I've had an awesome ride. No regrets. So many friends. So many tears of joy and laughter. A snapshot below.
To 17 years old: Grew up in a poor rural community but from a loving home and supportive mum (dad left when I was young).
17 years old: Left home and moved 12 hours drive away. Studied Business and history at uni, funded via building work and then setting up a juice delivery business.
18 years old: Seeing my little juice business thriving approached by a local entrepreneur. I closed juice, took a break from Uni and moved to China for six months to help set up manufacturing.
Had an extreme time. Parties, girls, drugs and made friends with some extremely wealthy Chinese – all the things a 18 year old dreams about. Also saw massive disparity in wealth.
I was raped.
19 - 20 years old: Went back to uni but by this point decided I hated business. Studied Politics and History and got politically active. Managed to condense my degree and graduated.
Decided I wanted to be a journalist. Applied for all the top schools in the country. Was rejected.
Did farming for 4 months to save money.
21 years old: Went to India and Nepal for a year volunteering. Ran an orphanage in Nepal for six months during Maoist civil war, worked on agriculture program in India for six months.
At one point I had to hide in a wardrobe while people chopped off the neighbours head on the front lawn.
Got back to my home country and applied for journalism school again. Was rejected again from all minus one school.
Also became vegan.
22 years old: Completed journalism school, won national student journalism award, and was awarded grant to travel to Burma to report on human rights abuses for 3 months.
Returned from Burma, couldn't get a job in journalism so worked in a hardware store for several months.
23 years old: Was awarded national prize for top junior community newspaper report. Moved to large national daily newspaper.
24 years old: Was awarded top political journalism prize.
Got sued by extremely wealthy person I wrote story about. Was in the right but newspaper decides to settle to save money.
I get frustrated and resign.
25 years old: I moved to a mining community and spend six months working 4 jobs to save as much money as possible.
I move to major city in Asia with girlfriend.
Stopped being Vegan.
26 – 28 years old: Decide to launch a business with little to no experience in industry or money.
I work 80 hours a week, take zero holidays and earn nothing for 2 years.
I propose to girlfriend.
29 years old: Marry girlfriend on the beach in South East Asia and business turns a corner.
30 years old: Business is thriving with 16 staff, launching another 2 offices and looking to reach $2m in revenue this year.
Wife gets pregnant and gives birth. My daughter is the most amazing thing ever.
Life is hard but it’s also absolutely amazing.
This snapshot misses the very essence of what makes it incredible and the friends and journeys along the way.
Take from it what you will but I have a few points:
- Don’t be afraid to change your life.
- I work extremely hard but always love what I do, am positive, make friends, don’t burn bridges, don’t rely on luck, stand up for myself and try to be a good person.
- Nice guys don’t finish last, pushovers finish last.
- Call your mum at least once a week.