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Watch 24-Year Old DJ Tigerlily Learn A Lifetime Of Lessons From her 82-Year Old Nan

DJ Tigerlily and her grandmother

Guest post by DJ Tigerlily.

My name is Dara, but you probably know me best as DJ Tigerlily. I’m a DJ/Artist from Sydney, Australia, and often you’ll find me on tour playing shows to people around the world. It’s been a crazy journey ever since I became a runner up for the ‘Your Shot DJ’ competition back in 2011 and I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside the likes of Tiesto, Avicii and David Guetta all across festivals throughout Europe , North and South America, and Asia. I’m all about living a healthy life, loving my body and looking after my mind – I’m an ambassador for Lifeline Australia, who help support people in need and prevent suicide.

With such a busy schedule, I don’t often have the time to truly experience the places I travel to. Nor do I get to see my family as often as I’d like to. So, when Contiki got in touch with me and wanted to reunite me with my 82-year old Grandmother – I jumped at the idea. I lead such a busy life and sometimes we just forget to connect with the people we love most. You kind of take them for granted…


Growing up, I’ve always felt quite close with my Grandmother, which is special. I have many memories of being a little girl and her looking after me, taking me on holidays and making me my favourite snack back then (peanut butter and cheese on toast – YUM)! The first holiday away from my Mum and Dad was actually with my Grandparents. They took me up on a road-trip to Coffs Harbour where they had a new holiday house. We stopped off along the way for picnics & tea, fed kangaroos, ate cheesy biscuits and of course – saw the Big Banana.

You can imagine, being only 24 and having this crazy life I love, we don’t always get the chance to just see our Grandparents like we did when we were younger. I hadn’t seen Nan since Christmas 2015 because I quite literally had been overseas so much in 2016. That’s one whole year.

DJ Tigerlily and her grandmother

Seeing her was rather emotional for me. It was the first time I’d been back to Glen Innes since my Poppy died and we went to his funeral. He was such an incredible man, and to this day I still really miss him. Losing someone, especially a family member, is never easy on anyone, so it was great to be back in his house with my Nan. The house felt familiar and the furniture was virtually unchanged. I just loved sitting with her the night before and having a good cry. Crying is good for you, you get to let it out and then we just reminisced about the good old days. She even mentioned about the time she wished she had seen the Taj Mahal with Poppy during their travelling days. 

But what really got to me was when I asked Nan what her most life-changing experience was that we had shared together, and she said it was the moment “she watched her husband (my Poppy) become very sick and pass away.” This was such a heartbreaking time for us all, but I was so thankful that I was able to spend time with Nanna looking after our beloved Poppy. This experience made me realise even more how precious our lives are. How long the days can feel in reality, but how short the years are. And grief somehow has this ability to hurt you but also bring you a great deal of clarity. 

DJ Tigerlily standing next to a motorcycle.

I know Nan and I live in completely different worlds. Two different generations. There’s a 58-year age difference between us after all. But even though she is 82, she still goes walking regularly, participates in choirs and goes to a weekly history lesson. Her enthusiasm for life teaches me that you should continue to pursue your hobbies no matter what age you are. It’s very inspiring to watch her. 

She also teaches me that love makes anything possible, family is always number one, to keep a healthy, active mind and body, life is too short for grudges, and that women are much stronger than we think. #AmenNan

I guess we do live in a world where change is the only constant. We get older and our priorities, identities, and values shift. Nanna has always been a huge part of my life and as she enters her mid 80’s, I usually tell her to just be more accepting of people who are different. I guess it’s a generational thing. Many people who are older are more likely to be stuck in their ways and find it hard to accept the choices of some people. They don’t generally think quitting a 9-5 job in search of a creative adventure is the right thing to do, or the decision to love people of the same sex, or the decision of a woman to have a child out of a marriage – this all doesn’t necessarily sit that well with her. But that’s okay, she just tells me to open my heart, travel as much as I can, look after my mind and body, and be kind to everyone that crosses my path. 


DJ Tigerlily and her grandmother

In 2017 I just want to travel more, expect the unexpected and truly experience a place. So one of my goals for 2017 is to travel with people I love, soak up the culture, and through these experiences, learn valuable lessons about myself and the beautiful world we live in. Give me a beautiful location any day surrounded by the people I love. Now that’s life-changing.

A person is pointing at a map of Europe during DJ Tigerlily's performance.

Find out more about this incredible #GIRLBOSS, DJ and ultimate adventurer below:

Facebook: Tigerlily

Instagram: @djtigerlily

Twitter: @djtigerlily