My first job after school was as a “laboratory sample
preparer” and I had to relocate from the city of Adelaide to the very,
very, isolated town of Dampier at the top of Western Australia.
Dampier is a port for most of Australia’s iron ore.
As the iron ore was loaded onto the ships, I had to take samples for the
The town had a population of 2000 people; most of them were young men from
different countries around the world.
They got these jobs because the place was so isolated.
[No-one else wanted to work there] and the money was good, this enabled them to
continue their travels after only working for a few months or a year at the
I was meeting people from England, Ireland and Canada.
They loved to talk about the countries in Asia they had visited.
I picked up the travel bug; I got influenced by their stories.
When I finished my 6-month contract I began to travel.
The first place I went to was Bali in Indonesia, which I loved.
The beach lifestyle suited me in a big way.
Then I travelled up through South-East Asia to Nepal, then down to India and onto Europe.
While I enjoyed Europe, I did not enjoy the weather, it was so cold, I kept thinking of Bali and the beach lifestyle.
Eventually I gave in and bought a plane ticket to Thailand and then made my way back down to Bali, where I stayed for a long time.
May I point out a few observations from this story?
The first is, notice how I picked up the vision to travel.
Before I mixed with all those travellers, I had no thoughts about travel, I had no friends or family who had travelled.
It was the 1970’s…no internet, no computer and I was just out of school.
Yet as soon as I was hanging around people with a vision, I caught their vision.
I did not have one of my own so I picked up theirs.
The second point is, notice how I enjoyed the first part of my trip and then spent the rest of my travels thinking it was going to get better and better, but it didn’t and it took me a long time to realise this.
I wanted to recreate the past and I did… because it was an easy thing for me to do.
Just buy a plane ticket, no problem.
All through Europe I was only a plane flight away from Bali.
I was only one decision away from my favourite place in the world.
The main point of this discussion is…I wasn’t looking for a location.
I was actually looking for an experience.
When I was in Bali, I felt good from the inside out, it felt good to learn to surf, it felt good to live in a hut near the waves, and it felt good to be alive.
In Europe I felt like a tourist and that’s all I was really doing.
Looking at things instead of being involved in what I was seeing.
In Bali you weren’t just looking at the view, you were swimming in it.
You weren’t just looking at the sunset you were throwing frisbees’ at sunset on the beach along with the locals.
The result of my travelling experience was…
What I was looking for in life was still something that I had not found.
The thing that amazed me the most was… how similar people were on the inside even though they were so different on the outside.
Everyone wanted to be happy.
And have a good job or career with purpose.
Everyone wanted to belong to a family.
And have some good friends.