An Aussie Foodie In The Jungle: An Interview with Sarah Harrison
We chat chat all things travel, lockdown, Spain and as always - olive oil!
The world is Sarah Harrison’s oyster. And the Perth-born self-confessed foodie absolutely loves oysters too.
Sarah needs nothing more with a frantic cityscape to inspire her, but life in the big smoke has been put on the backburner recently. Sarah and her husband have relocated for a time to the island of Brunei, where the slow jungle pace is in stark comparison to the buzzing streets of Melbourne and London.
We love following the solopreneur’s journey adjusting to her newfound island life, and this month we touched base long-distance to chat all things travel, lockdown, Spain and as always - olive oil!
Hi Sarah, tell us a little bit about yourself and where you have lived in Australia?
I was born in Perth but always felt it wasn’t really for me. I love the pace, energy and opportunities that come with a bigger city and I also like to travel – so to live in one of the most isolated cities in the world wasn’t going to cut the mustard! I moved to London in my early 20s for a while, then back to Perth to study before relocating to cosmopolitan Melbourne for 10 years. In that time, I started a business that would allow me to work anywhere and anytime and spent 3-6 months every year in the UK and Europe. I’ve also spent a lot of time in Brisbane for both business and play and still enjoying returning whenever I can.
How did you end up living in Brunei, where you are currently?
These days I share my time between Melbourne and the remote jungles of Brunei on the island of Borneo, where my partner is on senior secondment. We’re surrounded by lush forest and perched on the shores of the South China Sea, so there’s a lot of wildlife, sunsets and beach walks happening for us.
What do you do for a living and do you enjoy it? Has COVID 19 affected your life and your career?
I’m a freelance customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) writer which means I help businesses create more user-friendly digital content in any medium that they use to connect with their target market. I’m also fascinated by how experiences can be shaped and influenced in the physical realm; that certain je ne sais quoi that makes a restaurant or retail space feel either welcoming or intimidating. I expected COVID to impact my work considerably, but I’ve been busier than normal, I think as businesses realise now is the time to invest in retaining their existing customers and attracting new ones. And while COVID-19 has impacted our ability to travel, our life on the island is already quite remote (we have often joked we could ride out a pandemic here – we just didn’t think we’d need to). Brunei is pretty limited in lifestyle options (retail, hospitality, etc) and very small, so it’s restrictive but safe with a very small population.
Would you call yourself a “foodie”?
Guilty. I’m all about great experiences, and that includes food on every sensory level. The noise that bacon makes as it crackles and pops in the pan, the smell of baked bread, the juxtaposition of soft cheese on a crunchy cracker, cute micro herbs on a beautifully plated-up dish, and the taste of champagne with salty fries – heaven.
What are the top three meals you’ve had on your travels across the globe?
This is far too hard to answer but some of the most simple things come to mind; sardines in Lisbon, noodles in Shanghai, and some incredible Asian fusion in Melbourne.
Have you been to Spain? If so, where did you visit?
Yes! Spain is delicious. I’ve spent time in Barcelona, besotted with the Gaudi works and sangria, and have stayed in Alicante, visited Valencia and travelled to Bunol for La Tomatina; the annual pilgrimage and tomato fight using leftover produce from the season. It was wild.
Do you enjoy Spanish food? What are some of your favourites?
I’m a huge fan of European cuisine, share plates and grazing on bite-sized morsels packed with flavour (and cheese) – Spanish food is possibly one of my favourite on the planet.
As we are a Spanish olive oil brand, our last question is - what is your favourite way to enjoy olive oil?
Drizzled (on just about anything) and for dipping, especially with balsamic, where the full flavour and character of the oil can be savoured.
Follow Sarah on Instagram at @sarahharrison.international.