After leaving Truro School Gavin was offered a place at Cambridge to read Engineering but took a gap year for a Ministry of Defence sponsorship, based in Malvern for a year with 39 other gap year students, Gavin told us:
University was fantastic and I have lasting memories and friendships from four wonderful years.
The Engineering course at Cambridge was very broad for the first two years and then Gavin specialised in Aeronautical Engineering for the last two years. When it came to careers, Gavin decided to go back to basics and consider what he really wanted out of a job, he came up with five criteria: intellectual challenge, variety, opportunity to travel, time outdoors and a physical element. Management Consulting topped the list of suitable careers hitting the first 3 but clearly not the last 2 criteria, and Gavin ended up with a job at Accenture. Another gap year followed after university and Gavin filled it with travel adventures.
The highlights included Backpacking across South East Asia, cycling across France and then attending a language school, trekking across the Sahara Desert (Mauritania) with camels and 2 friends from uni, and crossing the USA along Route 66 in a convertible with his Dad.
The gap year turned into 20 months but it was very much worth it.
Gavin worked in London for 2.5 years but was always destined to leave England. The weather was just too bad and he wanted to be closer to the beach and outdoors lifestyle while still in a city. So off he went to Brazil on a transfer with Accenture. Gavin told us that:
This was a really great experience, working in Portuguese and seeing how different the work and social culture is down there. For example, lunch is sacrosanct. You take 2 hours to go to a restaurant and follow it up with a lazy coffee somewhere and no one is left in the office come 12pm. The idea of gobbling a sandwich at your desk is utterly unthinkable. I loved Brazil but the security issues and lack of prospects meant I didn’t see myself settling there forever.
After some thinking Gavin looked at what other Accenture projects wanted him and it became a choice between Vancouver or Perth. The warmth won out over the mountains and off he went to Australia. Loving Perth initially, after about 6 months he started to see its limitations with Perth being a very isolated city with not much going on. After a year Gavin’s project was finishing and he was ready to move on. Melbourne beckoned, with lots happening in the utilities industry including a government-mandated roll out of smart electricity meters in 2009 meant it was some way ahead of the rest of the world. Despite arriving in August (winter) and being fairly cold and grey, Gavin loved Melbourne from the outset and hasn’t looked back. He lives there happily with his wife Hing and their young daughter Elsie and has another on the way; he lets us in on why he loves Melbourne:
There aren’t many cities in the world that have good beaches too. Some in California, Brazil, Barcelona, Nice, but not that many. And the Australian cities of course. Having grown up in Cornwall (in Falmouth) I couldn’t stand being far from the sea and that’s one of the reasons for leaving London. Here in Melbourne we don’t have the famous beaches of Sydney but it’s still pretty good! There is superb coffee and some outstanding restaurants too and the locals are proud that Melbourne keeps winning the “world’s most liveable city” title. So it’s a good place to live, not as large and overwhelming like London, NYC or Tokyo but still large enough to have plenty going on. It’s quite like living in England still but just with more sunshine, so you can get out to do all the things the Brits want to do and not be held back by the cold or rain! The “outdoor lifestyle” for me means plenty of BBQs on the back deck in summer, kitesurfing after work, less likely these days with a young family! and open water swim races in summer. Of course being a dad to little Elsie is the biggest part of life but she’s already started swimming lessons so we’ll have her in some races in a few years’ time I’m sure.
Gavin recounts some of his memories from school for us:
My time at Truro School was full of fun and great memories. Lunchtime football on the hard court. The arrival of girls in our 3rd year (shock, horror). Nearly getting suspended in my 1st year for writing on desks. Clambering down to the clifftop (near the chapel overlooking Malpas Rd) at lunchtimes – I’m still amazed no one had a nasty accident there. And the sense of maturing freedom that came from being in the 6th form. Standout teachers would be (in no particular order) Mr Golds (JRAG) for all the Minions trips, Mr George and Mr Laity – both legends with the occasional temper flare up, Mr Johnston (WAJ) for having the driest humour and his catchphrase “somewhat rowdy”. Mr Kenyon and Mr Collette for going psycho every so often. Mr Parfett for funny biology lessons and clay pigeon shooting, Mr Thompson for teaching us more than just chemistry, teaching us how to think for ourselves. Dr Allen for just being a great physics teacher and Mr Rainbow for running the athletics. And as time goes by we lose some of our friends too. Neil Mathieson and Richard Charlton both lost far too early.