The journey first started on the 11/11/1981. I popped into this world through a completely natural birth. There was no near death experience, I was the furtherest thing from a miracle baby. But there was one thing that my father noticed straight away, “I was a grizzly little bugger”. According to him I wouldn’t stop crying so he sarcastically nicknamed me “Happy”. Somewhere along the line it got shortened to “Hap” and over 30 years on, the nickname “Hap” remains but the crying has been replaced with laughter.
I had a textbook family upbringing, loving parents and a sister. Dad and Mum have worked the same jobs since I can remember, Dad works in the government sector in the area of health protection while Mum works in the as sales rep in the grocery trade.
My childhood was spent living in Nelson, a town of 50,000 people at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. I walked the same way to school, from Kindergarten all the way through to High School. Weekends were spent playing sport, cricket, football and waterskiing. Family vacations were spent camping and on trips to the beautiful areas surrounding Nelson.
I was never an “A” student, or an elite athlete, but I loved getting on with people. Thus saw me elected as Head Boy for my final year of high school. After high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I did what was expected and studied a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Otago.
The unexpected came as a 20 year old on a working holiday to the Gold Coast of Australia, where I worked 60 hours a week sanding wood in a dusty factory. I bloody loved it! I thought that if I was enjoying living and working in Australia so much, imagine what the rest of the world could offer me.
My third and final year of university I was determined to make the most of my twenties and see the world. After graduation and with a $30,000 student loan, I set myself the “simple” goal that would change my life, become my life, and nearly break my life: to live and work in all seven continents of the world before age thirty.
The rest you can read in my book “Hap Working the World” or even better, you can have me as your next speaker, where I will tell you about my lessons learnt and unfortunate situations I got myself into, during my:
8 years, 7 continents, 32 jobs