In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with long-time friend June O’Brien. As someone who has an infectious zest for life, listen as June shares with us her adventurous life journey so far and the special DASH principle she loves to live by.
In this episode you’ll also hear:
– what growing up on the coast of New Guinea was like
– how June’s adventurous spirit led her to creating unique travel experiences for others
– what can happen when you open up to experiences you wouldn’t normally try
– the important role travel has in June’s life and how it shaped her as a person
– what it means to make the most of your life… and so much more!
The Dash – By Linda Ellis.
A view from Young Writers award.
Join Catherine’s membership The Happiness Lounge here
Connect with Catherine here:
Connect with June O’Brien here:
Epic Taste Experiences
LI: Epic Taste Experiences
This podcast is produced by Nikki O’Brien from Quintessential Being
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So these two ladies I, you know, I'm forever grateful and in debt to who are friggin awesome. Yeah.
And, you know, that was strong women. It was interesting. Well go back and I think what needs to
happen is they had, you know, their kids, they were breastfeeding. One was breastfeeding while you
know, negotiating contracts and stuff like that. You know, they were diving We're really into all sorts of
stories photography. And when I've actually I came back to Australia got married first married, you
you would have only been young 20s Then early 20s, wouldn't you? Because I'm just thinking were the
same Binti? I'm only 38 Yes, same. I must be a bit older. I'm 44 Yeah, yeah. So, so you would have
been early 20s? Wow.
Yeah, two years. I loved it. Love. You know, I, ah, everything of my apartment with the bed that came
out of the wall. Yeah, yeah. No, and then fold it up. Yeah. You know, it was really expensive. Like, I
probably would have had maybe only $100 a week left to go out and party, but I loved it. I could walk
everywhere. You know, Lombard Street, you know, Golden Gate. I thought I could walk in the Golden
Gate Park in one day.
I haven't been I haven't been to San Francisco.
Loved it lovely when they, you know, got to travel down the coast and went out to Napa Valley and Las
Las Vegas. Time over there. Back in the day, you know, so it was loads and loads of fun.
A bit of a risk a bit of a adventurer, would you say? Yeah. Yeah, that's the sense. I get me sort of
talking about that sort of, maybe it's in your family lineage and in your blood, but that's when I met you.
You just had this zest for life. And everything was an adventure. Everything was an adventure even
just, you know, catch ups and things you always
curious. I'll make curious. And you. Yeah, if someone you know, if I'm coming somewhere or you're say,
Yeah, you're coming, I will make the time Yes. To meet. I'll do what
I can put some pieces together. Now, in even just those little bits that you've talked about just that
family lineage? You know, it's a little bit of that nature versus nurture, isn't it? Is it in your blood? Or is it
through experience? I think I personally think it's a bit of both. Yeah, it's a bit of both. I think we're wired
a certain way and we come in with certain attributes, and then the experiences we have sort of shape
those as well. So So what happened you move back to Australia, went
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back to Australia, to Cannes went up to the table and lived on the table and and then came down to calf
Canberra? Yeah, that would have been it was their shock because Canberra for those those in
Australia will know where the capital of Australia were halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, where
June moved from was on the coast. It was tropical, it was kind of holiday people went there. To
holidays, Canberra is the seat of Parliament.
Basically the Barrier Reef.
Yeah. where you came from? Yeah, yes. Into the political capital ins. I mean, that's not all Canberra is
but what are you still studying tourism there, didn't you? Yes.
Still, yeah, work for a couple of literally I work for, I think there's not one travel industry or agency that I
haven't worked for, you know, you name it. I've been there. I've worked there.
Do you know what I remember? Because when I travelled overseas, I went overseas for six months,
and you were my private travel agent to organise my trip when I worked out where I was going to go
and things like that. And that was that was pretty cool. That was pretty because you had all this. You
know, you've been to a lot of places that I was going to and you were sort of able to give me that
personal recommendations, which was very cool.
And I love that, you know, and if I don't know about it, I'll find it. I always find out. You know, I still have
friends go gesturing, though, when you first started out. I think one friend reckons that I tried to send
them back in those days. We used to have these we didn't have computers.
No, it was all you had to write your books. And all the tickets were handwritten tickets that I guarded
with my life that I didn't want to lose them a traveler's checks and oh my god, I've just got Oh god, I
sorry. Yeah, I won't talk about but some of the situations I got myself into. It's just like, oh my god,
Catherine. Really, I look back on it and going because I wouldn't have been 24 When I was travelling
on my own just a solo woman and pretty naive and pretty. Like, yeah, Some of the things I think about
it's just like shit. I'm lucky I got through.
Well, I think that data you bring that karma. Karma is it. Yeah. When you have that, when you just open
to travel and waiting, you do have a great time. Yes. You know, I know I think of that I think of we were
in France and I think, oh, you know, we, I went to a French hairdresser. And I wanted to get my hair
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straightened and, and I'm sitting there, and I'm explaining and then I come up with a, either massive
perm. I could be
glad I'm sitting here going, oh, you know, then I went, what the hell? What the hell? Right? If I have
permed hair, that'd be hilarious if I bought that red hair. You know what, to blonde tips and all that
anyway, when it was done, she don't look good. I looks like I walk past my now husband. Got rid of the
old one got in a new one. And he didn't even recognise me. Anyway, so I'm like, Shit, I will person is
like, looked up twice. Anyway, so long story short, but talking about travel. Yeah, we met the waiter.
And we said, hey, you know, can we want to go and listen to some jazz? Second last night in in Paris.
He said, Oh, he said, If you wait, you can come with me. So he ended up taking us to this waiters club.
So we even got the bus ticket for us, with him to this wider club. And then we met all his other way to
everyone's in transition because they finished their shift. And then he then put us on a bus to this
nightclub. That was we had no idea where we were. And it was a big wooden door you had to he
explained to the taxi driver what the? I suppose what he had to do. And the taxi driver took us there.
The little slide window open. And it's got Bella. And then it shot. And then he opened and we went into
this underground sort of come Yeah, that had you know Heineken was begun $28 A bottle for you
know, beer, and it was like, wow, you know, amazing anyway, but we could have been anywhere.
And you wouldn't have had that experience had you not just asked? Yeah, taking the opportunity to
take and just gone like Gone With instead of gone or anything could happen. You know, we didn't do
that. We just jumped. Yeah, let's go and discover you know, and when we're finished, we had a couple
of beers have a look. It was great jazz. And lucky. I said to my husband. Yeah, not husband. Then I
said Tim how do we get home? Yeah. And he said oh yeah, hang on our we have
before Uber This is before
we had a receipt but he got the bouncer we got the bouncer to get call it hell occur. And we couldn't
read where we were going. And so back to our hotel back in Paris. So we didn't know where we were in
that in quarters that GMAT whatever how we got back you know, we thought we could look up
anywhere. Doctor soft, not a problem. So all our travel experience, I think is when you're open to
Yeah, bloody health in Paris. I was going from got the train from England across to France, and I was
24. And you used to book I think you'd booked my tickets for me and stuff. But you would get the
overnight train so you didn't have to pay for accommodation. That was my tip. Remember your tip?
Yep. And then anyway, got into Paris at you know, it was midnight. This is like, I'm not paying for
accommodation. And I've met up with these two American guys on the train will just talking. I said,
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Where are you guys staying? And they said, we're not paying for accommodation. We'll just sleep on
the footpath. And I'm like, oh, okay, that sounds good. And I was the one I had sleeping that they didn't
even have sleeping bags. Visiting. Come sleep with us if you want like, oh, okay, so I just went with
them and we set ourselves up on this footpath when they said, You can sleep in the middle because
you're the girl will keep you safe. I'm going Oh, okay. And we're sleeping there. I don't think I got any
sleep but in the middle of these two guys, and then we're in the front of the shop and somebody came
out and they put this roll of carpet over the top of us to keep us warm. And it was kind of like, Oh, that's
really nice. So we did get maybe, I don't know, 10 minutes sleep. And then the next morning, we went
back to the train station because we put our backpacks in the luggage child. And they said, Where are
you heading off to? And I said, I'm just going to go and see if I can get a hostel. And I said, Yeah, I
reckon we'll do that, too. And so we hung out for a couple of days. They were really like, they were
really great, guys. But that could have been done very, very differently. And just trusting.
Yeah. And I think that's, it's a good thing with that. Because it's you're trusting your gut. That's where
we can look at it that way. But
I think back then, I think, you know, had we learned about your gut feeling. Yeah, yeah. I didn't have
that. We just went yeah, let's just
do that. I think there was somebody because there was some dumbass being said, I had done on that
trip, and you know, in other areas of life as well, but yeah, cool. So travel was a big thing. And you've
always been in the travel industry, because I know you were definitely worried when I met you. You've
stayed in that. Let's fast forward. What are you doing now? Because you've got our own businesses.
So fast forward. So basically took a bit of a detour from and worked in the basketball industry for yes,
so when I came back out to visit so the so there's three levels, three levels of the tier basketball is NBL
and then NBL one and then we J, which is a junior, so there's three look for basketball. So I was with
the team in BL one but I also helped out with NBL as well. So that's the national
basketball league Yes, I did a bit of community customer service in that space and sponsorship so
because that's the sort of person I am I still
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within I was gonna say even though it wasn't travel, is still that customer service, organising
experiences. The thing I remember very much about you June is you would curate experiences for
Yeah, and still do that. So always and every time with even working in the travel industry in the
basketball. I like showing people around. I wouldn't know unique need to go here. You should try that
you eat there. And I'm, you know, again, it was always about food and travel and expense. And so, you
know, after doing that we bought we call my husband calls it a impulse purchase in Geelong. So I
bought a house and he's
it's a Victorian house. So how far from Melbourne? Are you?
So we're an hour so just an hour west? Or southwest of? Yes. The other airport so the spirit of Tassie
comes to Geelong?
Yeah, it goes to Tasmania, the ship, it goes to Tasmania.
Yes. So there's a lot of things here. And I think one thing if you've got international people that they may
know that julong is actually a UNESCO city of credit to science. And refrigeration was invented in
Geelong did not know that. Yes. So it refrigeration also DeLonge actually had the first telephone
exchange here. So that actually connected the world. Yes, so refrigeration. The other thing is there was
a jeweller, designer, who actually invented the or the decimal point. So for me making the move to
Geelong, I'm like, wow, you know, and it's such an entrepreneurial place and space. I went yeah, like
it's, I've met some amazing people who said, you know, yeah, you should, you know, my friends used
to go you should do travel and tours, June, you know, start a business. And I, you know, I think
sometimes again, when I was in Melbourne, you sort of don't see outside you just like, you know, day in
you do your, you know, get out
into your little paradigm you get into yours, you kind of get blinkers on, don't you
and just yet this is your day to day. Moving through the motion. You get up in saying that I love what I
was doing in the basketball space that allowed me that opportunity of like, oh, there must be more like
and working remotely. So I got to go yep, I can be Noosa working, still working doing basketball stuff.
And yeah, there's got to be more. So I started discovering all of these different things. So when I came
to draw my way, wow, all of these people go, Hey, you can work remotely you can do this. You can
start we'll help you. We'll connect you why Ah,
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so lots of opportunities and possibilities.
Possibilities. So for me, I think had we not moved here. I don't think I would have started my own travel.
Anyway one, yeah. All right. I'm gonna try this. So and that's it. It's always Yeah, I haven't got have
gotten so 2020 pandemics, you know came in, I decided I'm gonna start my travel business. Yes.
started during COVID. Everyone went, Wow, that would have been hard tourism. In the pandemic. And
for me, it was one windy, when is a good time to start started.
Just do it, give it a go. But yeah,
have a go have a crack. And the other thing was, it was a really good time to actually study what I
wanted to do. How was that set up? Take my time to build those foundations of the business. What am
I, you know, I know I'm great at and that's one of my super powers is connecting. Customer service. I
suppose it's always me. But then putting that how do I do that as the business? Yeah. What can I do?
So having that time, and I wasn't in a rush, either. I'm still not in a rush. Yeah,
You test it. I'm still testing how I'm doing the business anyway. So yes. So I just thought, what do you
do you take people on tours to people on tours, so Food and Wine Tours. But I don't say tours
aren't perfect yet. Sorry. My bad. Yeah. Don't put me on your marketing team. But yes,
it's been one, but it's also different experiences as well. So for example, real estate. So one of the
things that I found is, you know, I live travel. So every time I'm like packing up, trying to get into a
location, you know, you look at real estate and go, Oh, the house looks great. But when you get that it's
like, oh, geez, the neighbourhood the grasses. Even though it says the school zone is only you know,
10 minutes down the road, it's, you don't
really know a sense of what the suburbs like. When you relocate. Yeah, yeah. So do you do that for
people? Do you do it for people?
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Yes. So doing that as well, working with corporate so AAA is, so that's another spin on part of my
business is looking after AAA is who send me an email to hygiene. You know, we've got a meeting
coming up, we've got 10 people. I'm technically like writing, like an itinerary still. Yeah. So while they're
still doing their own business working, doing their job, I can send them right through places, quotes, you
know, for an event here pricing, yeah. And then send it to them, they can go okay. And they can either
connect, then save some, you know, swiping looking at things when, you know, there's almost
like a little bit of an issue. There's bits where you do take people on experiences, but you're also an
intermediary for their experiences, but also the real estate option as well.
Yeah, again, it's showing them around it. Still tours. Yeah. But showing the different suburbs.
This is a growth area. This is what's happening this region, down all the way down through the south
coast as well. So people might know about Bell's beach beach surf area, you know, looking at real
estates from their move through the coast, versus Geelong. So julong Sprite, we were the third biggest
growth real estate
during during COVID Because people were wanting to because I guess it's in that lifestyle. Is it
lifestyle? Yeah, actually, I've got a couple of friends that have made that sea change. To do that, yeah,
that lifestyle change.
Yes. So showing people that again, you know, a lot of people don't realise how awesome this area
Yeah, but people think of Melbourne, Melbourne and Melbourne. You can get there by there's going to
be a fast train that they're building. We've got the ferry to get to the city, but you know, so showcasing
that Yes. So when people do come here, and it's a food and wine tour, not only and it's an experience
Yes. So I tell them also about the history Yeah. Well, I'm
sure you just being with you would be an expense. So you've got your little van and you take them
yes. I only take up to max I like small 10 year, a group of 10 but it is all bespoke and curated for them.
Yes. Oh, yes, yes, definitely do that.
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Oh, gosh. And you can say during the travel, the adventure the experiences, that's definitely, you know,
part of the package of who you are. I want to get back because they did say at the intro that there is a
principle that you do live your life by. And we were chatting about that. Do you want to share that with
the listeners? Yeah. I loved it. I loved it. Yeah.
So one of the things that I like, and it's called, there's a poem, and it's called the dash and it's, and for
me, it's make it count. So the dash if you get time, the lady's name is Linda Ellis, who wrote this poem. I
think she's the original writer. So it's about you know, when a person's born, and when they die. So on
their tombstone, you have your birth date, the death day, and there's just this little dash. And when you
go to a funeral, you know, people talk about our fans, so Well, they've bought at such and such, and
that little dash has so much, you know, and it's all their story in the journey in that dash to play, they
die. So for me, part of my motto is make that dash count. Yeah, do whatever. So, you know, whatever.
So even though on your tombstone, it's just so tiny. Yeah. And it looks like there's nothing so for me,
that's what it's about, make that dash and do you know, make it count? Do? Oh, go? And, yes,
I love that so much. Because really, it to me, that's a really powerful metaphor, and we will put the link
to the poem in the show notes. But to me, it is such a powerful metaphor that on your tombstone or on
your plaque, or on your, you know, that wherever that little dash doesn't look like much, but what is it
that you're going to make of your life? Because this lifetime, we have one experience that, you know,
this this lifetime to experience? What are we actually going to do there, and the choice is ours. There
are some circumstances, there are some events, you know, when you're in Paris, you could have just
gone home after the dinner, but you chose to ask if there aren't any jazz clubs around and open up this
beautiful experience. I could have chosen to, you know, pay extra money and go to a hostel and not get
to sleep with those two Americans in the middle of Americans on a footpath in Paris. You know, it's a
good it's a, you know, our connection when we met you, guys. Sorry, you know, because because you
said, Oh, we're waiting for friends, and I could easily have gone. Oh, all right, you know, fuck you.
somewhere else, and now. Still no one, you just sit here with the table? By yourself. But yes, so.
And yes. And we just got chatting. To me, it says kind of sliding door moments, you know, that movie
sliding doors that if I chose to do this thing, this can happen. But if I choose to do something else,
another thing could happen. It's for me, it's about that conscious living and really about making the
choices and making the most of life. Really, for me, it's about making the most of life, which is what
you're sharing as well. Is absolutely.
You know, I think that's one thing we've always I think chat about is if we try and experience or trying
something, whether it's different new food that we've never heard of, or, you know, a restaurant, you
take the goat in, you go to a restaurant because someone's recommended it or you've heard about it.
So I think for us, we always go, Okay, we'll go and see. It's something that I'm trying to teach mine. The
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child is my daughter, she's 24 I referred to her as the child. But my friends knows the child. And it's
something that I you know, she'll say, Ah, but mom, but what if but what if? And I'm going
Yeah, but what if what if? Yeah, what if you die?
Yeah. And I think trying to teach her that have a go and do something because the kids nowadays is
everything is our you know, they'll have a look on their phone.
Yeah, I must instant gratification sometimes to find one of the things I've we've just come back from a
nice relaxing time at the coast. And I'm one of those things I don't like cold water. I don't like cold stuff.
And the water was really cold and I'm one of those, you know, tiptoe into the water. And you know, my
son Henry is a walk up, dive under and it's beautiful. And I always think like why I just get in just do it,
just do it. Because once I'm in the water, it's that initial kind of dislike, or don't like that the feeling but
once I'm in there, I love it. So why am I prolonging it by just tiptoeing and fiddle farting around
sometimes you just need to embrace it. Yeah, just get out of our own way. And just do it.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's something actually it's interesting. You say that because I only last year, the year
before really had that change of mindset. So I do listen to an awesome lady, her podcast, Farah
Grantsburg. And she's a local Melbourne girl. And she's just amazing. And the different people that she
gets to interview like yourself, it's all that positive affirmation and, and that practice. And that was one
thing away. So one of my friends said to me, Hey, June, will you come swimming with me? And you
know, see this. I like 28 degrees plus warm. Yeah,
me too. I was saying to John, I'm 28 to 32 degrees is my optimum. It was fucking 42. Language. It was
42 it was hot when we went outside. No, that was just my man outside the water. Yeah.
Nice. But, so this friend said, oh, you know what? And I went, Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay. She said, You
know, we're going summer. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, this is down in our beautiful Eastern Bay here in
Geelong. And it's, and if you have a look at my Instagram, you can see it's, it's it's like the French
Riviera, with big fountains enclosed in anywhere where it's swimming. And I said to my husband, oh,
my God, I've said yes, I've committed to go swimming with her. And we went in, and I loved her. Yeah.
Yeah. And it was that. Yeah, dive in. Yeah. And I loved it that much. But the next day I came, I said,
Right, we're all going down.
And I love it. So we're all gonna love it.
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Yeah. The child said to me, What have you done with my mother? And when we went down, she stood
there. She squealed she carried on she wouldn't touch the water, mom, but Mom, it looks calm. Just
diving. You know? And that's that. That's nap of just Yeah, doing it jump.
Just embrace it, embrace it. Oh, my gosh, Jim, we could talk forever and tell us where the listeners can
find you. What's your business called?
So the business is called Epic taste experiences. And yes, I operate out of what we're on country,
which is julong which is just outside of Melbourne. And you can also follow me on Facebook or
Instagram, Instagram, LinkedIn, I do also have the business under the LinkedIn
vehicle. We'll put all those details in the show notes there if people want to find them. So oh my gosh,
time just goes way way too quickly. Thank you so much gorgeous for that and look forward to hearing
about your next experiences, your travel experiences. So thank me happiness, happiness to you.
Thank you gorgeous. Thanks, ciao