I was born and raised in Australia with my 2 brothers, 2 sisters and 3 cats.With an English ancestry along with my Mum and Dads love for the UK I spent many family trips there. With this London always felt like a second home so when I moved in 2009 it didn’t feel like I had completely left home and it was only natural to get my UK Citizenship after 6 years living in London. Before moving to the UK I studied Nursing straight after high school, after completing my first year of work I moved around areas in the Hospital and just couldn’t settle. I needed something else at the time and started looking into buying a house but yet this didn’t quite fit what I wanted and so with the money I had saved I decided to pack my bags and off I went to the UK and Europe for 2 months on an organised tour and staying with relatives. On return from the trip, my passion for travelling accelerated. I moved to Auckland but after 9 months in NZ working and some travel, I was ready to move on again.
I moved back to Australia for friends weddings and in between with my friend Liz we decided to travel for 6 months, 3 of these months we worked in a small pub in St Andrew’s, Scotland and taking small trips around the country, the other 3 months spent travelling the UK and Europe. After this trip, I felt there was more to see in Europe and decided my next step was to move to London. Getting my ancestry visa, UK flights and my UK nursing registration secured I was on my way. With my friend Sam we moved into multiple house shares, meeting a mix of ‘interesting’ people, it was one of these houses in Acton where I met Tristan. A friendship originally that then led to a relationship. Early on we realised we both had a big desire to travel and there began some of our many adventures. UK trips, hiking in Morocco, Christmas in Thailand, driving around America twice, camping and weekend trips to Europe and then our trip to Indonesia where we got married in Bali with 35 of our closest family and friends.
From the very beginning Tristan has always said he wanted to drive from the UK to Australia, I thought it was just one of those things that he would forget about, turns out I was wrong and somewhere along the way he managed to not only get me on board but now I think I have gone into overdrive with the trip planning. With some logistical changes and timelines, we decided to head to Australia for a year (after a sneaky drive trip of 4 months in Europe and America) working a little and putting this plan into action.
Luckily my work has been seasonal in Australia and I have had some spare time to look into all the nitty-gritty details of a trip of such magnitude. Who would have thought that I would spend my days researching shipping containers and joining multiple over landing forums So here we are preparing for our trip from my parent’s home in Australia to Tristan’s parents home in the UK.
Born in the UK, well in Bradford, Yorkshire to be precise, my parents at the time we’re working and living in Oman in the Middle East and decided to come back to the UK for my birth and among other reasons one was to allow for me play cricket for Yorkshire, at the time you could only play for your county cricket if you were born in that county, I never grew up to be a particular good cricketer or an athlete of any kind so I ruined those plans. My interests were always in auto-sports, the British Touring Cars Championship particularly, technology, film & TV and travel which was ingrained by my Mother.
In 2003 I went to work in New Hampshire, USA on summer camp with my good friend Patrick then travelled to California and did an extensive bus tour of the West Coast of the USA. This was a fantastic trip however, there was that desire to return in a cliche convertible Mustang and drive Route 66. In 2006 I returned to the US, this time a summer camp in upstate New York working as a driver, to date this has been the best job I have ever held, it consisted of driving a couple of hours a day from upstate into New York City, JFK or EWK and transporting people while planning or recovering from the night before or ahead. A sketchy 6000-mile road trip up to Canada and across to Chicago and back to NYC with 4 others, dodgy charge-by-the-hour motels, joyriding golf carts and a host of unpredictability set the benchmark for any future trips.
In 2008 I marshalled at the Mongol Rally in Hyde Park, London. The premise is simple, in a car that has a 1.0-litre engine or below depart London and drive to the first checkpoint as quickly as possible located somewhere in Eastern Europe. From here your on your own with no backup, no support and no set route to the finish point in Ulaanbaatar the capital of Mongolia. At the time this greatly appealed, getting a spot on this was fierce, by marshalling I guaranteed an early entry position, however, I had two problems I couldn’t really afford the trip & I couldn’t find anyone to join me on the adventure.
A few years passed I settled in London, developed a career working in the television industry at the BBC and then moved over to the film industry working on Hollywood features at Technicolor, happily married to Robyn, we have a nice life, a German car, good holidays, surrounded by friends, not really struggling, not really wanting to commit to having a family or a mortgage but the outline was forming, then my father was diagnosed with a terminal illness at 60. This brings everything into perspective. There’s a natural pause, as hard as it is to accept my father demise I took on board a few words he said to me ‘live your life’. We took this with every word intended, reverting back to the dreams I had in my early 20’s knowing if you save these ideas until you retire it maybe to late. You’ve got to proceed and make the most out of life.
In a Sky-scanner moment sat on the couch at 4 am after returning back from another night shift doing film dailies at Leavesden Studios I searched flights from the UK to Anywhere, looking at dates for up to a year ahead, £200 one way Manchester to Miami flights came back. I placed a sticky note on the bathroom mirror for Robyn when she got up in the morning with the simple words. “August 2015 MAN -> MIA. Booked” This was the start of a 3 month USA coast to coast trip, a relocation to Melbourne, Australia and the start and planning of an overland trip taking us all the way back across Asia, Russia and Europe.
Based in Melbourne has given us the focus and momentum to plan and mentally prepare for the next stage of our journey, there are decisions and choices we make which will sculpt who we are. The year ahead is going to be a big and exciting one.