Highs and lows of 32 jobs on seven continents

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 11:44 10/12/2012
Southland Times photo
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
Hap Cameron reads his book on his travels - Hap Working the World.
Southland Times photo
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
Hap Cameron reads his book on his travels - Hap Working the World.

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Hap Cameron has done time on Canadian oil rigs, worked as a dive instructor in Thailand and an English teacher in South Korea, and chopped off his dreads so he could work a season as a waiter on a six-star cruise ship to get to Antarctica - all adventures detailed in his newly published book, Hap Working the World.

The Nelson native was in Invercargill last week to promote the publication of his book about working 32 jobs on seven continents, all before turning 30.

A newly married man, Cameron is doing a book tour while waiting on news of his green card, after being jailed and deported from the United States, when he overstayed his visitor's visa.

That was a lowlight, he said. Better times included cycling 2500 kilometres in southern Africa to film a documentary and, with Bicycles for Humanity, raising $14,000 for projects that invested in a community in Namibia, and volunteering in an orphanage in Mexico.

It was in a village on Mexico's Pacific coast where he met his future wife, following her back to her home in Colorado, in the United States.

They had known each other for only six days, and kept in touch for months afterwards through email, before she extended the invitation to go to the states.

Cameron, who was planning to go north to Alaska to find work, changed his course.

"It's a little bit like [the movie] Eat, Pray, Love," he said, laughing.

An accident with a rope swing on a visit back in New Zealand forced him to slow down.

After a stay in hospital and being forced to stay in bed for three months while his fractured vertebrae healed, he finally got serious about his blog writing.

When he was contacted by an editor and asked whether he would consider writing a book, he thought they were kidding.

"I thought it was a Nigerian scam," he said.

Two and a half years later, the book has become a reality.

Cameron said the hardest continent to get to was Antarctica.

With no hospitality experience, he scored a coveted job as a waiter on a six-star cruise ship.

He had to cut off his dreads and don white gloves for the part - he also got the job by stealing his fiancee's impressive hospitality CV off her laptop, deleting her name, adding his own and sending it off to the cruise ship company.

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His cluelessness was exposed on the first night, he said. It was a long season of being yelled at on the ship, though it allowed him to touch down on Antarctica 16 times.

Cameron said that as well as writing, he was interested in being a motivational speaker for youth.

gwyneth.hyndman@stl.co.nz

- © Fairfax NZ News

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