I realized the other day when I was meeting with someone who had heard me talking on CBC’s ‘On the Island’ that nowhere on this website do I tell you who I am. So let’s remedy that!
My name is Susan Z. Martin – I typically introduce myself as Susan Martin but use the “Z” online and in old-fashioned correspondence since without it my name is quite common, even in a small place like Victoria. I was born in the UK and came to Canada with my parents and younger brother when I was about five and a half years old. We came by ship (back then flying was prohibitively expensive plus on the ship you could take quite a load of belongings) and landed in Halifax and then took the train all the way across the country to stay with my uncle (my father’s brother) in Vancouver. Our family lived in a variety of places in the province of British Columbia coming to Victoria in 1974. I left Victoria a couple of years after graduation from highschool (the employment picture in the late 70s and early 80s was dismal – even worse than now I think) for the ‘paved-with-gold’ streets of Calgary where I stayed until mid-1991. After my first experience of long duration international travel (7 months) I decided to come back to Victoria rather than return to Calgary and so early 1992 saw me back in Victoria.
Since that time I’ve done a lot of different things – got a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Victoria, worked for the provincial government and VIHA (now Island Health), run a successful website (from December 1999 – December 2013), lost my mother to ovarian cancer (2000) and continued to travel internationally, usually for longish periods (minimum 6-8 weeks). My most recent adventure was two years spent in Uppsala, Sweden, doing a Master’s in International Health at Uppsala University – I graduated in June 2014 and returned to Victoria a month later.
Although I definitely feel the pull to travel/live somewhere else (London is a recurring dream) for the moment I am staying put. There is so much to do in Victoria – I’m enjoying my involvement with the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network, heading out most weeks for EFBE (exercise followed by eating) with the TMG (Thursday Morning Gang), using my annual membership in the Royal BC Museum, attending various lectures and workshops and of course maintaining, improving and expanding YYJWorks. In my free time I am a voracious reader, an NPR listener, birdwatcher and a bit of a podcast addict (especially Planet Money, Freakonomics, RadioLab and This American Life).