Mission complete

21 Jul

On the 11/11/11 I celebrated my 30th birthday on the top of Africa’s Mt Kilimanjaro, my final continent in my working the world quest. This was the moment I had been working towards for nearly nine years since I boarded the plane as a 21 year old with the goal, to live and work in every continent of the world before 30.

What next for Hap Working the World?

Well, the BOOK!!!!!!

‘Hap Working the World’ is being published by Australasia’s largest independent book publisher Allen and Unwin. It will be on shelves in Australia and New Zealand on the 26th of October, in time for your Christmas shopping!

I will be touring New Zealand in November and December, doing speaking engagements in small town New Zealand, so if you would like to organise a speaking event in your small town, then get in contact. I will be hitting up the big cities in February and March next year, with a special emphasis on the universities.

And the DOCUMENTARY!!

I teamed up with independent filmmaker Richard Sidey for the awesome documentary, Bikes For Africa.  It picked up the “Special Jury Award” at the New Zealand Mountain Film Festival. The documentary is super honest and takes you on my journey through the final continent of Africa, showcasing the great work the charities Bicycles for Humanity (Melbourne) and The Bicycling Empowerment Network, Namibia do.

I would like to thank everybody that helped me along the way and made this dream come true. THANK YOU

Book launch date!

6 Sep

Howdy Folks,

Wow, just over 2 years ago I opened an email in my inbox with the subject line “possible book”. I remember the day clearly, Mandy and I had just arrived in Melbourne and since we didn’t have internet had gone to a local cafe. Mandy opened up the internet and my email inbox pops up, and she goes to me “Hap, you have an email here about a possible box”. My thought was ahhh, probably some “Nigerian Publishing Company” promising to publish  my book if I send them my credit card details. But as it turned out, that email happen to be from my now editor, and no, not a fake Versace suit, “Dolex” watch wearing Nigerian scam artist, but an actual editor, the New Zealand commisioning editor of Australasia’s  largest independant publisher, Allen & Unwin.

If I had known how bloody hard hard writing a book would be, how much time it would take, how I will probably end up making less than half the minimum wage by the end of it, how dedicated I needed to be, how lonely it can be, how frustrating it can be when it’s not flowing, how on those cold mornings when I had to get up and work 10 hours day in the Tasmanian mining industry but I had to get up an hour earlier so you can write that bloody book and then return after work for another hour of writing, I might have not replied to it. But I did reply to it, because it had been a dream of mine.

It was actually 3 years previous to gaining that email that I had committed to that dream of writing the book. The date was 14th of October 2007, a day that is not memorable to you, but a day that I will remember for the entirety of my life. It was the day I thought I was going to be in a wheelchair and blind for the rest of my life. I had fallen six metres from a rope swing and impacted on the base of my neck (and yep, that was as fun as it sounds). But little did I know at that moment, that was the best thing that could of happen to my writing career. Because lying there with my eyes open with nothing but darkness in front of me, I commited to writing about my travels, to writing a book. Eventually, my vision came back along with the sounds of the rescue helicopter. After four days in hospital I was told I needed at least three months of rest and rehabilitation. So with that, I took a loan off my sister to pay my travel credit card off and used the rest to buy my first lap top and set about starting this blog, Hap Working the World.

Nearly three years on from that day, I got that email from Allen & Unwin, and now just over five years from that day lying under the tree, Hap Working the World the book will be on shelves!

In my long winded ways of letting you know the book launch date, it is going to be Friday 26th of October. Everyone in Australia and New Zealand (the rest of the world can order from me online) will be able to rock up to their local book shop and grab themselves a copy, or maybe a few more for Christmas presents, and yes it will be out in ebook version as well. I will also be selling them on my new website http://www.hapcameron.com which I’m currently constructing. I will have this website up and running by early October where you will be able to pre-order copies from me, so as soon as I get them I can send them out (And of course no worries if you’re overseas, I’ll post em your way). If you want me to deface it with my signature (if you’ve seen the disgrace that is my current signature, don’t fear I’m also currently re-inventing a new “Hap” signature) and a little message, it would be my pleasure.

So that’s that folks, what a crazy ol’ ride it’s been, I’m super excited about the book, I’m just really pleased with it, kind of like a landscaper standing back at a property they been working on all week, it’s a Friday knock off, they have a cold beer in hand and looking over the property they have transformed. Well, that’s how I feel, I’m definitely proud to have my name on the cover of it, and all those frustrating times, half minimum wage salary, lonely times, early mornings before work have been worth it!

I’d just like to take this time to thank all that have played a major part in the writing process of the book, my editor at A&U, and my assistant editors: My wife Mandy Cameron, my father Big Geoffrey Cameron and sister Jarnia Cameron, and all my mates that have been sounding boards and put forward their skills and opinions. Chur

Nuthin But Love Hap

PS everyone now knows what they are getting for Christmas from me!

The Wedding……My Wedding

31 Aug

I think it was the editor of my book that said “Hap, you could not make your life any more random/interesting if you tried”.

Sometimes I have wished it was a little less interesting, ie not breaking up in the middle of Africa while making a documentary and helping set up a bike shop. But as I said in my wedding speech, if it wasn’t for living the saddest day of my life, I wouldn’t have been able to live the happiest day of my life.

Yup, I know, for a lot of you this will come as a surprise as the last you would of known about Mandy and I was the emotional blog post I wrote about us breaking up. Well pretty much one year to the day after we were balling our eyes out at the bus station in Zambia, thinking we would never be seeing each other again (I was still denied entry to the States and Mandy had no reason (and money) to come to New Zealand), we were getting married! (NB Most of my blog readers knew this anyway, but for those of you that are thinking of giving my book as an xmas present, I suggest you don’t tell the recipient about our marriage, let them go on the ups and downs of the emotional roller coaster! – It’s only fair, Mandy and I had to!)

BUT, luckily I “sorted my shit out”. Everyone will have their own thoughts on why I broke up and then got back together, eg time apart makes the heart grow fonder, Hap was blowing out turning 30 and realised what he had etc. Yes there are elements of truth in those reasons, but the real reason of why that happened only a few people know, well….soon to be the whole world when the book comes out!

All I can say is that at least I did “sort my shit out” in time, and Mandy is so bloody amazing and understanding. And once again as my editor said “well, at least it makes for one hell of a story!” And yup, that it does!

OK, enough of that, apparently photos say a thousand words, and I know you ladies reading this love wedding photos, so here are a few snaps, (cheers to Jerm, bugz and ferret – the wedding photography and production crew/best man, grooms man/stag organiser) of the happiest day of my life.  Woop woop.

But first a couple of Stag party photos (clay bird shooting):

Please note, the author of this blog does not condone the use of firearms by babies, especially if they look as creepy as this big baby!

Don’t worry I was in safe hands, my baby sitters were very responsible. (please note: the author of this blog does not support the consumption of alcohol by babies either).

OK, I think it’s best we leave the stag do photos there, as “babies were harmed”. How about some lovely wedding pics

The ladies looking great…..and Geoffrey!

What a great age we live in, Mandy’s family and friends back in Colorado were able to watch the whole ceremony through skype!

“shit, I should be able to remember my vows, I only wrote them last night”

great photo.  Signing of the marriage cert with best man and maid of honour. I’m probably thinking “yes! I’m married, I can finally lose my virginity!”

Haze, the wedding singer!!! For anyone who has watched the documentary “Bikes for Africa” the beautiful female voice belonged to Haze.

The whanua

Gen Y photo

Gen X photo

Johno and Aunty Jill (the little angel behind the wedding organising)

For those of you that were wondering! (pun intended)

Party time!

OK, I think we will end on that note.

Thank you all for making it such a special day!

SURPRISE! Haps back and blogging

30 Aug

Well I’ve decided to keep writing my blog, since I’m know an “author” I decided I should keep flexing my muscle…………..my writing muscle that is, apparently it’s like a brain and if you don’t use it you loose it. Since I haven’t been that blessed in the muscle department I thought I had better make the most of what little I do have, so writing it is.

Plus Barney told me I should keep blogging, and tell you the truth I kind of missed my blog time. So yup hap working the world is back and blogging.

WOW, so  much to fill you all in on, weddings, book, documentary, book launch tour, future plans etc, so stay tuned.

Nuthin But Love, Hap

Bikes for Africa Documentary Trailer.

3 Apr

Hey Folks,

Sorry about the last post you got, it’s been a while since I’ve been blogging so a bit rusty.  I have written a massive blog post about the documentary getting all emotional and thanking everyone, and talking about the experience, but I’m still writing it. I’ll try and post it soonish, or maybe I won’t get around to it as I’m under the pump writing this book that has to be off to the editor by the end of the month!

Anyway, I just wanted to get the documentary trailer up for you my blog followers to see as we released it today.  Sit back, get a beer/coffee and enjoy this inner thigh rub of a teaser.

View the Bikes for Africa trailer here https://vimeo.com/39439601 

Also – get on involved www.bikesforafrica.net and on the old facebook http://www.facebook.com/BikesForAfrica

Hometown happiness and the year ahead

17 Jan

Hey folks,

Well it’s a sunny Nelson Tuesday, I’m sitting outside at a café. I’m meant to be writing my book, but I was feeling a blog post instead.

So what’s been up?

Last week I was reading the local paper and read an article about a school leaver named Niall whose off to Darwin to volunteer for 6 months. It just so happened he was one of the students sitting in the school hall a couple of years ago when I gave one of my speeches. It was from this speech and following my blog that he says he gained the inspiration of his own goal “to help less fortunate children in at least one country in every continent (excluding Antarctica for obvious reasons)”. Darwin is the first step in his goal.

I got in contact with Niall and met up at the start of the week and tried to impart some working the world knowledge, like this little gem: don’t hop into a stranger’s car in the middle of a notoriously dangerous African city!

It was good to meet up with him and relive how it was for me when I was about to set off on my little adventure. I reckon that inspiration goes both ways eh.

It was also good as I’m giving a presentation at the end of the month about “boy’s achievement”, so I’ve been busy reading a bunch about those crazy little creatures that are adolescent boys and trying to remember back to those times.

So hows life for this big boy? Well, my New Year’s resolution “to get FAT” is going well with 2 kgs added to my post Africa malnourished cycling skeleton.

Apart from that, initially it was a bit of a bumpy ride back into reality to be truthful. I suppose after any big goal, there is always going to be a come down, and add to that all that happened last year with some pretty major changes, I found it hard.

But now I’m really appreciating being back in my hometown while I get my book written. I’m loving spending time with mates and some quality family time with my awesome parents. Dad always offers plenty of entertainment, like this little story. Dad goes to his car and has forgotten his car keys so goes upstairs to get them out of the cutlery draw, gets back to his car and goes to open it but he’s holding a dessert spoon!

I feel rather lucky that I get to call this beautiful country home and the people that live here my countrymen. It’s feeling right being home, I never thought it would after so much travel, but it does which is relieving especially with last year when everything was so up in the air. These days I’m all about getting as much nature time as possible. There are plenty of hikes planned and I’ve just bought a mountain bike and a car – yes an actual asset that can’t be put in a back pack or checked in at the airport!

I’m excited about the year ahead that I’m dedicating to speaking and seeing New Zealand. I’m back home in Nelson writing the book and preparing my presentation. Then in March it’s down to Wanaka to work on the Bikes for Africa documentary with Sich. Come April I’ll probably be in Auckland as I get the book all finished up and off to the editor.

Then for the rest of the year I’ll be focusing on my speaking. I’ll pop the mountain bike on the back of the car, pack the tent and stove, some hiking gear and head off on a NZ speaking road trip. I can’t explain how much I want to explore my home now that I’ve explored the world. Between some corporate speaking gigs the aim will be to inspire the kiwi 16-25 year olds and help them answer that question of “What am I going to do?”

Then I’ll look to put some roots down at the end of the year, which will probably be in Queenstown or more realistically, Auckland. And by roots that will probably just mean , renting a room to store my gear ready for the launch of the book in November and a manic crazy year of speaking and inspiring. Then after that, we’ll see what happens with these little seeds of ideas floating around in my head, but I don’t think I’ve quite got the adventure out of the system yet…………..;)

So that’s that folks. I hope the New Year treating you all well.

Nuthin But Love Hap

PS Here’s an article (Hap happy to end world quest) from today’s Nelson Mail on my goal. The print article was way better as had some cool photos included, but you get the idea. Good job Russ.

Photo journal – Malawi

22 Dec

These are my photos capturing my time spent cycling through the warm heart of Africa. Unfortunately I don’t have many blog posts from Malawi as the four I had were lost when my laptop was stolen. There was one interesting blog post about getting hit by a dead flying chicken! Seriously I was cycling a long, this car came around a corner at 100km/hr, hit this chicken that then went flying (in regards to speed not flapping) across the road and smacked straight into my torso! As a villager ran to pick it up for dinner, I kept cycling and thought “I just got hit by a dead flying chicken!”

When the kids weren’t shouting “Mzungu give me”, they were inquisitive little critters. At times I would have a road side sleep and wake up with 20 kids circling me, but they always kept at a distance until they felt safe. My little trick I loved to play was opening up one of my panniers like in the above photo. All the kids would move in closer craning their necks to see what was in side. Then I would suddenly shout “BOO!” On one particular occasion I did this beside a ditch and one poor little fella went arse over tit down a ditch. Everybody including the elders sitting outside the mud hut were in hysterics as well the hairy Mzungu. The little fella luckily also saw the funny side.

I really appreciated finding a spot all to myself where I didn’t have a crowd of people sitting two metres away e watching the freak show that was in town.

Stopping off at one of the many road side chip stands. As usual getting a lot of attention from the friendly folk.

I lived off these wood fired chip stands. Super greasy and oily chips with lots of salt for about 30 cents. Carbs and calories, just what the doctor ordered.

This to you is just a whole bunch of cars lined up. And you are right, it is. But this is a 143 car queue at the petrol station! The funny thing was that there was no petrol at the petrol station, but a rumour that a truck was going to go there. There was a major crisis in Malawi, a lack of foreign currency meant they were unable to buy petrol. You can imgine the crippling effect this had on the economy. Most petrol statons were ghostly buildings with people having to buy petrol on the black market that was smuggled in from neighbouring countries. I had to buy a litre of petrol for my cooker and was told US$9 a litre, of which I declined. I ended up finding some in another town for $4.

Setting up my tent in a friendly locals front yard who I met whilst buying tomatoes in a small road side town.

Friendly strangers who showered me with generosity. I have never eaten so much, they treated me to a feast fit for a king. I actually felt like throwing up.

Most days I would cycle through lots of these little small towns, crackly music blasting from the speakers, chickens everywhere, fly covered raw meat hanging up, people sitting around and wall to wall shops selling all sorts of stuff for everyday life.

Finally arriving on the shores of Lake Malawi. This was the moment I had been cycling towards since the start.

I had heard about Kandi beach, a camping ground an overland truck driver had told me about. After a 120km day I turned off at a busy little roadside market with the sun getting lower in the sky. I cycled down a non descript sandy dirt road through villages to some big gates. The security guard opened up the gates and I cycled in and my goodness me it just so happened I had arrived in paradise! I went straight to the bar got a beer, walked to the beach, peeled my clothes and dived into the warm water.

Yep it’s hard to believe that the above photo is taken in a land locked African country. As you can imagine my 1 night turned into 6 nights and it was there along with 7 other overland trucks to watch the All Blacks beat the French in the rugby world cup final. Oh and somewhere on that beach is my cell phone.

Views like this whilst cycling along the lake make it pretty easy to keep on pedalling.

End of the trip, 2,550km ticked off. I locked my bike to a tree in Northern Malawi and did a 3 day chicken bus mission up to Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro for my 30th birthday!

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A SUPER AWESOME NEW YEAR.

Photo journal – Zambia.

20 Dec

Here are some photos from my cycle through Zambia, with photos from my infamous blog post “The Road to Chongwe………………..maybe“.

I personally loved Zambia. It is described as the “real Africa”, where as Namibia is described as “Africa for beginners”. Zambia doesn’t have as much tourism, tourists usually just go to Victoria Falls then sometimes drive the 6 hours straight to South Luanga National Park before leaving. But on a bike, I had no choice but to cycle, and I took back roads. It was a tough time for me, as I was obviously alone and the memories of the break up still rather fresh. I had no contact with foreigners, there was no tourist infrastructure. But the beauty of this is that you end up sleeping in some interesting spots, in school class rooms, on the side of the road, in abandoned hotels, in villages, roadside truck stops etc. But it are these moments I will remember, the challenges. I loved the Zambians, great people, and yes it does have the sense of the real Africa, where things just don’t work and things aren’t polished, it’s Africa, raw, refreshing and friendly.

This photo for me sums up road side Africa, people walking in the sandy pot holed dirt. I took it at a boarder town between Zimbabwe and Zambia while I was trying to find out from locals where the road to Chongwe was (which by the way they told me didn’t exist).

Probably a crappy photo due to shading. But this is a common sight all through Africa. Ladies carrying stuff on their heads, fire wood, bananas, water, petrol, washing, basically anything.

This was the road to Chongwe. This is the sight of my first major crash. My front wheel hit a golf ball sized stone and I ate some gravel. A grazed knee was the result.

Flies. Luckily I had done a year working in the outback, so this was a bit of a walk in the park compared to there. But the reason I crashed above was because I was trying to out run the little buggers. They won.

Since I had no map or guide book, I never knew how far I had to go or what the terrain to Chongwe was like, but it was hills and mountains. This was little video with commentary shows how it was. Pushing my bike up and stopping every 10 metres to get my breath. This hill was the site of my leopard encounter. The whole time I was on this road I didn’t see any vehicle.

After having not seen people for what seemed like eternity, therefore being extremely worried as people were my life line to water, I spotted these guys in this dried up river bed. I was so happy to see people, god knows what they were doing here as it was literally in the middle of nowhere. But after my previous night with the leopard, and getting low on water, and worried about not knowing what lay ahead of me, or how far I had to go, it was refreshing and calming to see people. Even though they didn’t speak english.

This stagnated pool of water in the dried up river bed was the first bit of water I had seen in 24 horus and was where the guys in the previous photo had got their water. I asked if it was drinkable, they nodded, I wasn’t convinced especially as one of their drinking containers still bore the sticker of it’s previous life “batery acid”. But I filled up as a last resort.

Charcoal, it’s a big industry for village people all through the countires I cycled through. But it is devastating the deforestation that occurs, and this photos depcits it. Around all the villages is usually a tree grave yard, stumps littering what would have been forest. The sad part is that one of these sacks sells for a couple of bucks. But you can’t blame these people, they have nothing, and at the end of the day they need money to eat.

Local ladies outside the typical roadside restaurant where I would stop for my lunch. This usually consisted of goat and ensema (it changes name depending what country you are in) which is a white porridgey glug that is made from ground maize mixed with water. You eat it with your hands, it’s cheap, it fills you up although it has no nutritional value and best of all you are out of the midday sun.

This photo has a lot going on. This is your common scene in Zambia I would come across every 20kms or so. A water pump where I could get water, and a market behind the bricked wall where I could get my rice, tomatoes and onions for dinner.

Taking a rest.

Africa is home to crappy looking shops all selling exactly the same as the shop next to them but they have amazingly entertaining shop names with semi inspirational messages. I only wish I had started taking photos of them all. Anyway, I stopped off at the ‘Struggle shopping centre’. I like their quote on the right hand pillar “Survival. Never lose hope guys”.

At the struggle shopping centre I had one of those special travel moments. I sat here laughing with these guys as they taught me their local language and we listened to the music that one of the guys was selling at his cassette tape stall. These guys were so friendly and I wasn’t treated like a Mzungu which you really do appreciate. They didn’t ask for anything or give me the story of how life was hard and if I could pay for them to go to school. In fact after sitting and laughing with them for 40 minutes, he gave me a small bag of bubble gum for my bike ride. Which to them is a lot, he wouldn’t let me leave without taking it. I pedalled away smiling.

This road I loved, hills with gentle gradients, not bad to cycle up, but great for going down, and good roads.

It was getting bloody hot by this part of the trip. A lunch time road side stop. I did a lot of reading while cycling.

My truck with the African truck in the back ground.

Fancy seeing you here. Trevor was my hometown doctor growing up in NZ. Him and his wife Helen were working at a mission hospital in Zambia. After 2 weeks of cycling by myself through Zambia, it was great to see familiar faces. Great hospitality for the 5 days I spent with them, just what the doctor ordered you could say.

What I had feared cycling past on my bicycle.

Animals, it is the thing I love about Africa.

Bikes. The poor man’s truck.

The amount of things you see carried on bikes in Africa never ceases to amaze, families, live pigs, 120 litres of petrol, firewood stacked over the riders head, four crates of coke etc etc.. I wish I could have got more footage, but it’s always the way, when you get your camera out you never see anything.

The local beer truck. Classic! The locals leave their 20 litre beer containers on the side of the road. Like the milkman of yesteryear the beer truck comes and fills them up. The beer does not taste like the beer we know, think strong fermented rough textured vegetation in a glass.

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