Archive | April, 2010

Rocking it in the rain.

29 Apr

So I’m back in the real world of work, and to tell you the truth I’m kind of enjoying being back in a routine. It’s a little unfortunate that I’m not in Melbourne – well I am but I’m working a 2 weeks on in Tasmania (1 hour flight across Bass Straight from Melbourne) and then 1 week back in Melbourne roster. The reason I have chosen this job is to save money for Africa, as when I’m in Tasmania there is nowhere to spend money so I’m forced to save, its’ just work and no play (in theory).

I’m doing exploration field work again, as you may remember I did similar work in Western Australia in 2008 and it was my favourite job that I have had out of my 7 years of “working the world”. This role is a lot different, a little more monotonous at times which basically consists of making big rocks into small rocks. But it is also varied with work in the bush, collecting samples and cutting tracks etc which will be cool.

It’s quite funny to compare this job with my cruise ship job. Working as a 6 star waiter on an Antarctic cruise ship sounds rather glamorous and looking at rocks all day rather unglamorous. But I would rather this job any day. The sole reason, the people! Both jobs I work long hours but in this job I’m actually treated like a person and shown respect instead of a slave that is treated as a resource and shouted at! It also helps that my boss here does not say “I’m your boss, I demand respect”………………ooohhhhhhhh my blood just boils thinking back how I was spoken to on that ship for no better reason than I was in a lower position. I remember being shouted at “I could train my dog better than you (expletives)” and then having to reply with “yes sir, sorry sir (stick it up your arse sir)”..

I best stop talking about that as I’m getting all tense…………………..anyway here are some photos from my first 2 week stint at work in Western Tasmania.

First day of work, going bush bashing to collect some dirt samples with other fieldy’s Kristen and Q. You will notice that it is raining; it has rained every day since I have been here, but I can’t complain as I’m getting paid to go hiking.

Beautiful native bush – although sometimes it loses its appeal when you have to clamber/crawl/fall through it with a 30 kg pack full of dirt in the rain. I kind of hope they don’t find anything here as you know if we strike gold, or in our case tin (what we are looking for), there will be a mine here. But I suppose that’s the price we have to pay for our tin cans, unfortunately tin doesn’t grow on trees

Where are we? Follow the sun………….….shit!

The bush “sticking” it to me, or you could say that I’m “branching out” (notice the stick coming out of my ear)

That is one expensive bag of dirt! A lot of time and money goes into getting this bag of dirt..

It can’t be all fun and games, the shed where I spend a lot of time playing with rocks and dirt.

One of the ways we make the big rocks into small rocks. This is the part of the day where I have to stop thinking about the Africa expedition and concentrate on what I’m doing……well I suppose I could still cycle with only 3 fingers.

“Airport security, come with me”

26 Apr

My plane touched down at Devonport Airport in Tasmania, an island off the south eastern coast of Australia. Tassie as it’s known by Aussies is famous for the Tasmanian devil and jokes about inbreeding and off spring with extra digits. I suppose it has a lot of similarities with New Zealand, a couple of islands off the south eastern coast of Australia and all you have to do is change the Tasmanian devil for the kiwi and the inbreeding for sheep shagging – I should feel at home!

My thoughts of sheep shagging and extra digited off spring vanished as the seat belt signs were switched off and all the passengers did that frantic scramble to get their bag out of the overhead lockers only to wait standing up while the air hostess struggled with the door.

I exited the plane as the airport guys unloaded my bags on to the small cart and I headed in the direction of the small town airport terminal. My mind wondered what my new work colleagues would be like, and how the “exploration field assistant – fieldy” job would differ from my previous role in Western Australia’s desert. One thing was clear from what I saw out of the airplane window, there was going to be no red dirt, but a lot of green hills rolling into mountainous native bush, I felt as though I had just flown across the Tasman Sea and arrived on New Zealand’s west coast (I wonder if the sheep are less paranoid here in Tasmania?).

I entered the terminal doors and did the disguised relaxed look around where I try to look as though I’m not looking for someone but really I just look like a person who is trying to not look like he’s looking for someone. I eventually run out of waiting people that could be my new boss and I stand there looking like a 4 year old who’s lost his mother in a crowded shopping mall.

I get my cell phone out to call the number of my senior field assistant who is meant to be meeting me. As I’m putting in the number my arm is grabbed from behind and I spin around in 3rd world backpacker mode ready to defend my most expensive possessions (which currently amounts to a laptop that has no battery) in my day pack. I’m met by an athletic retired cop looking guy with short “steelo” like hair looking me in the eye, he says “airport security, come with me”.

As you know I haven’t really had much luck with airport security in the past and I tried to think what I had done or packed to warrant airport securities eagle eye. My mind was running “I no longer have dreadlocks, I didn’t pack my sheep, I left my 1kg of herion in Melbourne, ……”. As my night spent in cell 210 in Atlanta city prison before being deported from the states flashed before my eyes, the retired cop face beamed into a smile, “You must be the man, Hap is it? I’m Brendon your senior fieldy, nice to meet you”. – Gold, I think I’ll fit in just fine.

New Zealand Roadie

20 Apr

Here’s a post that I never got around to posting from my NZ roadie. Enjoy

There’s nothing like travelling and living abroad to really make me appreciate how lucky I am to have been brought up in New Zealand. It kinda makes you want to dance around and look like a complete idiot on the end of a jetty on a tranquil lake!

It was great to spend a month back home where I speak proper English and my American girlfriend Mandy has an accent. It’s great to go to the toilet and not the restroom, it’s great to put tomato sauce on my “fush’n’chups” and not ketchup, it’s great to be able to ask for a pen and not be asked “why do want a pin?”. Haha classic.

Whilst back in NZ catching up with friends and family Mandy and I went on a weeklong roadie. It’s been rather amusing after 60 hour bus rides in South America to be back in NZ where places that are “agers away” are actually only 5 hours drive away.

For those of you that care our South Island road trip consisted of Nelson to Hanmer Springs to Lake Tekapo, to Wanaka then back up the West Coast to Nelson.

But Instead of me boring you with names of places you haven’t been to and boring stories like the “man eating sand flies” etc etc, I will let the photos do the talking

Picnic time by a Lake close to Lake Tekapo (hey let’s face you probably don’t care about the name of the lake anyway)

Looks like this guy is off to a stag party. This is what I call a STAGgering photo!

Relaxing with a beer at Lake Ruataniwha outside of Twizel.

Our Wanaka host Sich lounging in his real kiwi bach (kiwi word for holiday home)

Who knows, this could be the Zambezi in a years time! Kayaking with Sich.

This is taken from the car window, it may look fake but it is actually real – I’m not “bullshitting”

Mandy on the shore of Lake Wanaka

Road side attraction West Coast style.

5 star camping!

A classic NZ landscape, good looking sheep hanging out in a paddock with mountains rising in the background.– oh yeah that’s Fox glacier in the background.

A seagull in flight

The famous pancake rocks

We stopped off at the Inagahua School fair. The school has 12 students, we met some good ol kiwi characters. For your information there were no boys in the barrel.

First day of work!

18 Apr

Tomorrow is going to be a shock to the system as it will be my first day of work – I wonder if my body will remember what to do when it hears the beep beep beep of my alarm clock. The past 14 months as I have completed my Dive Masters in Thailand, lived and travelled in South America, looked for Antarctic work, studied Spanish I have only worked a total of 2 months. So it’s going to be hard yards getting back into the slog but I’m looking forward to it. The settling down process is in session, time to start earning some money, get set –up so I can start focusing on Africa.

So what is my job? I’m back into the old mining industry doing my favourite job; Exploration Field Assistant. Once again a friend opened the door so it saved me going through the whole job hunting process. In fact since I’ve been working the world 95% of my jobs have come from contacts. I have a 2 week trial so I will see what happens, I will be flying out of Melbourne to work in Tasmania.

How’s the house hunting going? Well it’s going, there’s quite a bit of competition over here and on paper Mandy and I aren’t really the best tenants when you put us up against…………well anyone I suppose, for example the questions like; previous addresses (this takes up a page), previous jobs (this another page), how long were you at your last address (not long), bank accounts showing income (last years income – what’s that?)etc. You can imagine what my history of this looks like, somewhat nomadic would sum it up. But we have 3 more applications that we are waiting to hear back about so fingers crossed. We are lucky though as we are staying with friends Matt and Linnley which means there is no rush. I’m loving Melbourne as a city, and enjoying hanging out with mates.

Mandy’s immigration application has been handed in. And in true immigration style it won’t even be looked at for another 4-6 weeks, so Mandy is unable to work until this comes through which is looking like July.

Today I added a new asset to my asset portfolio that consists of my pack and all the clothes that fill it – oh and a 15 year old stereo in Mum and Dads attic with a missing button. But check it out, my new wheels, $30 at a garage sale – gold!

The familiar road that eventually leads to Africa.

14 Apr

Mandy and I arrived in Melbourne, Australia 6 days ago weighing the most we have ever weighed. This was due to strict baggage allowances that forced us to wear as much clothing as possible and carry all heavy things in our pockets to avoid paying any more than the $200 we had already spent on excess luggage. I must have looked like a drug smuggler with bulging pockets and sweating profusely from the layers, you can see me pictured below wearing two pairs of jeans, shorts and about to put on another pair of jeans. It was the first time I have ever weighed more than 70kg.

The reason we had so much gear was because we will be “settling down” in this coming chapter that is going to see us stay in Melbourne for a year. A year that is going to be dedicated to saving, organising and planning for the Africa chapter (more on that in later posts). Since landing I have been walking the familiar road, flat hunting, immigration paperwork, job hunting etc.

Our flat hunting didn’t start off too well. The day we arrived we went to an inspection of an apartment as we are keen to get set up ASAP. There were 12 couples waiting outside as the property manager turned up and went to unlock the door. “SNAP”, the property manager turns around and says “sorry the key just snapped off in the dead lock, looks like the viewing is cancelled, sorry”. So it wasn’t the best omen for our apartment hunting, it continues. (Matt who we are staying with checking out a perspective walk in wardrobe).

I haven’t had much time so far to even look for work as I have been filling out the paperwork for Mandy’s visa. Somehow as I’m a kiwi I can sponsor Mandy a 5 year family member visa for Australia – you have to wonder what Australia gains from being so lenient to us kiwis, maybe it’s the fact we raise the national IQ (that jab should tell me if there are any Ozzies reading my blog). Anywhoo, we have been spending every hour of each day trying to prove our relationship for the visa, it’s a full time job. Ooooohhhhhhh I love dealing with government organisations (deep breaths Hap). So far the application consists of over 100 pages and still counting! Thank you to everyone that has helped us in this.

Job hunting. You’d think that since I have been working the world for over 7 years now I would be used to it. Well actually it is the one thing I hate. Trying to persuade a potential employer that I’m not someone that stays in a job for 3-4 months and then moves onto a new city, country/job……………….oh yeah thats right, that’s what I have been doing, haha. But the problem here is that I actually plan to “settle down” for a year, unpack the backpack, have an address where I can get mail sent to, buy stuff like furniture, towels, bedding etc – in fact I just acquired a frying pan and a coffee mug for the house on the side of the road.

It’s crazy, here I am trying to find work and a house in Melbourne but I find myself surfing the net all day about Africa and expedition related issues ie types of touring bikes, hippo related deaths, dry season and wet season etc. Today I went for a run and stopped off at 2 bike shops enquiring about what types of touring bikes they have etc etc.

That big hole that Antarctica left has been filled right back up with my Africa expedition. I really need to get set-up here in Melbourne ASAP so I can start earning and saving for Africa and get my Africa ball rolling. I can’t wait to get my new Africa Expedition website up and running and jump head first into it. Already I’m waking up in the night with my mind full of lions, smiling black faces, crocodiles, endless dirt roads, GPS, cycles, rafting, laughing kids, mud huts and a sore bum (from my touring bike seat).

But in saying all that, I’m loving the vibe of Melbourne, a city I have wanted to live in for so long and full of good friends, friends from my NZ days and friends from my travels. So what will I end up doing for work? Where will I end up staying? Will I have third world withdrawals? Will I remember how to work after only working 2 months in the past 14 months? Will Mandy get her visa accepted? Keep following folks as the Melbourne chapter unfolds!!!!! (pictured below with Simon my English friend from my Mexico backpacking chapter)

Back to the beginning

11 Apr

Last week was my 7 year anniversary of “working the world”. It was on the 7th of April 2003 I arrived in Seoul, South Korea as a pimply faced somewhat innocent (highly debatable) 21-year-old. I remember that day clearly, leaving Christchurch airport and feeling overwhelmed by the airport check-in procedures, asking stupid questions to the information desk like “where do I board my flight?”.

Then I arrived in the hustle and bustle of Korea with the 12 lane highways and billboards covering the outside of all the buildings in my new neighborhood. These days going to a new city/country and setting up is the norm, airports are my second home and weird cultural changes are no longer weird (even kissing men friends in Argentina became second nature).

While I was back in New Zealand I made a stop at Outward Bound. Outward Bound is an awesome 3 week course I did in January 2003 after I finished university. It is a course that is aimed at testing the boundaries of young people. It was at Outward Bound that I committed to my goal “to live and work in every continent of the world before I am 30”.

It was great to go back to where the seed of my goal sprouted. Here are a few pictures from that day.

A photo of Dad and I (he completed OB 35 yrs ago)

Pointing to the sign I wrote over 7 years ago in the toilets that my watch painted (craftsmanship is one of the values you are taught)

Dad and I standing under the high ropes course (Dad trying to cover up his moobs!).

A little celebratory 7 year anniversary back flip off the OB jetty where we had to swim each morning after running.

A mouldy dreadlock for Paul Henry – Breakfast show interview

7 Apr

First up, if you saw me this morning on the Breakfast show and are interested in having me speak at your event go to my public speaking page above. If you are interested in sponsoring or finding out more about my human powered Africa expedition or may know someone who is willing to help out/be involved please contact me at hapworkingtheworld(at)

OK, that’s all the high profile business stuff out the way, haha. So how did I find the interview? I was pretty stoked on how it went, obviously with only 7 minutes on air it’s pretty hard to portray 7 years of travels, jobs and mishaps.

Everybody had warned me about show host Paul Henry. Yesterday I gave a talk at the Phab centre here in Auckland to disabled kids that are being mentored to help them live their dreams. Afterwards I was talking to a couple of them and I said I was going to be interviewed by Paul Henry on the Breakfast Show and they go “Aren’t you nervous? The whole of NZ is going to be watching and he destroys people on TV, he’s like Simon Cowell of American Idol!”. But I had watched the show that morning and knew he was a guy that could take a joke, so I knew giving him one of my dreadlocks as a gift would be kosher. But all went well and Paul was a great guy, when I walked back stage and they were still on air talking he shot me a welcoming warm smile.

But instead of me talking about the interview, click the link below and watch it (the first 15 seconds is a bank advertisement). It’s funny watching yourself afterwards on TV, I kept saying when watching the interview “dam it Hap, stop moving your hands you look like you’re an American Rapper whose had too much coffee (you know the ones, the rappers on their music videos “yo yo homie, word up etc etc” and flailing their arms around all gangster like).

TVNZ breakfast show interview with Paul Henry – Tales of a Kiwi Adventurer

Here’s some photos from behind the scenes

Good mate Barnz (Known as Paul Matthews of Bullet PR in Auckland) who I travelled with for 2 years back in the day. (I think I’m trying to look tough or something in the photo, obviously failing miserably)


I would love to say that this was the first time I had worn make-up…….but I would be lying if I said that.


Fooling around out back doing press ups so my biceps are bulging for the camera! (once again failing miserably)


Showing my surprise gift for Breakfast Show host Paul Henry. One of my beloved mouldy dreadlocks that got the chop for my Antarctica job!


Waiting out back watching the live show.


Paul’s response with his dreadlock gift