ACT Multicultural Awards – Travel and Beyond wins the Media Award in Canberra

by Joseph Ellis on December 22, 2016

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I was stunned to hear the announcement. “The Media Award goes to Rosemarie John and Joseph Ellis.” As we walked up to receive our awards from the Minister of Multicultural Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith, my mind was blank and Rosemarie’s eyes were a mixture of joy and disbelief. I think we were both simply awestruck. The winners in the other categories were all outstanding persons and to be counted among them was humbling…

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We have won several awards in the past but this one was truly special. Winning this award never entered our minds because we never thought we would even make the nominations. An Australian Government Award is not something that we dared to dream of winning. And so, when our names were announced, we were dumbstruck.

This win has rekindled an old memory. The year was 2008. On an insipid afternoon in the monstrous metropolis of Jakarta, Rosemarie made a decision that changed the course of our destiny. She decided to stop looking for a paid job and pursue her dream instead – which was to write. And she decided to write for free. And she followed that decision with dogged determination. She poured her sweat, blood and money and toiled hard to hone her craft.

I will spare you the intricate details of this story for another time. But today I must look back and ponder on what made us start our blog. What were our strengths and shortcomings? She was an Aerospace and Defence Journalist who wrote articles on warplanes and missiles, and I was just a an inspired follower who believed in her passion and my only achievement up to that point, besides being an editor for my college magazine, was being a story teller whose only audience were five-year olds from my neighbourhood. That afternoon, this was our conversation…

Rosemarie: I want to write and I will do it for free.

Me: Great, I will edit. Let’s do it

That was it and from the next day she stared looking for opportunities and it came sooner than expected. We took up a stint of writing free articles for an embassy event. We received a pat on the back of appreciation from the good man who commissioned us to write. So, the seed was sown for the blog to be born a year later.

While I went to work, Rosemarie sat assiduously for eight hours or more everyday learning how to create a blog by watching YouTube videos, reading articles and experimenting on various free platforms. We wrote on our travels, restaurants, weekend outings and even recipes. We had two readers, my mother-in-law and my mom. A couple of months later, we noticed that we had reached fifty readers. We were so elated that we celebrated,  felt humbled and continued to put in more hours. We still remember that feeling.

Today, we felt that way again. As our names were announced and after the euphoria of receiving such a prestigious award settled down, the journey that we started eight years ago has come full circle and our labour has borne fruit. This award is not only our reward but it’s an incentive to carry on with a greater sense of responsibility. We will continue to write well-researched articles and showcase the positivity in all things we write about because we truly believe the world is a much better place than what people project it to be.

What are the ACT Multicultural Awards?

The Awards acknowledge the efforts of an exceptional group of individuals and organisations from across Canberra who serve the multicultural community each and every day.

In the news:

Thank you note: We would like to thank our readers and our family for their support and a special thank you to our nominator and Rosemarie’s colleague and boss for being present at the awards. Thank you for capturing these moments for us, Heather.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Congratulations on your well deserved achievement!
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Rosemarie John December 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Thank you so much, Tandy.

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Liz Posmyk December 26, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Congrats!

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Rosemarie John December 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Thank you!

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Beck @Golden Pudding December 29, 2016 at 10:35 am

Congratulations! What a wonderful recognition of all your efforts 🙂

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Rosemarie John December 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

Thank you so much! <3

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Pat January 3, 2017 at 6:49 am

Congratulations! What a great prize to win! It is well deserved, you have a lovely way with words!
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Sahar January 3, 2017 at 6:59 am

So much inspiration. Truly enjoyed reading this.

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Serina Huang January 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Congratulations and well deserved. It is so lovely to see you being such great cultural ambassadors for Canberra. You represent it with such colour and flair.

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Julie January 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

Well done guys – what a great – and well deserved – honour!!
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priya suresh January 17, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Great ,really proud of you both.

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Elaine January 18, 2017 at 4:32 am

Congrats guys, you deserve it! You have a beautiful blog … best wishes in 2017!
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