For more than 18 years Catriona Rowntree has been at the helm of Australia's favourite travel show, Getaway, on Channel 9. In addition to her media roles, Catriona is always involved in community work. She is a passionate advocate for Australian wool, Landcare and children's charities. When not in an aeroplane, Catriona lives with her husband and two children on their farm in rural Victoria.
A Grandmother's Wisdom is Catriona's memoir, a heartfelt book full of intimate shared moments, moments she previously only shared with her beloved Nan.
You mention that this book was “nearly never written”. Why?
I had so many obstacles thrown in my path, along the course of writing this book, that I can genuinely say ‘if I can do it, anyone can!’. My subject matter and co-author passed away half way through writing our book, I gave birth to my second child, went back to work, it was overwhelming, but I got there and am so glad I could honour my Nan with this book.
Why did you feel the need to pass on your grandmother’s wisdom?
I’ve always felt my Nan gave me ‘cheat notes on life’. Which of course anyone from an older generation can do, if you’re willing to listen. I did and Nan’s advice has helped me navigate a much smoother path through a pretty adventurous life. That aside, I wanted my nieces to learn from their amazing Great Grandmother and for my sons to know how lucky their Mum was to be unconditionally loved. I feel I’ve won the jackpot simply for that fact.
Early on in your career you had a mentor. Do you think mentors are necessary?
Definitely not, your gut instinct is always your greatest guide. That said, it can be wonderful to chat to someone, even if only once and ask for advice. To have someone to look up to, to possibly help and guide you. That can never be a hindrance.
You mention an ’Aha moment’ in your book. What did it confirm for you?
I’ll be honest, I’ve had a few, but I remember as though it was yesterday meeting a Radio Announcer, who’s job it was to interview people for a living, be their conduit, share others stories and be paid to talk … that’s what I want to do with my life!
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That love can make you bold. If you have just one person backing you, be it a neighbour, a best mate or in my case a Nan, you can do remarkable things with your life.
A Grandmother's Wisdom by Catriona Rowntree is published by Allen & Unwin.
The book is available now from booksellers and online retailers, and as an eBook.
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