the Gold Coast. I spent many holidays there as a child visiting my grandmother and have some great memories there. You can’t beat the great weather, the beaches and all the theme parks. There is also an awesome putt putt course there that I’m really good at!
Dwayne: What international travel destination really resonated with you as an Aboriginal person?
Mayrah: As a young girl, my family always had visitors from the First Nations communities of Canada as my mum ran the ‘Healing Our Spirit’ worldwide conferences in Sydney. I had always wanted to go and see for myself and got the chance to do this last year, which was amazing! As part of an Endeavour Fellowship, I got the opportunity to study Indigenous media last year, travel to Winnipeg and Toronto and meet some amazing First Nations mob in the media and arts communities.
After meeting Canada’s First People and getting to know them, it was interesting to see that Australian and Canadian Indigenous people have a lot of synergies, similar cultural ways and we also share some of the same challenges. It is a fascinating experience to travel to the other side of the world and feel at home in another community.
Dwayne: What Australian destination or experience makes you the most proud to be Aboriginal?
Mayrah: I have been lucky enough to have travelled to many communities throughout our country in my work at Vibe Australia. Whilst touring with the Vibe 3on3 Basketball and Hip Hop Challenge, I was amazed when I travelled to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and visited the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre. It was such an amazing space; such a great display of Indigenous culture and arts that I didn’t expect to find in such a remote location. I thought that was pretty deadly and made me proud to be Aboriginal.
For details on Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre - http://www.nyinkkanyunyu.com.au
Dwayne: Australia is a popular travel destination for international travellers, what do you believe our country can do better to represent our Indigenous culture?
Mayrah: I feel our culture needs to be more visible in our major cities; we need more cultural centers, place names, greater promotion of languages and our cultural sites! We need to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures more and have it be a greater part of our national identity.
Dwayne: What has been your most interesting travel experience and why?
Mayrah: For my first trip overseas, I travelled to South Africa on a school water polo tour at age 15. I remember being so excited, such a big trip, without my parents to a foreign country. When we arrived in Johannesburg, we boarded a bus to head to our first location and I was shocked to see a shanti town for the first time. It still makes me sad thinking about the poverty that many South Africans lived and really opened my eyes to the social challenges outside of Australia. During this trip I also travelled to Robben Island and stood in Nelson Mandela’s cell where he was imprisoned for 18 years whilst he was president of the country. Such a remarkable experience!
I came back a different person – travel tends to do that; gives you greater perspective in life, affirms your identity as a member of the human race and makes you grateful to come home.
Dwayne: Business class or economy? And who is your favourite airline to travel with?
Mayrah: With help from friends and family I get the odd business class upgrade….love that! Virgin is great internationally as they have a cool stand up bar and Qantas is my preferred domestic carrier.
Dwayne: What are some of your most interesting travel habits or routines?
I’m an aisle seat kinda girl
For morning flights I arrive extra early to enjoy the Qantas Club bircher museli…and I like to sneak an Iced Vovo into my bag for my flight…..
I enjoy watching documentaries in flight
Dwayne: As a regular traveller what are your three “must do” travel tips?
Take your laptop out of your bag out before you get to the security line, helps the line move faster
Drink plenty of water on your travels to stay hydrated and apply cream
Take your own earphones
Take a shawl to keep comfy on the flight
And lastly and most importantly, stay away from Airport Shopping…AAAARRRHHHHHH!
Dwayne: Thank you for your time Mayrah!
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