From short stop to long stay
How COVID-19 led New Zealander Jessica Parker to a life in Tasmania.
COVID-19 changed lives forever in 2020. For New Zealander Jessica Parker, it led to a move to Tasmania.
It was supposed to be a visit to Tasmania to celebrate Jessica’s 30th birthday following international travels. But Jessica and Tasmanian partner Louis, never left. They have since bought a house in southern Tasmania and haven’t looked back.
Jessica grew up in New Zealand, attaining a Bachelor of Communications at Massey University majoring in Marketing Communications, before leaving her home country for London. Following a few years in the UK, she relocated to Melbourne in 2016 where she met Louis. The couple shared a strong sense of adventure and a passion for nature. Following extensive travel through South and Central America, Jessica gained insight into the desperate need for change, and has since aligned her work focus to reflect this.
“I left advertising and spent time volunteering for various organisations that allowed me to get closer to the issues I care about,” explains Jessica. “I’ve been particularly active with Climate for Change, a not-for-profit that helps Australians to have more effective and deeper conversations about climate change. As a Conversations Facilitator, I’d host events where people could gain a deeper understanding and awareness of the issues we face.”
In 2016, Jessica began working with the University of Melbourne in the graduate courses team, most recently as Senior Marketing Campaign Manager. Within the role, she was responsible for driving marketing campaigns, managing budgets and developing strategies to reach target audiences.
In late 2019, Jessica and Louis planned a long trip back to visit family in New Zealand before venturing on to India in early 2020. The intention was to complete the trip with Jessica’s 30th celebrations at Louis’ family home in Turner’s Beach, North West Tasmania.
COVID-19 struck and the couple found themselves in Turner’s Beach, with a cancelled birthday party. Weighing up options, rather than returning to their petite one-bedroom apartment in Fitzroy, remaining beachside to ride out lockdown seemed more desirable.
“As time passed, we began to reassess our urgency to return to Melbourne life,” explains Jessica. “Louis was able to work remotely and we were enjoying the pace of life in Tasmania, making the most of a nature-based lifestyle by the coast.”
By September 2020, the couple had purchased a house in Dodges Ferry, a popular coastal hub just outside Hobart and in June Jessica took up a role as National Engagement Program Manager for The Australian Greens.
“So much has happened in these recent months, things we could never have imagined before Covid-19 hit and turned our world upside down,” smiles Jessica. “We bought a house, I got a new job and we just got engaged. It seems that Tasmanian life is for us.”
Jessica’s role with the Green’s allows her to continue working hard on the issues she cares most deeply about. As head of national engagement, the full-time role is a natural fit for her skill set and affords her the opportunity to support a national movement that was founded in Tasmania in 1992.
“It’s been great to raise awareness and share meaningful conversations here in Tasmania,” adds Jessica. “Just recently we explored the Tarkine rainforest not far from Louis’ family home in North West Tasmania – a direct reminder of what we are here to protect. Sharing this with others, and them seeing with their own eyes what we have here, I believe provides a greater understanding and encourages each of us to do our part to protect the planet.”
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about The Australian Greens.
For information on starting a business in Tasmania look through our stories or visit Business Tasmania.