In the words of the great Maya Angelou– “you want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it”. This mantra has rung true for Duncraig alumni Ben Pobar who has faced challenges head on to live a life full of travel and experience.
Leaving school in 2007 to start full-time work in the Non-Destructive Testing industry in the Oil & Gas sector, with a side job at our favourite place – Bunnings – Ben’s life turned upside down just a few years later.
“In 2009 I had a serious accident and as a result was left with a traumatic brain injury,” Ben explained. “After the accident I was told it would not be safe to take part in any medium to high risk activities including surfing.
“I used that to fuel my determination to prove the doctors wrong…as the biggest hurdle in my life, I became mentally and physically stronger.”
Since then, Ben has defied the odds, filling his passport with stamps from more than 40 countries around the world and taking on some big-ticket adventures.
“I have summited several high-altitude mountains across the world, sky-dived, bungee jumped and have paddled the 124km Avon Decent solo.”
“Some of my favourite trips included, climbing through the Himalayas, cruising through the Galápagos Islands, walking across Patagonian glaciers, hiking up Mt Kilimanjaro, seeing the big 5 on Safari in Africa, exploring deep into the amazon rainforest and living out of a van as I self-drove around Iceland!
“I strive and continue to change the way in which people with brain injuries are restricted and viewed. Every person and their injury is unique. I believe that no matter what the circumstance, the only boundaries, are the ones you set on yourself.”
When he’s not galivanting around the globe, Ben lives in Craigie with his fiancé Asha – who (in true Ben style) he proposed to on Mt Kilimanjaro last year.
They are currently planning their wedding and have a much-loved fur child in their Golden Retriever Django.
You’ll most likely find Ben somewhere on the water in his downtime, whether surfing, paddle boarding, diving or fishing, yet he also can’t go past a good game of chess.
His travels sparked a passion for cinematography and photography, with his work often featured across his social media platforms.
For work, Ben now manages teams of technicians for ExoDrill’s Queensland and WA operations. While most of his career has been in the Oil & Gas sector, Ben has also spent time exploring marine tourism and is looking to further his education with a Masters in Business Administration this year.
“St Stephen’s provided excellent options regarding career pathways – it has taken me 10 years to realise what I want to do, hence why I am going back to study now,” Ben said.
“The School’s off-campus TAFE-based programs provided me with a good sample of trades – having those opportunities to trial a variety of trades and sectors really helped me to hone in on which direction I wanted to go.
“In addition, my PE, Outdoor Education, Trade Industries, Metal Work, Automotive Workshop and Woodwork teachers equipped me with hands-on skills that will last a lifetime… something I will be forever grateful for.”