reader report

Big OE: I found a new home

23:00, Nov 27 2013
Brisbane
GOOD TIMES: Me at Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane.

I was 18 and barely two years into a management degree in Dunedin when I got a call telling me I had won a trip through Europe for me and a friend online.

I still don't remember entering it. After not believing it and barely packing my bags, accepting that I'd turn up to the airport and get sent home, I spent 26 days in eight different countries starting in London.

The trip absolutely changed my life. I met some amazing people and have some amazing memories. Nothing in the world can beat climbing the Eiffel Tower in the pouring rain, even if I fell on my face on the way down.

Vatican
TOPDECK FUN: Me and Leigh, to the left, who I took on my Europe tour with me outside the Vatican.

When I got home, I knew I'd caught the travel bug.

I ditched university and worked for the next two years in hospitality until I moved to Australia and start my journey.

Australia is an obvious place to start as it has good medicals and no need for a visa. Although, as I found out quickly, being easy isn't worth leaving your family for. If I was going do it, I needed to go all out.

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So, almost three years after the Europe trip, I'm a 21-year-old Kiwi in Malaysia, managing a hugely successful cafe in Kuala Lumpur which is expanding throughout Asia. That huge opportunity when I was 18 seems like so long ago and my life has been on full speed ever since.

My advice to people just out of school that don't know what they want to do, as cliché as it sounds, is to go with your gut.

I had no hospitality experience in school but I always knew I wanted to run my own café or bar.

I left New Zealand to get experience and see how my career could progress on my own.

I don't miss the small mindedness and small town syndrome that home is guilty for.

However, I do miss the scarfies and I definitely miss the Marmite,