We had seen the turn of the century, the millennium in fact and I was enjoying my time at work fixing Mercs all day, I had been given the opportunity to complete lots of manufacturer training courses and I had got myself a reputation for being an efficient technician with a good ability to diagnose complicated faults.
That was what I enjoyed the most, receiving a broken down car on the back of a flat bed truck and figuring out what was wrong, making an accurate diagnosis and resolving the problem. Much like a doctor, but with the ability to test drive my patients after they are cured.
There's something very satisfying about taking a test drive in a car that you have just spent time working on, proving out that it's in good working order.
Back then the best cars that came in were the AMG variants, I still have a love for these models. So much so I own a C43 AMG in mint condition, sadly in storage in the UK.
After almost 6 years at Mercedes-Benz in Tonbridge I had bought and sold a couple of cars and saved enough money to set off on a year long, around the world backpacking adventure.
Inspired by my brother Paul, who was somewhat of a backpacking pioneer, I set off for South East Asia first. I landed in Bangkok on the 17th October 2002, on the 18th October 2002 I had all my money stolen on a night bus! Not a good start but it didn't deter my adventurous spirit, I spent 5 months travelling, visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
Money was getting low so I got a job in Queenstown, New Zealand, working as a technician for a car rental company. Earning just enough money to buy a season pass for the ski slopes. Unfortunately it was the worst snow season in 70 years, it rained almost every day and hardly any snow. So I spend most of my free time in the pub!
After 5 months in NZ I had to start heading home, via Bali and Lombok for a month.
Arriving back into Heathrow on 16th October 2003, exactly 1 year away, I had to get back to work and earn some more money for the next adventure!