I was no different when I graduated from Curtin University in the mid-nineties with a Bachelor of Arts [English]. Completing a double major in creative writing and film/television galvanised my desire to be a storyteller and filmmaker, but I hadn’t read enough, or experienced enough to have anything insightful to say. Like many graduates I needed to escape my hometown of Perth. I needed anonymity.
A backpack and a Eurail Pass were the cure at the time for many young graduates with vague degrees that were marginally vocational. The Hippie Trail to Kabul was long and cold. The Iron Curtain may have fallen but instability and Communist bureaucracy made most of the former Soviet Empire unfeasible to travel through independently or safely – and Latin America, the Middle East and Africa were continually plagued by bloody civil wars. So I flew to Europe with a backpack, guitar and camera.
At the time this is the way it started and ended for many young Australians – but then budget airlines and mobile technology ushered travelling and backpacking to new heights of international popularity. I worked in London then Manchester. I rejoiced in the sour, downturned faces, pavement eyes, the gloom, scarves, shoulder bumps and concrete apathy. During this time, I sojourned around Europe, pushing further and further east on each successive backpacking trip. It hooked me on travelling – and I found the more places I visited the more zealous I grew for harder journeys and more remote destinations.
Enamoured by the centrality of Europe, I decided to call Manchester “home” (for want of a better word). I fed my wanderlust by bouncing around jobs in cinemas, pubs, bars, nightclubs and cafes. And just as it is today, when I wasn’t travelling, I was writing and working to save for the next inevitable overseas adventure.
In 2004, I was given the chance to justify my arts degree and began working in television production. Since then I have worked in both Manchester and Melbourne as an Assistant Location Manager and Unit Manager on unique and challenging productions.
These included the cult series Shameless, the miniseries Vincent starring Ray Winstone, Southern Star’s police action/drama Rush, and an award winning Australia low-budget feature called Blessed, starring Miranda Otto and Frances O’Connor.
All the while my enchantment with the movement of travel and spaces between places remained – seduced by the unpredictability of waking each day in a different place, and the unexpected and unlikely wayfarers I meet along the way. After filming the third season of Shameless in June 2006, I intended to travel along the Trans-Siberian Railway from Russia, through Mongolia to China and down to South East Asia.
I nominally considered this would take no more than nine months. The journey lasted a year and a half with an arduous overland route from the Antipodes back to Europe, encompassing the Sub-Continent, Central Asia, Caucuses and Middle East.
This is how I have lived much of the past decade and a half – wending a path that balances instinct and caution against adventure, compassion and living loose. On foot, river, roads, tracks, trails, rail, sand and sea I’ve since crossed glaciers and deserts, traversed mountains and rivers, busked at borders, hitched over the roof of the world, survived police interrogations and South East Asian hedonism.
Increasingly, friends and family reminded me of the emergent collection of the unique stories I’d gathered along the way, like souvenirs that distilled the risks, romances, adventures and hedonism on the road. They repeatedly inveigled me to put these stories to paper and I slowly came to realise I had a privileged perspective.
During my travels I had witnessed an alternative lifestyle explode into a mainstream recreational activity. I was able to draw upon this unique insight to expose the raw nature, characters and intimate relationships forged on the open road. After finishing the final manuscript I backpacked around the Americas during the summer and fall of 2011, before returned to Australia for the official book launch.
Over the past five years I have consolidated my credentials as an author and freelance journalist by specialising in social media and content writing. I continue to regularly blog creative content and travel-themed material. I also host literary events and libraries and other venues, and welcome all invitations to participate in public talks and discussions on a range of themes from travel writing to independent publishing.
Somehow during this period I managed to complete a 17,000 mile road trip around North America – fulfilling a childhood dream by following the blue highways of my literary heroes such as Kerouac, Steinbeck and Least Heat-Moon. My ability to write, editorialise and remain highly self-motivated is further proven by the completion of a follow-up travel book titled Beat Zen and the Art of Dave which is now being published. Currently (and somewhat inevitably), I am back on the open road again in the Americas gathering material for a third travel book while working on two books of fiction.
Please Email Me with any inquires or use the contact information and form supplied at the bottom of the page.