At a Chinese lantern festival
By contributor Stephen Hepple
Stephen Hepple from Pegswood quit the rat race to travel the world.
My name is Stephen Hepple (aka AWOL Geordie), 34, from Pegswood, Northumberland.
I left Ashington High School at 16 to join the Royal Navy.
After 10 years as an engineer on ships and submarines I went to Newcastle University to do a MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering.
With children in Taiwan
Unfortunately, thus far, I've never used it.
It was at this point that I decided to drop out of the rat race and fulfil my lifelong dream of travelling the world.
I think a combination of having experienced navy life along with the futility of the UK's work-life balance was the kick up the bum I needed.
I have subsequently discovered that the UK's quality of life is relatively poor - ask any expat!
I have been on my current adventure for two years. I'm now living in beautiful Peurto Galera on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines.
In my life I have been to the following countries:
I have learned Mandarin Chinese (enough to get by) and many other languages to basic level. Chinese is definitely not the easiest of tongues! It takes concerted effort.
I have been teaching English in Taiwan for the last six months, which has been interesting.
This trip started out with the aim of getting from Newcastle to Osaka (Japan) via Iceland without flying. It was quite a challenge but I managed it over three months.
Worldwider Stephen in Vietnam
Fish 'n' chips
What do I miss from Northumberland? Not too much really. Just simple things.
I would love a winter stroll up the Cheviot on a bright crisp morning (I can't remember what cold weather feels like).
I would like a pint in Pegswood Club with my Dad. I would love one of my Mam's home-cooked Sunday dinners.
Amble's fish 'n' chips. Some televised NUFC games. A cheddar cheese sandwich with salad cream. A fresh pint of cold milk with a slice of unsweetened bread.
My blog is called AWOL Geordie. It contains a more detailed account of my adventures over the last two years. There are stories and pictures of the more interesting endeavours.
Zaijian - Chinese for goodbye
last updated: 09/06/2008 at 17:10