It’s been a surprisingly short hop from being a bored substitute English teacher in a New Zealand high school to sleeping on the bank of a crocodile-infested river in Australia, being called up onstage to take part in a Wolverine cosplay in Chicago and finding a dead mermaid underneath Brooklyn Bridge.
All it took was enthusiasm, perseverance and the decision to entertain as well as inform in my stories. That, plus the willingness to go anywhere and do anything — in fact, the odder, the better.
While I’ve done my time in luxury hotels, had a butler at my beck and call while cruising, and eaten more fancy meals than you could shake a stick at, it’s the hands-on, out-there, somewhat challenging experiences that I really enjoy doing and writing about.
Being smooched by a stingray in Tahiti, falling face-first off a cliff in New Zealand, getting soaked under the Iguassu Falls, riding a horse for three days through the Outback, steering a 16m narrowboat into a lock with only one gate open: that’s the sort of thing that gives me wonderful material for stories that have appeared in most New Zealand newspapers and magazines, as well as an increasing number of publications overseas and online.
I’ve also enjoyed refining my photographic skills so that now both words and pictures have won me a bunch of awards, including Travel Writer of the Year here in New Zealand.