When I was a child, I used to head down to the marina and watch the boats come and go on the weekends. I hear that a lot of children are fascinated by planes or trains, but not me. I thought that boats were the most interesting things in the world. For a long time, I was there on my own, sitting at the edge of a pier, imagining stories about all the drivers and captains. Where had they come from, and what incredible things had they seen? On a plane, you don’t see anything other than clouds. On a train everything moves by too fast, so you can’t take any of it in. How boring!
On my tenth birthday, I told my parents that I wanted to go to the marina alone, as that was where I found the most happiness. Reluctantly, they let me go. What followed was the best day of my life, one which set up my future. After my usual boat-watching for an hour, I decided to go through a walk. Along the way, I bumped into a man who carried a big box of tools. He said sorry and I asked what he was doing. He said that he was a mechanic, there to do some boat service. Melbourne has a huge port, and in all my time there, I had never met a boat mechanic before.
I asked if I could follow him and learn more about his job. It sounded amazing. He told me all sorts of stories that day, and we laughed at them together. I decided that I wanted to be a boat mechanic too. My favourite story was one where somebody asked him where to get outboard motor services. He just smiled and said, “Right here, of course.” I wanted to have stories like that. I wanted to be just like him. He took me on as an apprentice, and eventually, I did have some stories of my own.