Postcard from Gold Coast

This week Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand held a ministerial-level meeting to discuss national security issues in the Australian state of Queensland. It was my first-ever visit to Queensland, and although I had a lot of work to do both as a political reporting officer and as a control officer, my time in Gold Coast exceeded my expectations both for professional development and as a new and beautiful place to visit. If you’re going to be busy, why not be busy with the ocean and sandy beaches less than two blocks away!

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to go and work in Gold Coast. Not just because our front office asked me to, or because almost every issue in my portfolio was set to be discussed with some of our closest allies. But also, because of this:

Yes!!!

Less than 2.5 hours’ flight from Canberra, the Gold Coast beckons!

So I left the frost of Canberra behind and flew northeast. It was kind of like Panama City meets little Vegas. Once at my hotel, the warm winter weather and the view were fantastic. I even wore sandals.

Good morning, Gold Coast!

The actual location of my hotel was “Surfers’ Paradise,” and after walking a mere couple of blocks, I found this:

I made some friends at a dinner reception…

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

…and also managed to find an hour to get to the 78th floor SkyPoint observation deck for some prosecco and dizzying views:

My home state is just 7,180 miles away. One of the most memorable parts of my trip was finding time to go to the beach here and there, during lunch breaks or after work. I honestly found some peace and tranquility, as I always do, near the Pacific. I even called everyone in my immediate family in California and told them my feet were in the water and I felt closer to them.

Big Australian sky at Surfers’ Paradise

Coral Sea to the north, Tasman Sea to the south – I’m channeling to my California family across the Pacific

There is something about the sky in Australia, as I’m sure I’ve said before, that just takes my breath away.

Respect and love for the Australia New Zealand Army Corps

Even though there were numerous times where I was hurrying down the street talking on my iPhone while emailing on my BlackBerry, or jumping out of the backseat of a car with a bunch of serious-looking gentlemen positioned at every angle, or wearing work attire at the beach and getting funny looks from chilled-out young people and vacationing families holding colored towels and inflatable toys, it was all worth it and I would do it all again if I could! And I wouldn’t change the damp pant legs with fine grains of sand clinging to my skin, either.

U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (far right) and Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, MP (far left) with their Canadian, New Zealand, and UK counterparts

You can read more about what the five partner countries agreed to do to keep our countries safer and our alliances strong here:

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/national-security/five-country-ministerial-2018

  1 comment for “Postcard from Gold Coast

  1. September 3, 2018 at 11:42

    Hi there! The pictures are fantastic (I particularly love the one with the building reflected in the sky) and it’s a reminder of how big Australia is that you can go from winter to summer as people do flying to us here in Florida in January. It’s good to know that a passionate smart young woman is representing us abroad in the current generation of FSOs. When WordPress lights up Australia I know you’ve logged in: and I hope that you will let me know if something I write hits home (or not!). Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

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