Born and raised in South Africa, I spent most of my childhood around Durban North. The South Coast of Natal evokes particularly good memories courtesy of Kelso beach and Happy Wanderer’s campsite. Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Hermanus, the Garden route calls. Feel free to go cage diving with Great White sharks – highly recommended! Gorgeous scenery, great weather and even better beer. Eleven official languages showcasing the ethnic and cultural spectrum. I try to get back and visit friends and family as often as possible but it’s hard when there’s ten thousand kilometres and all kinds of distractions in the way. Do feel privileged to have grown up in a climate that invites all-year-round sports and hobbies.
Moved from South Africa to the United Kingdom in 1997 and spent most of my time in Scotland, the exception being 1999 when I lived in England. Moved to France in 2015 and currently live in the vicinity of Lyon. France’s second largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage City dating back 2000 years to 43 BC, when it was under the rule of the Romans and known as Lugdunum, the strategic capital of Gaul. Nowadays, it’s the home of gastronomy and birthplace of modern cinema. Enjoys a wealth of festivals and cultural events throughout the year with the highlight being the world famous Fete des Lumieres (Festival of Lights). Great weather and no more than two hours drive to the Alps, there’s a huge amount to see and do. The trick is learning the language… no mean feat. Snowboarding (Winter) and camping (Summer) are my main hobbies; BBQ’s and hosting friends when the weather and time permits.
Thus far, I’ve enjoyed two very different, and yet similar, careers – Information Technology and Commercial Aviation.
The first consisted of broad-spectrum IT qualifications including Microsoft (MSCE) and Cisco (CCNA). Latterly, specialist IT Security disciplines (CompTIA and SNORT). From working in massive environments such as the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Security Operations Centre right through to being the IT Manager for small to medium size enterprises, I’ve witnessed huge change. Remember the days of no personal computers or mobile phones? Might sound weird but trust me, you missed out. At least then we didn’t look at our smartphones every ten minutes! It’s sad to hear prejudices still persist between the various fraternities (Apple, Microsoft, UNIX etc.) as we share the same goals. Trying to embrace technology without letting it control us.
My second career started with a Private Pilot License in 2004/5. Qualified as an airline pilot in 2007/8 before starting with a major European airline in 2011. Arguably the best “office views” in the world and certainly a dynamic environment. Once wrote to Mike Mullane (author of “Riding Rockets”, a fantastic read) and he told me it’s a blessing of the highest order when work is regarded as pleasure. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. I enjoy looking at a month’s roster and thinking the amount of miles flown often equate to a distance greater than the circumference of the earth.
Where to start? In order of priority then:
- Spending time with family!
- Spending time with friends!
- Spending time outdoors in the sun!
- Spending time BBQ’ing!
- Spending time moaning about the weather, politicians who should be doing more for the money they get paid, corporations who trample on independant traders and small businesses, how much more expensive things have become in the shops, why people are infatuated with celebrities and their silly ways, how people can tolerate ridiculous TV adverts, why kids just can’t behave themselves like we used to when we were young (ha, right!)… the list goes on.
Oh, and playing computer games and drinking craft beer whenever the chance permits.