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My Life Story - top

About me. Hmm. Trying to write about such an amazing person as myself is a tough task, but I'll see what I can do. ;)

I was born in Hammersmith, London on the 27th March, 1984, and lived in Acton for a few years before moving to Wales when I was about 3. I have few memories of London, but one of my favourites is of my great-grandfather, who always used to give me a little bag of sweets whenever I visited. Mmm, sweets.

I was raised mainly in Wales; I lived in Cardiff for the first 3 years or so that we were there, then moved a couple of miles away to a little Welsh mining town called Risca, where I stayed until I was 13.

My dad's job moved to Romsey, in the South of England, in the summer of 1997 so I spent the last 3 years of school there, where I got 13 GCSE's, then went to Peter Symonds' College in nearby Winchester, where I took Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science and Maths at A-Level. I finished college in 2002.

I took a year out before university, but my plans for the year (Gap Year Commission with the British Army) fell through and I ended up leaving home and moving to Manchester instead, where I got several jobs and eventually earned enough money to go abroad for the first time, a 6 week holiday of a lifetime to New Zealand. I just packed my bags, jetted off by myself, and had the *best* time ever. I did 3 bungee jumps, a skydive, and swam with dolphins, as well as taking flying lessons and hiking across volcanoes. Excellent stuff. First time ever on a plane, ever abroad, and I go half way around the world. Way to go me!

After I returned from that holiday, I knew I *had* to go abroad again, and soon, so I worked and saved and got together another bunch of money to go traveling during the summer to Holland and Norway, before finally coming home and starting university in September 2003.

I've just finished a 4 year BSc Computer Science course at the University of Kent. Those 4 years have gone incredibly fast, and I can't believe it's all over already!

I did a Year in Industry in my 3rd year, and I managed to get a placement in San Francisco, California. I had a kickass time out there, and met a whole bunch of really cool people. I spent just as much time surfing and snowboarding as working! Plus, I got really involved with an amazing student organisation, AIESEC, and organised several large conferences during my time there. I really miss everyone though, and I couldn't seem to stop buying flights back to America with my final year loan money ;)

I've spent 2 months working for the AIESEC Alumni Association in Delhi, India, between July and September 2007. The plan was to stay there for a year, but I decided to leave early, primarily for medical reasons. I had a pretty rough time there, and I simply couldn't afford all the medical bills! I did get to see the Taj Mahal though, which is truly captivating.

Well, what else is there to say about me? I like to make people laugh, either with me or at me; I'm a child at heart and always will be. I'm also, apparently, the best person to have as a drinking buddy.

Aims for the Future - top

I had hoped to get a place on the Civil Service faststream, but it doesn't look like that's a possibility anymore, which is disappointing. I'm now looking at various degree-related graduate opportunities, but I'd love to have time and money to be able to develop my photography and writing (both fiction and journalism) skills.

Travel plays a big part in my plans as well. I'm a total travel addict, and anything that allows me to explore the world is a definite bonus!

So much to do and so little life to do it in!

Travel - top

I first went abroad in Feb 2003 when, half way through my Gap Year, I went to New Zealand for 6 weeks (and Australia for 4 days!). It was quite possibly the best time of my life, and it certainly gave me the travel bug! I now love traveling around the world and exploring new cultures and new places.

These are the places I've visited:
  • Feb 2003 - New Zealand / Australia
  • Jun 2003 - Roskilde, Denmark
  • Jul 2003 - Amsterdam, Holland
  • Aug 2003 - Norway
  • Dec 2003 - Norway
  • Jun 2004 - Norway / Sweden
  • Jul 2004 - Roskilde, Denmark
  • Aug 2004 - Eindhoven, Holland
  • Aug 2004 - Michigan, USA
  • Jul 2005 -> Aug 2006 - California, USA
  • Jul 2006 - Hawaii
  • Jul 2006 - Road trip around the US, 36 states in 16 days
  • Aug 2006 - Norway
  • Oct 2006 - New York City, USA
  • Oct 2006 - Las Vegas, USA
  • Dec 2006 - South Carolina, USA
  • Apr 2007 - Norway
  • Jul 2007 -> Sep 2007 - Delhi, India
These are some countries I would like to visit!
  • Egypt
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • China
  • Thailand
  • Japan

AIESEC - top

AIESEC is a pretty amazing international student organisation. In fact, it's the biggest one there is, based out of 100 countries. In a nutshell, it's an exchange organisation; It sends students abroad.

It does this by encouraging students to go out and raise traineeships/internships with local companies and organisations. These positions are then advertised on a global database that only members of AIESEC have access to, allowing AIESEC members from other countries to apply and, if successful, go abroad and fill that placement!

AIESEC is about much more than simply giving students the opportunity to go abroad, though. It's all about impact! AIESEC aims to increase young people's global awareness, and develop their leadership skills, through these placements. With cultural understanding comes tolerance, and AIESEC is aiming to create a better tomorrow my training it's leaders today.

In addition to sending students abroad, AIESEC focuses on developing students who stay in their home community. Some are trained as Sales leaders, who are responsible for creating the traineeship opportunities with local business, some as events leaders, who create events for both members and trainees. There are a whole variety of different things available for members to do, and there truly is something for everyone.

I got involved with AIESEC in the United States on my sandwich placement year, when I was working for Sun Microsystems in California. AIESEC had sponsored my visa, which meant that even though I wasn't an official AIESEC trainee (the internship position wasn't created through AIESEC), I was still treated as one. Which was awesome! I got the support of the local community, based out of San Jose State University, who organised a whole bunch of events around me and the other new sun trainees. In the first two weeks, I went to a leadership development seminar, rafting and surfing, and I did many *many* more over the course of the year.

One of the highlights of AIESEC are the conferences. This is where AIESECers from a number of different communities get together to run training workshops and hang out. It's an excellent opportunity to network and socialise, you end up looking forward to the next conference just so you can see everyone again!

I ended up getting heavily involved with AIESEC. After Christmas I took over the role of Events Coordinator for the Bay Area, and in February I organised a regional conference in Los Angeles! I left the States in August to come back to Uni and finish my degree, but headed back twice to help run two different conferences.

All in all, AIESEC is *awesome*!

Wotmania - top

Wotmania represents one (of the many) geeky sides of me. It's a fansite for a series of books called "The Wheel of Time", written by Robert Jordan. I first joined up around 2001 and have been a regular ever since.

While the site has a thriving community based around the books, there is also a "Community" section, mostly populated by those (including myself) who have become disillusioned by the books (they're boring and clunky now, nowhere near as good as they used to be. RJ is milking the cash cow), and that's where I hang out most of the time.

Wotmania has fairly frequent gatherings, where people meet up in "Real Life". I've been to quite a few, and even organised several myself, and I've met (at the last count) 108 different wotmaniacs! One of my friends, Tim, has recently been challenging me for my title as the person who's met the most wotmaniacs. I think we're currently equal.

Will it still be around in 5 years? Who knows!

Reading - top

I'm quite an avid reader, and my main areas of interest are "Sword & Sorcery", or High Fantasy, Science Fiction and Alternative History.

I first got into reading when I complained to my Dad that I was bored once, when I was about 10, and he gave me the first book of David Eddings' "Belgariad", called "Pawn of Prophecy". I finished that book that same day, and devoured the rest of the series before hitting the library, going to the Science Fiction and Fantasy section for the first time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here are a couple of my favourite authors, in no particular order:
  • David Eddings (a guilty pleasure, and a nice easy read)
  • Neal Stephenson
  • Steven Erikson
  • George R.R. Martin
  • Terry Goodkind (another one I shouldn't like but do)
  • Robin Hobb
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Neil Gaiman
  • China Mieville
  • Tad Williams
  • Stephen King (for the Dark Tower series)
  • Tom Holt
  • Terry Brooks
  • Jon Courtney Grimwood

Music - top

My music tastes are quite eclectic and varied. I like lots of different music from a lot of different genres, but pretty much the only things I *don't* like are Hiphop, Rap and R'n'B.

Some of my favourite artists are as follows, in no particular order:
  • Mike Oldfield
  • Enigma
  • Enya
  • Keane
  • Faithless
  • Frou Frou
  • Jean Michelle Jarre
  • Nine Days
  • Poe
  • Queen
  • Balligomingo
  • The Verve
  • Nightwish
  • Blur
  • Oasis
  • Coldplay
  • Foo Fighters
  • Katie Melua
  • Muse
  • The Flaming Lips
  • Aerosmith
  • Guns'n'Roses
  • Weird al Yankovich