Living in a small town called Haraki on the island of Rhodes in a tiny villa (3mx10m) overlooking the Aegean Sea was a wonderful experience, (see main image which is the view from our balcony in Haraki) - no radio, no tv, no internet and no newspapers. Blissfully unaware of events at home or around the world, we lived in the moment. I did many more hours work than my desk job back in Perth, but we were free to push ourselves to see what we could do.
After a very successful experience we returned back to Australia the following year. Greece was awesome, but we felt much more at home in Australia. Within a couple of days of landing back in Western Australia we purchased a 4 unit development block to try our hand at developing in Australia. That quickly escalated to an 81 unit development in East Brisbane, then 111 houses on Gold Coast. Within 2 years of being back at home we had $135m in developments underway. This however was not freedom, $30m in loans, 8 financiers, a mountain of employees, contracts, legal fights, construction problems and much more, it was hectic and stressful.
Then 2008 came along and the GFC with it. We had a lot of equity in our properties, but that didn’t matter when every financier stopped lending to developers it made no difference. We had come so far but had well strayed from our path of freedom, we had too much debt and had swapped one master for another, we were anything but free.
2009 and it was back to work again, everything we owned had been put up for sale to settle debts. Houses, cars, boats, motorbikes anything worth selling was sold. We managed to stay liquid then spent the next 18months in litigation. When your down everyone wants a piece of you.
By late 2010 I started up an engineering consultancy and was selling services back into resource industry. By 2012 we purchased our second home of our dreams on 20 acers in the Brisbane City Council region. We were back chasing freedoms and living our lives the way we had planned, although by this stage we now had 3 kids and about to have a 4th! So, things were getting busy.
Always on the lookout for new opportunities we found ourselves purchasing a Diatomite Mine in Qld near Kingaroy. That was moved on within 12 months and then found ourselves the owners of a road sweeping company with 12 trucks. That also got moved on not long afterwards.
Stay tuned for Part III