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A great week at work!

17 Feb

Last week would go down as one of my best weeks of work and it wasn’t because it was my last week either. Basically I was choppered out into the middle of nowhere for 5 days fieldwork, but I will let the photos do the explaining.

This beats the hell out of bush bashing for days on end carrying all the gear into the middle of nowhere. Why not take the kitchen sink?

 

Our sleeping area for the week.

 

Our cooking shelter for when it inevitably rains –it is the West Coast of Tasmaina- and of course it did for 2 days. We also had a tidy 5 star toilet area.

 

It wasn’t all fun and games. Up at 6.30am and we spent the days taking soil samples.

 

 

Steep terrain makes for long hard days of bush bashing, but when you stumble across a clearing like this for a snack it makes it all worth while. Or at least the cold beer at the end of the day does. It really hammers home how remote we really were, and you wonder if anyone has ever been here. We were a 20 minute chopper ride from civilisation. True wilderness.

 

It doesn’t really do the steepness of the terrain any justice, but there was lots of sliding on arse with 35kg packs of dirt.

 

Not a bad spot for lunch and a quick dip in the icy river –and yes I think they are possibly fat rolls on my stomach!

 

Getting water and another excuse for me to get my clothes off – And yes poor Lee my workmate got the job of photographing me.

 

Oh yeah, fine weather, dinner and hot chocolate.

 

After the week out bush I went back to Hobart with Lee and checked out the Tasmanian capital. I absolutely loved this little city, for a city 220,000 it packs a lot of punch, laid back people, surrounded by beautiful mountains, a picturesque harbour, a good little hippy/artist scene, easy access to beaches and the mountains.

I explain Tasmania as New Zealand and Australia’s love child, as if the two countries were going to make love, Tasmania would be the off spring. Two thumbs up from this nomadic hippy, here are some pics. Big cheers to Nic and Lee for having me crash the night and being super tour guides.

Could this be NZ? No, it’s the road to Hobart from Tasmania’s west coast.

 

The Picturesque Hobart harbour.

 

Some floating Tassie entertainment. Plenty happening in the weekends, one of the best markets I have been to, every Saturday in Hobart they have the Salamanca markets. GOLD

 

Work-mates and Hobart crew finishing up ice-creams on the beach, good times.

So it was a great last week at work. And tomorrow I start a new job, and yep I’m super stoked on it as well. I will fill you in on that next week. I also want to have my stand-up comedy routine up-loaded onto the blog in the coming days as well.

OK, hapworkingtheworld is Melbourne based now until Africa. Best get my skates on.

NBL Hap

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End of another chapter.

7 Feb

Howdy folks,

Yep, it’s that time again for me where another chapter comes to an end. I have let work know that this week will be my last, signalling the end of my Tasmanian chapter which has been my third longest chapter at 9 months

For those of you that don’t know, I was working as an Exploration Field Assistant on the West Coast of Tasmania. Some of you that have followed my journey from when my blog first started will remember I did the same job out in the Western Australian outback. But the only similarities between the jobs were the job titles. Everything was different, firstly I was living in a small residential town of 200 people as opposed to living in a mining camp, at this job there was no mine as we were doing the prefeasibility tests for a proposed mine and were doing a different type of drilling (I won’t bore you).

The biggest difference was the climate; in fact you could not get a more varied difference if you tried. In my 2008 job I was working a 2 hour drive inland from Marble Bar, the hottest recorded town in Australia, with the record of having 160 consecutive days over 37.8˚C. This is what the weather website says about Tullah, the town I worked in Tasmania:

“Tullah is one of the rainiest and overcast places in Australia. It experiences exceptionally high rainfall, humidity levels and numbers of cloudy days………..”

Now I could not agree with the above more, in fact it is the rainiest and most overcast place I have ever lived and worked. Literally everyday bar two during the winter whilst I was here it rained, I kid you not. So it made for a pretty tough place to work for a skinny fella who loves the sun. Plus in the winter there is minimal field work due to the rain, so all winter was spent in a shed, measuring, cutting, photographing, weighing rocks – yes it was a long winter. But there was a good bunch of people and it enabled me to save a bit of money for Africa, and in summer the odd sunny blue skied day is pretty dam spectacular as you will see at the end.

But at the end of the day I was in it for the wrong reasons (saving money and writing), and working in a shed has a shelf life. So back to Melbourne it is where I’m hoping to get work in a local bike shop and be surrounded by biking enthusiasts. Failing that, any job the allows me to get enough money to live on and gives me some spare time to organise Africa. As Africa looms closer it will be a great to be on the ground for the organising as our press for sponsorship increases, our fundrasining event in May, getting bikes, organising gear, route planning, filling container – it getters rather taunting at times thinking of what needs to get done before our departure.

Now for my final week of work in Tasmania, and I have to say it, it is probably going to be one of my best weeks of work in my working the world quest. For my final week of work I’m being helicoptered out with 3 others into the middle of nowhere and camping for 5 days whilst taking some soil samples. Hell yeah, this is what being an Exploration Field Assistant is about………..ummm maybe I should stay and see out the summer……………

OK, here are some of my rosier/summery photos from my time in Tullah as I realise I have been focussing all my blog posts on Africa,

Snow on the hill around Tullah

Walk up the hill above Tullah, a beautiful night.

Snow on the ground.


Going for a canoe after work in summer.


A day out of the shed, up the hill soil sampling, and yes I’m posing.


Umm, yup guilty again, posing and trying to look deep and meaningful.


Looks beautiful when you’re not crawling through it with a pack full of dirt, ahhhh looks beautiful anyway!


Tullah at the head of Lake Rosebery.


Sunset over Tullah


Myself and workmate Lee having a romantic sunset at the trig point above Tullah.

The count-down has begun

15 Nov

Howdy folks,

The countdown has started, 361 days until I turn 30 and in the words of Sir Ed, I “knock the Bastard off”. As I wanted to do in my last post before I got distracted with spelling god backwards was to put in photos of my previous birthdays. For me my birthdays act as marker posts, a specific date that I can remember where I was each year. So here are my working the world marker posts.

11/11/81 When I look at this photo there are two things I notice, firstly that I’m crying. If you don’t know the story behind my nickname Hap, it came about because as a baby I always use to cry, so dad nicknamed me Hap and it has seemed to stick around. Secondly I’m only a day old, but I reckon I’m endowed like a 2 week old!

11/11/03 Seoul, South Korea – Glorified babysitter (English Drama teacher)

11/11/04 – Alicante, Spain. Private Tutor/Chaperon for 17 year old son of wealthy family (Not a bad job when you can teach half naked and look out the classroom window over the Mediterranean)

11/11/05 – Vancouver, Canada – I was an Erection Specialist (Erecting tents).

11/11/06 – Alberta, Canada, – Working the rigs, although if I remember rightly the week after my birthday I had to leave Canada as my work visa had been refused, and little did I know I wouldn’t return for nearly a year.

11/11/07 – Nelson, New Zealand – Hanging out at home after a little accident

11/11/08 – Western Australia – Exploration Field Assistant

11/11/09 – Ushuaia, Argentina – Sitting at Antarctica hostel doing everything in my power to get to the continent of Antarctica (dreadlocks still intact at this point)

11/11/10 – Tasmania, Australia – Back to being an Exploration Field Assistant, although totally different in every aspect to my previous Outback job in 2008

11/11/11
– Africa – The Final Continent Expedition. (Photo courtesy of Al Humphreys)

This year I was so worried about my birthday photo I called in my professional stylist (Mandy watched a 30 second youtube video on how to cut hair). And yes I’m wearing pants – I think I was, ah yes I was, it was my sister taking the photo.

The birthday photo, new hair cut and mo. And check out my cake my work mates got made for me. Apparently there was meant to a male doll behind the sheep doing something (what the male doll was meant to be doing behind it I don’t know).

OK, enough photos of me

A birthday babble – 11/11/10

11 Nov

Well here I am, 29 years old! Exactly one year to go until this little holiday of mine comes to an end, ooohhhhh so many questions, what next? Ummmm, I heard McDonalds are hiring. I also think that I would like to upgrade from looking after a pot plant and take one more step towards maturity and get a gold fish, maybe. But enough of that, all those stresses of a normal life and settling down can wait until my next birthday. WOW, this time next year I will be celebrating my 30th birthday in AFRICA, that excites me, and everything is coming together so well for the Final Continent Expedition.

Yesterday I was cutting rocks (yes that is as exciting as it sounds and looks), and when I cut rocks I have a lot of time to think, 10 hours of metal on rock piercing sound time to be precise. My mind was drifting off back to my last birthday spent at Hostel Antarctica, at the end of the world in Ushuaia, Argentina with a great bunch of travellers I had met that day. I had only been in Ushuaia 2 days, at the start of my big job hunt to get work in Antarctica, after nearly 3 years of trying so hard to get there.

On my birthday last year Antarctica was a dream, I was just running on hope, I was scared shitless to be truthful, scared of leaving Ushuaia without getting to Antarctica, and that was the most likely outcome at this time last year. But as you know, I did make it after a month of being there after a lot of hard work and of course luck (cheers Sich). I wonder what would of happened if I had stayed the full Antarctic season (November to March) in Ushuaia and hadn’t got to the ice. I wouldn’t have made the front page of my local paper, I wouldn’t have been interviewed by Paul Henry I know that much. I would of just been some guy still trying to get to Antarctica.

Looking back I’m even surprised at myself, how consumed I was with my goal, at getting to Antarctica. They say that the male brain thinks about sex every 52 seconds, well it was like that for me with Antarctica (Just ask Mandy, she got sick of wearing the penguin suit). OK, I’m not quite sure where I’m going with all this. I actually lied above, I’m not 29, it’s the night before my birthday but I’m writing this blog post to come up tomorrow on my birthday, and it’s late at night after a long day cutting rocks, my eyes are half shut, so sorry for the ramble.

What I’m trying to say is that, now my goal is insight, attainable, well basically nothing is going to get in the way of me working in Africa, except maybe an oncoming bus I don’t see (I really shouldn’t write things like that). But looking at me on my last birthday, I was just chasing a dream. And that to me is one of the most beautiful things in the world, without hope we are hopeless (ummmm, would you like extra cheese with that sir?). I love looking at people now who have an idea, a dream, and they are doing everything in their power to achieve it, they are giving up so much with no guarantee of success. That is the best birthday present one can have, to be inspired.

I think now would be a good time to use my birthday as an excuse to get some donations. Soooooo if you haven’t put your birthday present in the mail just yet, then I will save you the postage and you can help give a little smiling African orphan [insert unicef smiling African child photo here] a new bike. And remember every little bit counts, even $2. So far we have raised $2000 of the $12,000, thank you to everyone that has donated. If you donate, then I will let you take my birthday wish. Your wish is one click away http://www.everydayhero.com.au/hapworkingtheworld

Ok, this has been one big tangent of a blog post. I was meant to be writing about my previous birthdays, as my birthday always acts as a marker point for my working the world journey. But since I babbled on above I will just list my past birthdays, and what I was thinking at that time. I should add here that I left NZ on the 7th of April 2003 as a 21 year old. My birthdays have been spent in the following places;

22 – Seoul, South Korea (2003)

23 – Alicante, Spain (2004)

24 – Vancouver, Canada (2005)

25 – Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada – a week before having to leave for Mexico (2006)

26 – Nelson, New Zealand – after my accident (2007)

27 – Woodie Woodie mine site, Western Australian outback (2008)

28 – Ushuaia, Argentina (2009)

29 – Tullah, Tasmania, Australia (2010(

30 – A bicycle container in Southern Africa

Thank you all so much for the support over the years, I’m looking forward to having you all on board for this last year of Hap Working the World. I feel as though I should say God bless here, but I’m not religious so it feels a little weird. I’ve just realised writing the last sentence that God backwards is dog. Wow, this leads me to a joke I just made up. ‘what do you call a dog walking backwards?’ , yep you guessed it, ‘God’. I seriously have to get to bed.

Dog bless. Hap

Please note: God’s status was not intended to be harmed in the fatigued writing of this post.

A post for mum

23 May

Ooooohhhh isn’t this sweet, a blog post for mum and it isn’t even mother’s day……………………………is it? When is Mothers day? I really have to start paying attention to the real world now that I’m living in it, well at least for a year.

Anyway, mum here is the video I promised you of our apartment in Melbourne that we moved into a month ago. It’s a bit of a mess, in a clean kind of way with washing hanging up etc.

 

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I think Mums in general love all this kind of house/apartment stuff, and I suppose when your son hasn’t really had a fixed address of his own to send his credit card statements, birthday presents (I’ll be expecting a big present this year now I have an address), and those bloody PADI (SCUBA diving company that bombards you with dive community stuff) newsletters she must get kind of excited. Especially when my address is an actual house and not the passenger seat of my car, or a coffin sized Antarctic crew cabin, or a couch, or an Indians basement, or a room with metal bars for a window or a 3 bedroom house with 12 people living in it (It was actually a 4 bedroom place if you count the wardrobe that Ferret slept in) etc.


It has been quite enjoyable buying furniture and scrounging kerbside and utilising milk crates and plywood and which by the way if you are looking for a coffee table two milk crates with a piece of plywood and a table cloth thrown over top is gold. I even purchased a printer, wow, a purchase that can’t fit in my backpack!


I keep talking about living in Melbourne but the reality is that I spend more time working in Tasmania. I actually experienced sunshine down here on the West Coast of Tasmania, it is bloody beautiful, check out the photos below of my neighbourhood. What’s my blog come to, photos of IKEA furniture and beautiful landscape shots, next thing you know I’m going to change my profile photo to my cat! (I don’t actually have a cat, but shit I’ve just bought a printer and a duvet, so who knows maybe a cats on the cards – maybe it could be the Africa expedition mascot, or is that “mascat”?

My home away from home away from home. The house I live in, Tullah, West Coast of Tasmania


 

View from the deck, blue skies do exist.


 

Our quiet street, well there are only 250 residents in Tullah so all the streets are quiet and not too mention friendly – when you actually see someone.


 

The shopping mega mall Tullah style – café, hair dresser, real estate, post office.


 

What is my blog coming to! A picture of a cow, anyway, this is taken from beside the shed where I work, and like a lot of the Tasmanian landscape it reminds me of home.


 

Not too sure what I’m up to here, or why I even put it in this post – and no I haven’t shat myself. Oh and if you think I’m looking buff, it is only because I’m wearing 6 merino wool layers underneath (I’m serious too), and what makes this even worse is when my Tasmanian work mate turns up to work in a t-shirt! Maybe in my next life I will come back as a sheep (and not because of what the NZ farmers do to them, but because they have a wool coat)


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.