The Short Version
Ex-Management Consultant turned global bike packer - it all started in a small coastal town in southern Australia. After living in a virtual word for many of my early years, Triathlon brought me out of it and showed me the incandescent freedom a bike could bring.
After completing my studies and backpacking travels, I moved to Brisbane, Australia to start my work as a consultant. While at times work could be quite intense with long hours, I was lucky with the opportunities and life I was able to live. I learned a great deal about myself and the corporate world I stepped into. Despite this, I often felt like I was 'waiting for life to start'. It crossed my mind often and it scared me.
I had fallen in love from my previous backpacking trips with the idea of finishing up my job and travelling with no time frame or destination. I had to make it happen. Packing up all my stuff and leaving my job behind, I booked a flight to Mexico with a backpack and no plan in mind. Fast forward a few months and a number of evolution's of my plans I found myself with a bike; a few evolution's more and plans to bikepack the world.
Need more info? See below.
The Long Version
Growing up in Ocean Grove, a small coastal town on the Victorian Coast in Australia, was about as good as any. It's a quiet town where folk looking for a slower pace go to retire or young families looking for a coastal lifestyle change find themselves.
It was in my early teens that the internet connection really took off in Ocean Grove and so to did my 'interest' (aka obsession) with video games. The game World of Warcraft, three words that can strike fear into the hearts of many parents, was my vice. I spent the good part of 5 years with my head inside that virtual world; more so than the real one. I was very serious and competitive about it - ranking in the top 10 dreamstate teams in the USA. Despite it's shocking reputation, I am very thankful for the life lessons it has taught me.
Having escaped the virtual world, I found myself delving into the world of Triathlon. Surprisingly, there are more parallels between the two than you may think. Twelve training's a week (don't forget there are 7 days in a week) while balancing my studies was difficult at best but I loved it. The training that is...not the studies. It got me in the best 'shape' (think from a pear figure to one less round) of my life and all the riding grew my love for the bike and all the hidden places it can take you.
Finishing my studies on the Gold Coast, I had what I thought was the best job in the world. Surrounded by a fantastic bunch of colleagues where I could choose my own days and hours to work. When the surf was good I'd head to the beach and spend all day there. Perfectly smooth days with endless barrels, dolphins swimming out the back with a backdrop of deep oranges and reds from the setting sun. Pure bliss.
Having secured a corporate role in Brisbane, I decided to finish up my job and put on my backpack for the second time to travel South East Asia before I had to move to Brisbane. With four months before my job was to start, the plan was to spend the majority of my time in China and eventually find my way to North Korea, one of the few political/social 'Final Frontiers' left on planet Earth. You'll see this 'Final Frontier' concept come up a lot on this site. Hint: the aim is in the name.
I then started what was to be a little over two years as a Management Consultant. I consider myself lucky with the opportunities, people I got to work and more broadly the life I was able to live during that time. While some projects were very intense (finishing past midnight was the norm) and life was either working or sleeping; I was able to learn a great deal about the corporate world and myself. It's this period where my passion for bikes really grew. Finishing at 1am meant I got to ride my fixie with the low glow city lights and cool misty air. I always loved that.
Despite the comfortable life I was able to live in Brisbane I often felt as I was 'waiting for life to start'. Nothing was wrong I just felt I was existing rather than living. It would cross my mind almost every day and it scared me. A lot. I remember growing up as a little kid thinking the adult world was this amazing place where you could go, do and be anything you wanted. No age requirements, no minimum heights. Limitless. I knew I had to chase that ideal and travelling with no time frame or destination was the best way I knew how.
Quitting my job and packing up all my stuff was actually a lot more of a mental hurdle than I originally anticipated. I may have day dreamed about it hundreds of times but it's only once I started making concrete actions like calling my boss to tell him I'm finishing up that it really hit me. Someone once told me one of the hardest parts of traveling is starting and I would wholeheartedly agree. You're not just leaving a pay check and an apartment but a home, routine, friends, family, hobbies, a language you understand; down to the seemingly insignificant things like knowing the direction to the supermarket and where you can clean your clothes.
I found myself starting with a backpack travelling around Mexico and all seemed great...except it wasn't. What started as a small itch to ride started to consume all my thoughts. The feeling of freedom exploring hidden places and adrenaline from racing down hills I missed more than anything. To this day I don't know of anything else that comes as close to that feeling. Either I flew home to ride my bike or I bought one to take travelling with me. Being on a budget, I bought a local Mexican bike which while I loved to ride was not built for my intended use. I broke everything on it all in the space of about two weeks. Bent both wheels, broke the brake calipers right off (they had to be welded back on) and when I severed the bottom bracket I knew this bike wasn't going to work out. I do keep a part of the bottom bracket with me as a good luck charm though.
Digging deep, I invested in a dual suspension Santa Cruz Heckler and enough gear to get me started. The original plan was a few months on the bike and then finishing up the trip but I have loved it so much the plans have grown and grown to now cover the world. If you could ride in space they would probably include that too.
The rest of this story you can follow through my journal and videos :)