UKI'S Kylie Faulks has carved out a reverse tree-change for herself, and her switch has landed her in the Philippines on a humanitarian aid operation.
A petty officer in the Royal Australian Navy, 28-year-old Ms Faulks is a member of the 41-strong Australian Defence Force Team assigned to Pacific Partnership 2012.
The annual project is a US Navy-led activity that conducts free medical, surgical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic relief projects to Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific in alternating years.
Based aboard the massive US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy, Pacific Partnership has over 1000 crew and staff from regional militaries and non-government organisations for this year's journey to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
With a background in administration, Ms Faulks is in high demand and can be found in the ship's casualty reception centre or onshore helping with the in-processing of patients at regional Medical Civic Aid Projects.
"It has certainly been an interesting experience and one I have been grateful to have experienced,' she said.
"We are seeing complaints ranging from colds and dental extractions through to cataracts, hernias and goiters.
"There have been so many children we have been able to help - children with cleft lips and palates, club feet and hernias.
"Then there are the children born with cataracts and can hardly see.
"After their surgery their transformation is incredible, it's been amazing to see the happiness on the face of so many locals after they receive life-saving surgery and treatment."
When not onboard the USNS Mercy Ms Faulks normally serves out of Fleet Base West aboard the Royal Australian Navy's fleet replenishment vessel HMAS Sirius as a writer, where she performs the duties of captain's secretary, administration, pay and accounts management.
She joined the Navy in 2002 after growing up in Uki and attending Wollumbin High School in Murwillumbah.
"I was looking for an adventure and the opportunity to see the world," she said.
"I was after something completely different out of a career, so I did some research and discovered the navy met all my criteria.
"Now I'm back in Southeast Asia again, having served previously on exercises with the Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian Navies."
Ms Faulks said although she has achieved much of what she wanted from the Navy her current assignment has brought a new dimension to her career.
"This mission has helped me grow as a person and be more understanding of developing countries," she said.
"It has allowed me to form lifelong friendships with defence members from around the world, and I have many new experiences and memories that I will be able to remember for the rest of my life."
Faulks will soon return from her six-week detachment to Pacific Partnership 2012 and is already thinking about life at home.
"I am looking forward to the luxuries we have back in Australia and how fortunate we are," she said.
"It isn't until you come to some of these places you realise just how lucky the Lucky Country is.".