Meet Our Residents: From War to Beaches – Nigel Stoneman’s lucky travels
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From German artillery strikes upon his London neighbourhood, to the blissful mountain scenery of Canada. A lot can be said of the extraordinary travels, luck encounters and experiences our North Parramtta Village resident Nigel Stoneman has seen.
Nigel Stoneman was born in the midst of World War II in 1941, on the outskirts of London. A time in England where most people’s efforts and resources were put towards the war.
Nigel’s parents were no different, his father was an artillery officer in the English army, and his mother, a teenager, worked in the war industries.
Although a toddler at the time, Nigel still has distinct memories of being sheltered with his Aunt and Uncle during the bombings of London from the German forces.
Most Londoner’s went about their business following a nights bombing, and Nigel explained that his neighbours house was blown to bits during one night of the bombings, and his mother would stoically sweep up plaster from their ceiling.
Following the war, his extended family wanted to move as far away as they could from Europe, and decided upon Australia.
The journey to Australia from the UK, was done by boat. Though most would say the lengthy 2 month voyage isn’t their cup of tea. Nigel was thrilled by it, getting to sail down the Suex Canal, seeing ships float on the sand and seeing the Pyramids. This is where Nigel’s love for travel began.
Arriving in Sydney, Nigel attended Artamon Primary School and North Sydney Boys high, and later going to Sydney University. Nigel’s first travels of Australia began with a road trip around the home of the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and the Maroons – Queensland.
Nigel was able to work in the NSW Government and part-time as a commando, which was all done with one goal in mind to keep saving up for more travelling.
When the time was right, and he had enough coin. Nigel and his friend would set off to travel where his extended family had left years prior, Europe.
Flying via Japan on his trip, his friend would end up falling in love and moving in with his new Japanese girlfriend.
If you thought flying halfway around the world wasn’t enough to stop his passion for travel. Nigel then decided to travel around the other half of the world, visiting USA & Canada.
Nigel by chance met a friend in Vancouver, who was able to put him up in their place. However, reality now dawned on Nigel. He needed to quickly figure out how to find work, and most importantly how to obtain a work visa.
Having the option to fill out a 140 page application with a six months waiting list, Nigel was desperate for something much faster. He was told to go to border and apply there.
Within 20 minutes of visiting the border control, Nigel was a “landed immigrant”. Having full voting rights and could now work.
Spending his time travelling and enjoying his time in Canada, his job wasn’t much to be desired though. Working at a Hamburger joint for a manager who preyed on vulnerable migrants.
Luck would strike again for Nigel though. A bank manager who played tennis with Nigel, was able to pass along the details of another Australian living in Canada.
Nigel was able to get into contact with this person, and soon was able to borrow their car whilst they were away.
Now freely exploring the country by car, Nigel turned to improve his other issue – his job.
Getting desperate after 20 failed job applications, he was shortlisted between two applications for a drug research study.
Unfortunately not being selected at first, Nigel’s luck would again help him out. As the other candidate would pull out of the position, and now Nigel had a full time job.
Nigel was able to afford to bring his girlfriend to Canada from Russia, and was able to put a deposit on a unit.
Of his experiences, Nigel has said that even failing can be a useful experience, he was able to succeed wherever he went through networking with family and friends around the world.
Following Canada, Nigel and his wife were able to work in Japan & the UK also, before returning to Australia and settling down with a family. To which he has said “that’s another story entirely”.