He's seen most of the country

Some people set out to grab life by the throat and make the most of every minute.

Ian Allen is one of those people. He joined us about a year ago and I have enjoyed watching him experience New Zealand like a young Kiwi would check out the UK and Europe on their OE.

He finishes with us tomorrow to start his journey home to Norn Iron (Northern Ireland) after using every opportunity he can to travel the country, to have a good time and just try new stuff.

By the time he flies out in a week or so, he will have been from bottom to top. He's been to Rugby World Cup games in Nelson and Gisborne, and the Rugby Sevens in Wellington. He has checked out the whales at Kaikoura, swum with dolphins and been swimming with great white sharks off Stewart Island.

After a few days in the Marlborough Sounds during Christmas, he checked out the crowds in Queenstown. He drank "stallion shots" at the Hokitika wild foods festival.

He under-trained for the GrapeRide, but still finished, and the following weekend went back out and did the shorter course up the Northbank. He's done all the festivals and he's done a lot of swimming and running. And that's the stuff I know about.

He will go back to Ireland after seeing more of New Zealand that a lot of Kiwis. He'll go back knowing that "bring a plate" really means more than bring just a plate.

Somehow he's also managed to fit in some work. We'll miss him in the newsroom.

He has a particularly good "touch" with first-person pieces where he writes about his own experiences, like the wild food festival piece that got huge readership on the website.

I'm hoping he'll have another good piece for us tomorrow from one of his last jobs – a facial at a beauty salon. The chief reporter and I talked about who should take up the offer from the salon and, somehow, he just seemed the right one.

The Marlborough Express