Richard O’Connor, the 207th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, came to Sydney for a working holiday and never left.

Richard had a big decision to make when he turned 30. Like many Brits, he’d dreamed of doing a working holiday in Australia. He knew he’d no longer be able to qualify for a visa once he turned 31 … but he had a good job in the north-east of England. So what to do?

Richard made the smart decision – he quit his job. 

Even better, Richard managed to organise a job in Sydney, with a major Australian telco, before leaving the UK.

But when Richard landed in Sydney, he discovered the telco had just instituted a hiring freeze, and that his job no longer existed. Thankfully, Richard was able to land a job with the University of Sydney, where he’s remained ever since. These days, he serves as the university’s associate director of operations technology.

Richard’s original plan was to spend a year or two in Australia and return home. But plans changed when he met the woman who would eventually become his wife.

Most people get married in a local venue. Richard, though, chose an Italian villa – and not just any villa. Years earlier, he’d gone on an epic cycling trip from France to Italy, which took him past the place where he’d ultimately get married.