Irish Backpacker to Australia â€“ Owen O’Brienâ€™s story
Owen has always been, and always will be, a free spirit. His sense
of adventure has been a true blessing in his life, and his curious
nature has been the springboard for many wonderful experiences while
travelling the world.
It was his desire to explore that eventually led him to the most
exciting discovery of all: the love of his life, his wife Janette.
Owen grabs opportunities with both hands and never looks back.
He trusts his intuition and lets it determine his logic. His knack
for â€˜knowing things will work outâ€™ has seen him overcome many
Popping the Cork
Originally from Cork, in the south of Ireland, Owen lived an ordinary
life with his parents and younger brother and sister. Cork is a small,
picturesque town with the River Liffey winding through the heart of
it. Owen has vivid recollections of the wonderful summers there, when
thousands of tourists would visit. He also recalls the bitterly cold, wet
and windy winters, when social activity was often very restricted.
On young Owenâ€™s bedroom wall was a map of the world with arrows
pointing to the many places he dreamed of seeing one day. Places
where warmth was taken for granted and where life offered more
excitement all year round. He would stare at the map and promise
himself he would get there one day.
After secondary school, Owen graduated in civil engineering at the
nationally acclaimed University College Cork. The opportunity to work
in the family business was there for the taking, but he wasnâ€™t ready
for that just yet. His parentsâ€™ electrical and communications store did
well and would always be an option. It would be a pleasure to work
alongside his dad and other family members â€“ but not yet. Not when
his dreams were about to take off.
He organised his working holiday visa and booked a one-year roundthe-
world air ticket. Having seen many travel shows online, featuring
magnificent clear blue lagoons, he decided to make South-East Asia his
destination. A few hours after farewelling his family and boarding his
first flight, he was in a city in Vietnam which bustled day and night.
Vietnam was even better than he had imagined. The weather was
balmy and comfortable as he eased into holiday mode. He was in no
rush and wanted to experience every aspect of the amazing culture.
But it wasnâ€™t long before he booked himself in for scuba diving lessons,
with a teacher named Janette.
This chance meeting turned out to be a turning point in both
their lives. They connected immediately and a beautiful relationship
developed as if it was simply meant to be.
Owen continued on his journey, spending the next few months in
Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. He and Janette
stayed in constant contact and eventually decided to meet up again in
Sydney, Australia, at the end of his tour of Asia.