Daniel Campion is a ‘dual tradesman’ from Maffra, Victoria. He left high school in year 11, did two apprenticeships, travelled all over the country working as a carpenter, and now, is custom building an expedition truck so he can continue travelling Australia for life. As if that’s not enough, he’s also restoring an old yacht with the hope of sailing it to the Pacific Islands. You might know him as @thedancampion on instagram.
Leaving school for two trades
I left school in year 11 to do a fitting and turning trade. I had to have a trade lined up, because, honestly, my mum wouldn’t let me finish unless I had something to go to.
Going into it, I didn’t really know much about fitting and turning, but I knew that I liked working with machinery and engines. (Not sure what fitting and turning is? Everyone asks – it’s industrial maintenance on machinery like hydraulics and pneumatics in power plants, gas plants and mining. For example, a mechanic will fix an engine, an engineer will design an engine, but a fitter and turner will build the engine.) It seemed interesting to me.
So I got an apprenticeship with an apprenticeships group in Gippsland. I started off working in a local fabrication company, building tools for the local industry and I hated it. My god, I hated it. So I did that for a year and I went back to my apprenticeship group and said this place isn’t for me. On a side note: that’s why it’s good to do apprenticeships with apprenticeship groups, because you can change employers pretty easily. Eventually, I moved to Melbourne and finished the apprenticeship off there where I was working in hydraulics. A Lot of the time, I hated that as well.
Apprenticeships are hard things to do. For any one that’s considering doing one, or has started one, as much as they are challenging, you’ve just got to see them through.
I finished working as a hydraulic fitter when a family friend asked if I wanted to move to Torquay and do a carpentry apprenticeship with him. So I did. And that was even harder than the first apprenticeship!
People around me questioned my decision to do another apprenticeship, and said things like ‘you’ll be in your mid 20s by the time you finish’. The idea that you’re too old to start an apprenticeship is rubbish. You can start one at any age.
My boss and I travelled all around Australia building McDonald’s restaurants, most of the time sleeping in swags, on the job. There was no shower or facilities. This really toughened me up in a lot of ways and made living on the move pretty easy for me.
In between then and now, I travelled around Australia working as a carpenter.
Growing up on a farm really set me up to get into the trades, I was working with tools from a really young age and that’s what got me started on this journey.
Daniel has been working on his expedition truck for three years. Eventually he will travel around Australia in it.
The yacht was in need of resotring, a project that took Daniel five months to complete.
The boat had been neglected by its owner, but Daniel was excited to bring it back to life.
Cars, travel and sponsorship
An advertising company who was working on behalf of Nissan, reached out to me via email offering to give me a car for up to two years, provided I take a certain amount of photos and videos that they could use.
At first I thought it was a hoax, or someone trying to rip me off, but it turns out it was legitimate. We had the car for about 18 months. We also did a trip up to Queensland and they gave us another car up there to travel around Fraser Island.
Turns out they just found me through instagram. It’s a good thing, not being afraid to put yourself out there on social media. I know people can get self conscious about it – but no one really cares what other people post. I’ve found there are some really good opportunities that can come for it if you’re interested in photography and videography! I’ve been making videos on instagram for the last two years, and I guess that’s what prompted them.