Meet the International Living Australia Team

Jackie Flynn – Publisher

Jackie Flynn is the Publisher of International Living and International Living Australia. She started her career in publishing in New York City in 1989, where she worked for well-known publishing houses such as The New York Times and Forbes Inc. Then Jackie returned to her native Ireland, where she worked for International Living for seven years before joining the American Writers and Artists Inc, as Director of Marketing for their Travel Division. In 2009, she came back to International Living to take the reins at Agora Publishing’s flagship magazine.

 

Eoin Bassett – International Executive Editor

Eoin Bassett has scouted across three continents, driven 1,287 kilometres across Spain, clung to a speedboat on a Guatemalan lake, swung in a cable car above Medellin, Colombia, ridden long-distance Asian trains, taken a horse into Panama’s Veraguas mountains and ridden a motorcycle across Bali, Indonesia—all in the name of research.

Eoin is as comfortable handling antique shotguns in Purdey’s of London and chatting Thames-side with houseboat owners as he is dancing hip-to-hip with ladyboys on a Bangkok dancefloor or sharing a drink with Panamanian cowboys.

He’s haggled with hawkers in the bazaars of Turkey and the pungent markets of Singaraja, reluctantly eaten grasshoppers in Mexico and politely stomached unidentifiable bone stew in Vietnam. From a cutthroat shave in a gentlemen’s barber to paying police “donations” in Southeast Asia, he’s done his best to experience an international life.

A stint living in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains introduced him to the joys of good cheese and fine white wine, living in Panama saw him 32 kilometres offshore in a small boat in search of big fish, and his favourite place to eat steak is a smoke-filled writers’ club in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

Michael Cullen – Thailand Correspondent 

Back in 2014, Brisbane native Michael started thinking about taking early retirement. He knew it wasn’t an option in Australia but once he hit upon International Living he discovered the key to making it happen was an overseas move.

His wife, Vivien, was on board with the idea of breaking away from the 9-to-5 and embracing a freer, more inspiring life. The only question then was, ‘Where to?’. After a trip to Europe, the couple explored Panama and Ecuador before turning their attention to Thailand.

The Royal Resort town of Hua Hin, with its low-cost, good living and laidback beachtown vibe, stood out and in 2015 they arrived, sight-unseen, to begin their adventure.

Now settled in their two-bedroom villa (complete with private pool and a spa), the couple are enjoying a happier, healthier life in “The Land of Smiles” and, as International Living’s Thailand Correspondent, Michael shares their many expat adventures with you.

 

Rachel Devlin – Chiang Mai Correspondent

Rachel Devlin spent 25 years working as a high school teacher, her last 10 years in that profession were as a Deputy Principal in Sydney’s western suburbs. A chance encounter at an International Living event in Chiang Mai turned her thoughts of retiring early and moving to Thailand to action.

Inspired by the information she gathered from International Living Australia and expats she met in Thailand, she resigned at 46 from a career she loved, sold the house she built with her husband, let go of a vast majority of her material possessions and packed her family off to Chiang Mai.

She numbers her regrets at zero and labels her adventures as ‘continuing’.

In 2015 Rachel began contributing to International Living Australia, sharing her passion for property, culture and lifestyle in Chiang Mai and hopes to inspire others to follow their early and not-so-early retirement dreams.

 

Barbara Diggs – France Correspondent

Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer who has been living in Paris since 2001. A former corporate lawyer in the U.S., Barbara later moved to Paris to work for a leading law firm where she handled international arbitration disputes.

In the end, Barbara decided that it would be much more fun to be a writer than a lawyer in Paris, so she quit her job. After travelling around Europe, overseeing the restoration of a ramshackle 19th-century country house in Burgundy, and simply enjoying life for a while, she began freelancing for various magazines and websites, including International Living Australia, Forbes.com, Bankrate.com and many others.

She is International Living’s France Correspondent and also runs a thriving business, writing online legal content for lawyers and law firms.

She lives in central Paris with her German husband and two young sons.

 

Steven King – Cambodia Correspondent

In 2005 Steven King set off on an Asian adventure. After a year spent travelling the region—taking in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China—he arrived in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, and knew he had found his new home.

Twelve years later he’s still living the good life for less and finding new and interesting experiences at every turn. From bustling beach towns and towering temples to cheap street eats at buzzing late night bazaars, Steven’s been happily sharing his stories with International Living readers since 2015.

 

Valerie Fortney-Schneider – Italy Correspondent

Valerie Fortney-Schneider lived in New Mexico for 20 years before deciding to ditch it all and return to her roots in southern Italy, where she is a writer and genealogy researcher. She and her husband live in Basilicata, where they love the mountains, food, culture and simpler lifestyle.

Valerie enjoys exploring and writing about historical sights, hill towns and cuisine and puts her on-the-ground expat experience to work as International Living Australia’s Italy Correspondent.

 

Keith Hockton – Malaysia Correspondent

Keith worked in the investment banking arena for most of his life and retired in Hong Kong in 1998. He then went on a three-year journey of discovery around Australia and wrote Atlas of Australian Dive Sites-Traveller’s Edition, a book about scuba diving your way around Australia. It was published by Harper Collins in 2003 and its now in its third printing.

He worked for various think tanks in Australia and the U.K. between 2003 and 2009, concentrating on Asian and European country risk, and finally returned to live in Malaysia in 2009. He had last lived there with his parents in 1970. He started writing for International Living in 2011 and, in the same year, authored Penang—An inside guide to its historic homes, buildings, monuments and parks and wrote and co-directed a documentary, 1941—The Fall of Penang.

Keith is a fellow of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and continues to travel and explore Asia at every opportunity. He also mountain bikes (badly), and consequently knows the Malaysian medical system and its hospitals well. Keith is International Living‘s Malaysia correspondent.

 

Wendy Justice – Vietnam Correspondent

In 2005 Wendy Justice left her job as a registered nurse, sold most of her worldly possessions and set off for Hong Kong. Her original plan was to travel around the world, but she fell in love with Southeast Asia and has been living there ever since. After spending a few years living in Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur and the Vietnamese beach city of Nha Trang, she eventually settled down in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she and her husband David have lived since 2012.

She has travelled extensively throughout the region and continues to enjoy exploring new and exciting places in her role as International Living’s Vietnam Correspondent.

 

Sharyn Nilsen – Roving Correspondent

Sharyn and her husband, Tim, had long loved to travel but busy careers meant they weren’t free to do so as much or as often as they wanted. So, in 2010, they took time out from their careers and jetted off overseas. The plan was to spend three years exploring the world but, seven years and 130 countries later, their adventure is far from over.

They couple have a base in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where they teach English for part of the year and spend the rest of their time exploring far-flung corners of the world. Sharyn is passionate about independent, budget travel and came on board as International Living’s Roving Correspondent in 2017.

 

Kirsten Raccuia – Southeast Asia Correspondent

Kirsten Raccuia started travelling as a young girl and vowed to make it an important part of her life. After spells in England, Brazil and South Africa, Kirsten spent several years living in the U.S and establishing a successful fashion business there. But the time came when she felt ready for a new challenge. And, when herself and her husband Mark heard about Penang, Malaysia, at an International Living conference, they knew they were in for an exciting adventure.

They now live happily in Penang but travel continues to be central to their lives. Together, they have travelled to 38 countries and, as International Living’s Southeast Asia Correspondent, Kirsten brings you the inside track on the amazing retirement hotspots and hidden gems they discover along the way.

 

 

 

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