My father was a long-distance lorry driver during the sixties and seventies, and every opportunity I could I travelled with him all over Europe. With my father I learned about the wider world beyond the horizon, and from that time onwards I desperately wanted to travel.
When I was 16, I jumped at the chance to join the army. I was posted to Germany during the Cold War. It was an intense time to be a soldier, but I loved it. I embraced the adventurous side of the army and I became a rock climbing and canoeing instructor. I learned to fly gliders and became a keen sailor, sailing yachts for the army in the Mediterranean and around the UK. I learned jungle warfare in Central America, and I canoed across the wastes of Canada among many other adventures.
My role was that of a surveyor in the Royal Artillery, surveying and aligning gunnery systems in the field, and when I left the army after eight years, I used the skills that I had learned and became a trainee surveyor for an oil exploration company. I later followed my love for the sea and became a surveyor in offshore oil exploration industry for ten years, working six months on and six months off. The conditions were harsh and often dangerous, and I sadly lost several friends in a tragic drowning incident.
After deciding to spend more time at home, I found a job with a technology company that had been commissioned to survey every track of railway in Britain following the Hatfield rail disaster. It was a huge undertaking, but once we completed it – using cameras attached to a specially equipped train – we realised we could use the same techniques to survey roads.