Life on the road is no barrier for CQU student Theo

08 March 2022

Theo George isn't letting his passion for travel hold him back from higher education.

Originally from Rockhampton' Theo has spent the last two years of his life on the road and more recently added a study journey to his itinerary.

The Bachelor of Arts student is studying via distance with CQUniversity' allowing him to complete his education regardless of where he happens to be that day.

"I first began my studies while travelling the east coast of Australia.

"Given the life I lead and my personality type' I was not a well-suited student to the structure of mainstream education'" Theo said.

"CQU has given me the freedom to complete my studies in my own time' under my own direction. This has encouraged me to take the opportunity for all it is worth. I am in complete control' and I love it!"

After spending six months studying full-time to complete his Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) enabling course' Theo said the choice to continue his studies with CQU was an easy one.

"As I didn't complete any further study after dropping out of high school in Year 11' STEPS prepared me to take on tertiary education and provided entry into my Bachelor of Arts degree.

"Initially it was intimidating. The process felt daunting but after two weeks in a routine I found my confidence' especially once the grading and lecturer feedback started coming through'" he said.

"There are heaps of avenues of support available if needed. There are forums to connect with peers and email access to lecturers. Even when I felt I was asking something trivial' the support was unwavering.

"My greatest challenge has ended up not being my assignments but making sure I had enough reception to use the hotspot from my mobile to connect to the internet."

While life on the road may not be the best fit for everyone' Theo said he knew it was the right path after spending time working in tourism on Great Keppel Island (GKI).

"After seeing all the travellers visiting GKI' I was inspired to step outside my comfort zone and used my savings to buy a 2000 Hiace.

"Taking a lot of inspiration from Pinterest' and not knowing what life on the road would be like' I went to work on building my van.

"This was a leap of faith but my background working various construction and technician roles in my younger years paid off in skills as a handyman'" he explained.

"The whole van life scene was the best space to utilise these skills - independence' practical thinking and self-resilience are fundamental when it comes to life on the road.

"A thirst for adventure and new experiences just bolster how liberating this lifestyle is."

With the world as his classroom' the avid explorer developed a greater curiosity about social structures and world history that encouraged him to continue his studies in arts' focusing on sociology and Indigenous studies.

"I chose to study a minor in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. This choice is credited to my mother' Loretta George as she has always been passionate about our First Nations People and that value is reflected in me.

"I plan to learn more about Australia's origins and the lessons this lasting ancient civilization has to teach us. Knowledge of First Nations Peoples and finding a connection to this country I call home is fundamental to my moral compass'" Theo said.

"I also hope this degree will deepen my understanding of our country's unique social structure that can assist me throughout my career."

When not behind the wheel of his car or a computer screen' Theo can be found behind a microphone as a host and Master of Ceremonies (MC) in the Australian skateboarding community.

"I have worked with the Australian Skateboarding Community Initiative (ASCI) over the past seven years. This developed after I met Donald Fraser' the CEO of ASCI' at a skateboarding event in Brisbane.

"Through this relationship' I worked to develop grassroots programs for new skaters and coordinate various competitions before I naturally fell into an MC role due to my background in music. It was one of those 'right place at the right time' stories.

"My role with ASCI has me working with the media regularly. My studies will help me to gain a deeper understanding of journalism and how to best liaise with the media to create more engaging content for our events.

"I want to capitalise on the opportunities available when the media create features on the events delivered by ASCI to showcase our growing talent of skateboarders."

Despite the disruption COVID restrictions have caused to most people's travel over the past few years' Theo is optimistic about what the next year has in store.

"The future is looking bright!

"After trialing van life for over a year' I decided to sell it and buy an 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser. My next big project is to finish fitting it out and continue my adventure discovering Australia's hidden gems'" he said.

"I am currently back on GKI to complete this project' but if all goes to plan' I will wrap up here in September just in time for Australia's Street Skateboarding Championship' Rumble on The Reef in Mackay.

"Then I will drive off into the sunset in my truck ready to complete a full lap of Aus."