All in the Family

9 Jul 2015

The Glas­by sib­lings — Gawaine, Aysleen, Aidan and Kyra — and their part­ners, are all nurs­es involved in work as diverse as each indi­vid­ual. They have each worked in either remote Aus­tralia or inter­na­tion­al health (or both). Lexi Keneal­ly, who is engaged to Aidan, starts their sto­ry here.

Since a young child I had always imag­ined that life would involve adven­ture, a diver­si­ty of cul­tures, love, pas­sion and free­dom, and, for me, that jour­ney tru­ly began when I moved to Alice Springs to com­plete my nurs­ing grad­u­ate year. It was in Alice Springs that my pas­sion for Indige­nous health was realised; I dis­cov­ered a new ambi­tion to work in remote com­mu­ni­ties; and I found love in the desert. Lit­tle did I know that my path would con­verge with anoth­er, bring­ing adven­ture to my life in a way I could nev­er have imag­ined. Aidan Glas­by also grew up in Ade­laide: we actu­al­ly attend­ed the same uni­ver­si­ty, com­plet­ed the same degree in the same year, but we nev­er met one another.

It was not until fate had us mov­ing to Alice Springs to pur­sue our pas­sions sep­a­rate­ly, that our paths final­ly crossed. Aidan has lived a life full of adven­ture, dis­cov­ery and explo­ration. He is fear­less by nature, embraces chal­lenges and loves keep­ing life real and rus­tic. He is the most charis­mat­ic per­son I know. Pri­or to nurs­ing, Aidan was a ship­wright (boat builder). He has sailed over­seas, rid­den motor­bikes across Aus­tralia and flies planes wher­ev­er there is a land­ing strip. His diverse life expe­ri­ence has giv­en Aidan insight into oth­er cul­tures and a deep inter­est in human­i­ty. Aidan is incred­i­bly pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing peo­ple who are mar­gin­alised. This pas­sion has drawn him to work­ing with com­mu­ni­ties in both Ethiopia and Australia. 

Our worlds col­lid­ed. Aidan and I have been engaged for six months and the adven­tures have not stopped since the day I met him. Our nurs­ing work has tak­en us from Alice Springs to Fitzroy Cross­ing to Ethiopia and, most recent­ly, Tjun­tjun­t­jara Com­mu­ni­ty in WA. Tjun­tjun­t­jara is locat­ed approx­i­mate­ly 700km north­east from Kal­go­or­lie. The com­mu­ni­ty has a pop­u­la­tion of about 180 peo­ple. We ini­tial­ly com­plet­ed a two-month con­tract, feel­ing a deep sense that was where we should be, and the con­tract even­tu­at­ed into a year. It has been an amaz­ing experience.

At times, we found life liv­ing in a remote com­mu­ni­ty could be chal­leng­ing both per­son­al­ly and pro­fes­sion­al­ly. It is so vital that self-care is main­tained and time is giv­en to just go out and have fun! On our days off, we would fly the Micro­light, with the wind rip­ping through our hair, the stress­es of the day seemed to dis­ap­pear. Peo­ple came out of their hous­es to wave to us as we took off into the set­ting sun. It was sur­re­al land­ing on soft white salt lakes as the gold­en evening rays caught the red dust danc­ing in the sky.

Aidan, who always has more than one project on the go, is cur­rent­ly work­ing on a doc­u­men­tary with two oth­er mates (Daryle Clarke and Alexan­der Mari­noff). They are fly­ing two Micro­lights across Aus­tralia, from Ade­laide to Broome. It is a sto­ry about adven­ture and the diver­si­ty of human­i­ty across remote Aus­tralia. As the team embark on the trip, they will be fly­ing into towns and com­mu­ni­ties to meet peo­ple from a vari­ety of cul­tures and back­grounds who have inspi­ra­tional sto­ries to share with the rest of Aus­tralia. They are also using the trip to raise aware­ness and funds for the Roy­al Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice and West­ern Desert Dial­y­sis, two out­stand­ing organ­i­sa­tions who con­tin­ue to sup­port peo­ple liv­ing in rur­al and remote communities. 

Aidan is the sec­ond youngest of the four Glas­by sib­lings. Gawaine, Aidan’s old­er broth­er (pic­tured below with his
wife Rachel), has now entered his 14th year as a nurse. He met his wife Rachel, also a nurse, while both work­ing at the Dar­win Hos­pi­tal Emer­gency Depart­ment. Togeth­er they have embarked upon many adven­tures while liv­ing and work­ing in the Ter­ri­to­ry. It has afford­ed them some astound­ing clin­i­cal and life expe­ri­ences, both in the urban set­ting and as remote area nurs­es. Over the past few years, they have spent time work­ing togeth­er as RANs in the Top End. They both feel as though they are liv­ing the dream – the expe­ri­ences, lifestyle, friend­ships and priv­i­lege that comes from work­ing out bush far out­weighs any­thing they could have hoped for when con­sid­er­ing nurs­ing as a career choice.

For them both, the hon­our to be wel­comed into the homes and hearts of these com­mu­ni­ties has been noth­ing short of incred­i­ble, and in a part of Aus­tralia that not too many peo­ple are for­tu­nate enough to see. That said, as the old­est of four nurs­ing sib­lings, for Gawaine the hon­our of work­ing along­side his fam­i­ly and their part­ners is the priv­i­lege he is most proud of.

Rachel and Gawaine are cur­rent­ly tak­ing a break from the remote set­ting as they pre­pare to wel­come their first child, but look for­ward to return­ing to remote nurs­ing next year.