11/11/11 – Worked the World

At 11:08am 11/11/81 I was popped into this world, no doubt crying – by the way for those of you who don’t know my nick name Hap is derived from Happy. When I was a baby I always used to cry therefore my father nick named me Happy and over the years has been shorten to Hap. Umm I digress, fancy that.

When you read this providing I juggled the time zones correctly it should be 11/11/11. I will either be celebrating my birthday on the highest point in Africa, or otherwise I will be dizzy and disoriented with altitude sickness spewing my ring out about 200m below the highest point in Africa. No matter where exactly on Mount Kilimanjaro I am, I would have completed my working the world quest.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade ago when I first started thinking about travelling the world, and then when I committed to this goal in early 2003 that I would be standing on Mt Kilimanjaro at age 30 having completed it. Wow, 2003 seems like such a long time ago. Well I suppose it was. When I stepped onto that plane bound for Korea on the 7th April 2003 I had never owned a cell phone and facebook was just an idea floating around in some soon to be very rich pimply faced teenagers mind.

Also in 2003 I wouldn’t have thought I would have had a blog, probably due to the fact that they also didn’t exist then. Back then I use to write bulk emails that were legendary due to their ridiculously long unpunctuated nature – a bit like my blog posts. I find it quite ironic that the reason this blog even started was because of that Sunday on the 14th of October 2007 when I fell off a rope swing leaving myself with a buggered back and doc’s orders to do nothing for at least three months while I recuperated. Three months later, my back was better and www.hapworkingtheworld.com had been born. At the start when I use to get 20 hits in a day I thought it was amazing – that was probably mum going to it 20 times. Three years later I average between 150-200 hits a day with my biggest day being 1,900 and over the lifetime of the blog I have had 130,000 hits. And if you type “wet naked Korean men” into Google I come up as first on the list – you know you have made it when that happens!

When I started my working the world quest it never crossed my mind that I would write a book, in fact I hated writing. But when I collated all those bulk emails and created my blog I did so with the dream of one day maybe writing a book. Bugger me, this time next year “Working the world” will be on the shelves.

But enough of me. I know that if it wasn’t for all the support I have had throughout, then maybe 11/11/11 would only be special for me as there are so many bloody 1’s on that date. So I want to THANK everybody that has helped me over the past 9 years, to all those people that have had me turn up broke on their door step needing somewhere to sleep, to everyone that has given me employment, that has supported me and believed me, has donated money and time to the Final Continent Expedition, to all my blog readers for the comments and putting up with my poor grammar and spelling. THANK YOU.

But I also want to make a special mention of a couple of people that have played a big part in getting me where I am today. The first is obviously Mandy who spent about 3.5 years working the world with me (would have been longer if it wasn’t for US immigration giving us a 10 month break from each other). Although it may not have had the happy ending here in Africa there is still no changing the fact that Mandy has played a MASSIVE role in the recent years. Two moments especially come to mind. One while living in Paraguay when I hit the wall trying to get to Antarctica, and secondly all the work she put into Africa. Round of applause for Mandy please.

The Second person is Barney. Barney was around at the start of my working the world quest and came along for the ride for a couple of years. Barney and I went through a lot in those two years, some bloody great times, some of my best working the world memories were the 6 weeks we spent backpacking in Brazil. But there were also some tough times; sleeping in the car together in Canada for two months while trying to get work on the rigs comes to mind – We spent Barney’s 25th birthday at a soup kitchen! But as well as that two years, Barney has always been there and supported me from then on, constantly believing in me and helping out when the shit has hit the fan throughout, always a phone call away. Plus he’s basically been my PR manager. It is Barney that I can thank for my book contract as he was the one that went out of his way to get me on the Breakfast show with Paul Henry, the interview that my now editor saw and started following my blog. So chur bro.

Then there is also Mr Richard “Sich” Sidey. Before November 2009 I didn’t know who Sich was and he didn’t know who I was. But at a hostel at the end of the world in Ushuaia after I had emailed him he decided to come and meet this guyed called Hap while his cruise ship was in Port. Three weeks later after that 5 minute meeting I got an excited message from the hostel receptionist telling me to contact Richard. That was the break that got me to Antarctica on board Sich’s ship after nearly three years of exhausting every possible Antarctic working option. And it’s pretty cool that Sich has jumped onboard for the Africa continent adding a whole new dimension to it by volunteering his amazing documentary making talent. Wicked, I can’t wait to see what magic is conjoured up when Bikes for Africa hits the screens next year. Chur bro.

Last but not least, there is my amazing family who have been along for the ride for the last 30 years. I cannot have asked for more. When other people my age were chasing careers, having children, buying houses I was working the world, of which some families maybe have seen as “pissing about” and probably still do since I’m turning 30 and I’m broke going to live with Mum and Dad – Geoffrey make sure you got the beer fridge stocked up. But I have had nothing but support through all the ups and downs, support and encouragement always a phone call away. As the saying goes, “blood is thicker than water”, and my working the world quest has proven that to me. So a round of applause for the Cameron family.

OK, I leave for my hike in an hour. I will let you all know how it went when I get back. And guess what, the other guy in my group is a Danish sheep shearer! Considering there are only two in Denmark it’s pretty classic. So 11/11/11 will see a kiwi sheep shagger and a Danish sheep shearer standing on the roof top of Africa – Luckily there are no sheep that high up.

Enough of my sheepish thoughts, I really just wanted to THANK YOU for all the support. THANK YOU