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Raised in Germany, I started working in the tourism business right after school. For a number of years I worked with one of Germany's largest package tour operators, and as travel agent in the Business Travel Department of Thomas Cook in Cologne and Bonn.
In 1990 I took up studies in economics, with majors in tourism and marketing. In 1993 I took a semester off, and went to Belize (Central America) to work as a tour guide for four months.
Two years before I graduated from university, I bought a fax machine and started my own travel agency from home. It was just meant to be a bit of fun, and only worked by phone. However, it took off quicker than I expected, and a year later a friend and myself moved to Oldenburg and ran travelphone full time. We also started a travel agency that was specialised in ecotours, called Greenline.
During that time I also held a sessional lecturing position with the University for Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven, teaching Tourism and Cultural Geography.
In 1997 we decided to sell our business, and I moved to Dunedin in order to join the University of Otago for my Ph.D. programme. During that time I was in charge of Otago Campervans' Dunedin Branch, and did everything, from light repairs and maintenance, to "meet and greet" and rental agreements.
At the University of Otago I started tutoring German, and a year later tourism, before I was given a number of lectures in various papers on both undergraduate and graduate levels.
I was also employed to implement and administer the then new Internet based teaching tool Course Info/Blackboard, for which the Department for Tourism was one of the pilot departments at Otago.
In 2001 I accepted a lecturing position with Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and just a year later I moved to St. Catharines in beautiful Ontario, Canada. There, I taught various courses at Brock University, and I very much enjoyed my time in Canada.
After three years, it was time for me to move on, and the Auckland University of Technology offered me the perfect position: A healthy mix of teaching and research (which I happily accepted, and subsequently joined AUT in June 2005).