Life before ice cream

Before starting Happy Cones Co in 2015 I was on a personal mission to live and work on every continent of the world before the age of 30. This 9 year journey saw me work 32 jobs on the worlds seven continents (if you’ve been in the shop you would have seen the photos on the wall). As well as photos I earnt a book publishing contract and was a part of two documentaries related to working the world. In this post I want to portray each of these three projects and give links to watch the docos.

Dad and I at the completion of my Outward Bound course in Anakiwa, January 2003

I set this goal as a 21 year old whilst on a 3 night solo in the bush during an Outward Bound course. Three months later I was on a plane to Seoul, South Korea to teach English, having never left my home continent. During the next nine years I would work on oil rigs in Canada, be a dive master in Thailand, cycle unsupported through Africa, be a business tutor in Spain, fake my way into being a 6 star waiter on an Antarctic cruise ship, work in the outback of Australia as an exploration field assistant and volunteer at a Mexican orphanage among many others.

6 starAntarctic waiter, 2010

Nearing the end of the journey after being interviewed on TV back in New Zealand, I signed a book publishing contract with with Australasia’s largest independent book publisher Allen & Unwin. At the completion of my goal my book Hap Working the World was published in November 2012.

Although my book has an overall rating of 4.2 on Goodreads, it’s certainly not going to win any literary awards. In fact one of my favorite reviews is this 1 star left on

“This is quite the story, but is really poorly written”

I wrote the book as though you’re sitting at the bar with me having a beer. I never pretended to be a writer, in fact the only reason anything I write makes any sense, has correct spelling or punctuation is because Mandy is my editor. I don’t try and glorify my travels. Whilst writing the book I had three words written on the wall 1. Honest 2. Funny 3. Down to Earth. I see the book as a journey of a young 21 year old who thought he knew everything becoming a 30 year old man who realised he knew nothing. Each chapter is a new country, new job and is split into short, chronological short stories, so it’s an easy read.

If you’re by the shop, pick up a copy and I’ll be happy to sign it for you.

“A fantastic, honest story about a truly inspirational journey around the world, which had me both laughing out loud and in tears. I didn’t want to put this book down! I finished the book feeling inspired to pursue my own travel dreams. Highly recommend!”

Hap crossing the border on his bike into Zimbabwe
Entering Zimbabwe on two wheels.

The first feature length documentary I co-directed with friend Richard “Sich” Sidey was Bikes for Africa, which won the Special Jury Award at the 2012 New Zealand Mountain Film Festival. I’m especially proud of this as Sich and I made this on a shoestring budget. After a brief schooling from Sich on how to film, Mandy and I set out for Africa armed with a handy cam, tripod and orders from Sich to capture everything, even the bad. What we ended up capturing was so much more.

Filming for Bikes for Africa in a village in the Caprivi strip, Namibia. 2011

It’s an entertaining, insightful and emotional story following my journey with then girlfriend Mandy (now wife), through my seventh continent on two wheels. You’ll see our attempt to help implement a self-sustainable bike workshop in rural Namibia with a container load of secondhand donated bikes from Melbourne. The documentary endeavors to investigate how a bicycle can fundamentally change the lives of rural Africans, and brings to focus the great works of two-wheeled charities Bicycles for Humanity and the Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia.

Bikes for Africa – Full Documentary. A journey on two wheels through Hap’s final continent.

After people read Hap Working the World and watched Bikes for Africa, they always had one questions, “WHAT HAPPENED TO HAP AND MANDY?” Which was a fair enough question. At the completion of both “Hap Working the World” and “Bikes for Africa” Mandy and I were broken up living in separate countries, but then the credits rolled saying “Hap and Mandy are now married!”

Our New Zealand wedding, 2012. Next green card…………NOT!

It was this question that Susan Parker had, a producer I met whilst screening Bikes for Africa at the New Zealand Documentary Edge Film Festival. Susan’s passion for a good ol’ inspiring love story saw us teaming up to create “Loving in Limbo”. I continued to film as Mandy and I took on US immigration after I was refused my Green Card in 2013. We were married in NZ in 2012, but Mandy still lived in Denver, while I was waiting out the Green Card process back in New Zealand.

After nearly a two year battle I arrived in Denver to be with Mandy in 2014. In 2015 I was ready to put all my energy into this crazy idea of bringing New Zealand Styled ice cream to Colorado. In June that year Mandy and I opened Happy Cones Co with a 1989 blue short bus.

Happy Cones Truck at Avanti
June 2015, Happy Cones Co open for business outside Avanti F&B

I thought the 5 years of footage I had captured would lay untouched on a hard drive. Then Susan decided this was the perfect chance for her to live her dream of directing a documentary. So after a successful Kickstarter she took on the challenge of telling this complicated love story that spanned 7 continents, a break up in Africa, a reunion over Skype, a marriage a year later, a green card refused, a battle with US immigration, to a final reunion and living the American dream! Below is the trailer I created while working on it in NZ before moving to Denver, and here is the link to the final documentary Susan directed, unfortunately I’m unable to embed it, but the link works fine