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Axons Unleashed E27: Knowing When It's Time to Transition - with Hugh & Kello

Welcome to another great episode of Axons Unleashed with special guests Hugh & Kelli.

Hugh and Kelli are Axon Members with a very familiar story… Both enlisted in RAAF at a young age and found each other during their initial training courses. From there, their similarities end. Both had different experiences in the ADF which saw them have different transitions. Luckily, both found their right time to “get out”. 

Hear their transition stories and much more, including how they found their way to the Axon family, with hosts Robbie, and fellow ex-RAAF’y Dane, on this episode of Axons Unleashed. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Episode Transcription:

Speaker 1:
Axons Unleashed.

Robbie:
Good everyone, my name’s Robbie. I’m joined here with my main man Dane, and we’ve got some very special guests in the office this morning, welcome to another episode of Axons Unleash. We’ve got the amazing Hugh and Kelli, how are you?

Kelli:
Hello.

Hugh:
Always good.

Robbie:
Yes, mate.

Dane:
Always?

Robbie:
Yeah. Well he says it like, I’m welcome back.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
This is your first time here-

Hugh:
It sure is,

Robbie:
… to be clear?

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
But certainly I know you’ve had a great chance to listen to a lot of our other podcasts. So as a bit of background, ladies and gents, Hugh and Kelli, are both veterans and both current clients of Axon, which is really, really cool. So there’s lots and lots of stuff to talk about, because they’ve heard Dane and I about why we joined the military, our time in the military becoming a junior leader and then eventually having a chance where all right, that most people say, they don’t care about me and enough anymore. So I’m out of here in short. And then, of course, you made this sort of transition, but Kelli I know you’ve been out for a few years. so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes.

Kelli:
Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah.

Robbie:
How we first met, what your experience has been like with Axon. And then I guess what are you guys doing now? So yeah, that’s pretty much, what we’re going to talk about.

Dane:
Yeah, dude. I’m actually really looking forward to this one. And I was saying to Robbie, just upstairs before, I was like, “Mate, do you remember…” So when I started training for a coach, moved from property specialist to doing coaching. I had three months of training, where I’d sit with Robbie and then we’d get off a call and be like, “Oh, terrible,” or whatever it was. But we do left seat, right seat was really good. But you guys were actually one of those members at that point in time.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Dane:
Right where you came through, I would’ve been very green back then. So I was really excited when I heard you guys were coming in, especially a fellow RAAF’y.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Dane:
A more force connection. Three pointer there.

Hugh:
That’s right.

Dane:
But just sort of getting that background and stuff, I’m really looking forward to hearing about it.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
All right. Who wants to go first?

Kelli:
All yours.

Robbie:
Yeah. Right are you? Tell us to tell us your story mate, where’d you grow up and then why… This is a great story, ladies and… Because just quickly, how old are you?

Hugh:
23.

Robbie:
23. Got your first property under your belt. Done a few years in the military, already transitioned, got another career Kelli.

Kelli:
And I’m 27.

Robbie:
Right.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
There you go. Yeah. I’m not sure who’s going to give each other a high five. She’s like, “Woo, look at me go again, what do you mean? I just got the [inaudible 00:02:17] just awesome mature and [inaudible 00:02:19].” Anyway, but same deal, join the military, spent some time in there, successfully transition, got building your own house, this is a good story ladies and gentle. So I know lots about your circumstances, of course, as coach and coach to be.

Hugh:
Yes.

Robbie:
Sort of going through this. So I can’t wait to share as much as what do I know, but I’m sure there’s shit tons about your life that you didn’t talk to me about, because I probably didn’t ask the question.

Kelli:
Your little secret?

Dane:
Oh. Your little secret?

Robbie:
Well you guys have heard all my secrets.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Actually just quickly let’s talk about what have you liked most about the podcast so far? You?

Hugh:
I’ve liked really hearing everyone’s story. I think, and I was just saying to Dane, everyone, the fence is so big, but it is so small, that community just being able to hear like-minded people talk and it may be someone’s story is a little bit different, but a lot of them are very similar too. So it’s good to hear other people and their experiences, and stuff like that.

Robbie:
You’re now part of that, buddy.

Hugh:
I know.

Robbie:
So that’s good.

Hugh:
I sure I’m.

Robbie:
What about you Kelli? Because you also both sent me individual messages. You’re like on the train going into work. You’re like, “Oh, I just finished listening to story. I was pissing myself, laughing on the train and stuff. So you’ve been really interactive to me, which just makes me feel amazing. It’s just good to know you’re getting value from us sitting in here drawing off really. But yeah, what’s been some of your highlights remember?

Kelli:
Oh, I reckon, I suppose even speaking to Hugh, like when we even started with you guys before, like the podcast was even a thing I said, “You are always really relatable.” So knowing, I suppose when you’re going back into a city world, it’s very different to have that adjustment, even if, I wasn’t in for a large amount of time, but having that, it just felt like a really good connection, like we knew you guys for years and yeah.

Robbie:
It’s funny what Zoom can do. We had spent hours and hours of the first part of our relationship doing… It’s almost like I’m looking for the third empire, just doing my little thing on the screen there, you guys are think about me going the third empire, if you’re not watching on your YouTube. But yeah, so it’s really good. Like you can get that little connection. And I guess as guys that spend the majority of our lives, Dane you would agree on those calls, talking to all the different people, we’ve really refined our bullshit, maybe. But we’ve refined our character traits as well, like you become a scary judge of character.

Robbie:
And that’s why we make sure we always do those connection calls or discovery calls that might have been called when you first started, because you can’t fake body language and you can just even go, you guys just nodding right now, you haven’t said anything, but I know you get what I mean, which is really cool. Because people have seen us in the video and we haven’t seen them. And as you guys have experienced, when we go all in and we share with you all the information, and you get it full access to the whole team, it’s a pretty immersive and pretty exciting ride. But quite frankly, not everyone deserves to have a crack at it. And that’s is why, you and I especially have filtered so many people. I’m like, it’s not a personal attack on someone’s like just, you’re not in the right mindset or you right personality, or you want to try to achieve if something that we don’t specialize in, so I’m not your guy.

Robbie:
That’s our little saying. So we haven’t sort of in backwards in coming forward there and not everyone sort of deserves to be sitting where you guys are and certainly not everyone deserves to be wearing an Axon shirt. That’s another side conversation we had back in the day as well. So, all right, yeah, that’s a really good little insights. Anyway, like I said, I don’t think, I can’t, or I don’t know anyone else has been so interactive with me and it’s almost grateful that you’ve enjoyed the podcast of what you are now sitting on so much.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
I feel like, I hope that everyone on the train, if they could just hear some of the conversations that we hear, honestly, like I’ve had to message you being like, “Oh my goodness.” Like I’m holding you in my laughter. Because it’s 6:00 AM in the morning and people aren’t even awake yet. And here am I listening to an hour long podcast, so.

Dane:
Oh boss.

Kelli:
Just like-

Robbie:
Join off.

Kelli:
… loving the day. And I’m like, “What a good start?”

Hugh:
It really creates, I guess that accent community too. We talk about a defense community, but the accent community and what you… It is a tight-knit community. And even the people that we met at Brisbane meet up like, Sammy and CJ, and people like that. It is so, just being able that open book, everyone knows each other’s stories and just makes that community a lot more special and, yeah.

Robbie:
And we’ll take it to another level now by having the Axon Elite Facebook group.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Exactly. Yeah.

Robbie:
All right. So that’s, that’s really, really cool as well. All right. Over to you Hugh. Where did you grow up? Why did you join the military? What year was it? All right, I heard you say outside quickly and I’m like, stop all that thought. You almost got railroaded into joining the rural military, which is the army, but you didn’t, you went to the air force.

Hugh:
The real military.

Kelli:
The real, the good choice.

Robbie:
There’s me X-army, three ex-RAFF’s in here. I don’t even know if I’ll make the end of the podcast later, but he’s so happy.

Hugh:
Yeah. So I’m born and bred in a small country town in snow mountains called Kuma. So about now south of Canberra. And that-

Robbie:
Is that where all the white collar [inaudible 00:07:18] go? There’s like a Kuma

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
… Yeah. So he’s hoping God, I never end up in there, anyway.

Hugh:
Yeah. As a fresh 18 year old doing a bit of plumbing work and straight out of school, and getting wolf whistled, I was straight out of there and never returned.

Robbie:
Were you getting Wolf whistled?

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
You are a good looking and young man, I got to say.

Hugh:
I had longer hair too. And with a-

Dane:
I made you leave.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Kelli is nervously laughing, is like, “Who were these wolf wailing at my man?”

Hugh:
But, yeah, born and bred down in Kuma, I’ve got two younger brothers, one of which is in an officer, he’s just been promoted as captain in artillery.

Robbie:
Great. Oh, now we’re talking.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. And so he’s a [inaudible 00:07:56], down in Sydney. And then, yeah, I got a younger brother who is at uni as well. Got, yeah, mom and dad. And they really, from… When their upbringing and everything they’ve provided everything and some, to us, three boys and to where we are today, from three jobs to two jobs, to having their own business and stuff like that. And it’s only-

Robbie:
That’s really nice to hear mate.

Hugh:
… Yeah. I think it’s only when you get a little bit older and a little bit older, I’m 23. But now that you know we’re-

Kelli:
You appreciate.

Hugh:
… We’ve got our property and you know, we’re independent and stuff like that. It’s not now until you kind of like, well, like the financial sacrifices and the time, and the effort is, you look back on it and you’re like, “God, if I could do half that for my kids?” Like-

Robbie:
Well, you will mate.

Dane:
You will.

Hugh:
… Yeah.

Robbie:
I do believe. I remember you guys saying you want to create a legacy for your future family.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And you’ve already started. Its like, it’s so good. You are one of the really lucky people in this world that have started their property journey with coaching and with mentoring, and with guidance, with no mistakes being made before you 25. Sorry Kelli, you’re just over. But anyway.

Kelli:
Yeah, for you.

Robbie:
So I’ve been there. I was like, if the middle point of your relationship is 25.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
23 and 27, 25 is in the middle, good enough for me anyway. So, yeah, it’s, you’ve got… So as a 48 year old guy, I’ve only got about now in fucking 10 days to the… Probably by the time you guys are listening to this podcast, RTs are already, that person, the third person is already 49 by then.

Robbie:
So like is 20, 24, 25 years ahead of you. And as I’ve said to everyone so far, I assure you, you might not feel like, you’ll blink your eyes for another five times and you’ll be my age. It fucking goes so quick, so the fact… And therefore, but you have so much time under your belt, Dane, you were just talking about that before. Yeah. You want to go and buy a three, $400,000 property somewhere. He’s like, “Get a fucking time machine and take me back with you because it just doesn’t exist anymore in decent areas.” That ship has sailed a long, long time ago.

Dane:
I think one of the great things for you guys as well and 27 is the same, right? Everyone’s 25 to Robbie. Right? But just the power of time, like starting early, like whenever I have sort of members that come in and they’re like, “Oh, I want to do something.” I’m like, “Even if you did the minimum and just sort of poked along on your investment journey, and didn’t have to put in extra and all that sort of stuff, through time, you’re going to retire with a lot of sort of assets that you’re able to help your kids with.”

Hugh:
Sure.

Dane:
And I think whenever I sort of talk to people and I’ve got a daughter as well, like uni is expensive, shit is expensive, houses and stuff. So we talk about it now, imagine what’s going to be like, when they’re our age and stuff like that. So those little tweaks and stuff you do under coaching, and obviously Robbie’s guidance, just yield huge dividends in the future.

Hugh:
Absolutely.

Dane:
Just through time. Time is such a big factor for people.

Hugh:
It is. Yeah.

Robbie:
Why did you join in the military then mate?

Hugh:
Why did I join the military? So, both my uncles were cops. My dad is a fiery and still works for Rural Fire Service down in New South Wales.

Robbie:
Great. So they’ve got a uniform, they’ve got a rank structure, you’ve really grown up around that then?

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Okay. Cool.

Hugh:
And no military connection whatsoever though, but dad always made it a massive thing. And ever since I can remember to attend the Dawn Service every single year, to March for school.

Robbie:
Nice.

Hugh:
And then that then led on to, I guess, in me joining. But I think the importance of Anzac Day definitely stemmed from, just every year and dad, like if something was on, no. It was, you’re getting up in the cold morning and Kuma, you’re going to rug up and you’re going to sit there where you’re going to stand, and you’re going to listen,

Robbie:
Shouldn’t be too much going on as a teenager at 4:45 in the morning.

Hugh:
No.

Kelli:
You never know, Kuma.

Hugh:
But, yeah, so I guess my military, yeah, no family connection as such, but definitely it was stemmed in from a young age and the importance-

Robbie:
Where was the closest recruiting center then?

Hugh:
… Canberra.

Robbie:
All right.

Hugh:
So it was at a DFR in Canberra. So-

Robbie:
Tell us about that.

Hugh:
… Yeah. So I went to boarding school for years, 10, 11, 12 at St Gregory’s College. And that was, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if I didn’t go to boarding school, it taught me a lot. And it is very much like-

Robbie:
Give us your top three things.

Hugh:
… Discipline, good money habits. So that’s kind of where that stemmed from.

Robbie:
Nice.

Dane:
Elite school.

Hugh:
Yeah. And made sure-

Kelli:
Pocket money. Well, you got to say that.

Hugh:
… That’s right. When you’re getting $10 a week from mum and dad, you can’t afford to go out in the city and spend a lot of money, because you obviously you’re not working at boarding school. So it was very much, you come back in the holidays, you work. So it was always, you’d have two weeks to save up, you get a $10 a week allowance and mum, and daddy, if we ever need anything, they would give it or whatever. But it was the principal-

Robbie:
They were teaching you money habits.

Hugh:
… Exactly right. But yeah. And then got accepted into uni and into a media and communications journalism degree. And thank God I didn’t go down that route.

Robbie:
What was it, because so many people love pathway mate? What was it about that, that, didn’t interest you?

Hugh:
Oh, it was only why I joined the military was to save money to do that. So that was where that happened, but hindsight’s a good thing. But I just, after, I don’t think anyone really knows what they want to do at 18 or if they do, there are select few.

Robbie:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup.

Hugh:
And that’s where I’m very grateful, again, for the military as well, because it has landed me in the position today. It’s taught me so much, but yeah. So did that.

Robbie:
Tell us about your almost went to the army story.

Hugh:
Yeah. So at boarding school, and I still remember at clear his day. And because DFR, the process is so long. And I remember dad was doing a lot of my paperwork and stuff. And I get a phone call, and it was near HSC time, because it was, that was like September and I was looking to join in the January. I get a phone call from DFR and they say… I was originally joining up as a driver specialist. That’s what it was called, that could be, the name could have changed now in the army. Anyway, I get a phone call and I was just so… Because I didn’t have the military experience. I didn’t know much about air force or navy, or, it was only army, when people that don’t know much about the military, it’s normally army, it’s the first thing that comes to mind. Right?

Robbie:
Drivers in the air force are called pilots.

Dane:
Even if you’re in a RAAF though, people go, “How’s the army going?”

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
Yeah. Do you fly a plane? Do you fly, is that your job?

Hugh:
Yeah. All the time. So I get the phone call DFR and she said, “Oh we’ve run out of positions for driver specialists, but we’ve got two positions in the air force if you would like.” And then I was like, “Oh yeah. Okay.” And then they said, “One of them is a supply, so like in the logistics field or there’s PCS, it’s called.” And I was like-

Dane:
That’s a no brainer.

Hugh:
… Yeah. I was like-

Robbie:
Just for our listeners. What does that mean?

Hugh:
… Personal Capability Specialist.

Dane:
An admin.

Kelli:
Like admin. Yeah.

Robbie:
So you got log admin.

Hugh:
Essentially. Yeah. And then I was like, oh, it’s a year. I’ll just go and I’ll go do some log stuff, and I’ll make my money, and I’ll get out kind of thing. Anyway, I went down that route and that’s how I got saved. It Was purely from that phone call, otherwise hell bent on joining the army.

Robbie:
Yeah. Wow!

Dane:
So was that a gap year that you did? So the one try before you buy?

Hugh:
Yeah. And there is a lot of shit that gets put on gap years, but, again, and as I just said, I’m grateful for it as well, because if I hadn’t have done it or if I didn’t have the mindset that I was only going to be in for a year, then I wouldn’t have extended it. And wouldn’t have been the position I am in today.

Robbie:
The sliding doors moment. Yeah. You guys heard about mine. It’s fun. As I get older and as you guys will, I know you’re still on your journey mate, but reflection and identification of sliding doors moments in the here and now and what that means, or you’ll look back at something like, ah, the penny just dropped. Like it just, one thing you can’t buy is time and experience. That’s why you need a great mentor and someone that can teach you, and guide you along the right path. Not allow to just troddle on down and hope you don’t hit your bloody head on a branch sort of thing. So, yeah, it’s interesting that you’ve had one as well, or that’s why I did not know about that.

Robbie:
This is why I love these podcasts with very, very little, if any, i.e, one minute out the front of the door preparation, because now I’m just hearing something for the first time. Yeah. Very cool.

Hugh:
So even in my Gmail account now the folder is army, I never changed it, but it’s still army. But yeah, joined and then obviously that year I had a great time. Absolutely loved it. I did my IETs down in Wagga or I did obviously recruits and that’s where I met Kelli. And we’ll get in that, probably a little bit later, but-

Robbie:
We will.

Hugh:
Yeah. Went straight-

Robbie:
[inaudible 00:17:06]. That seems like so me.

Hugh:
… There’s a good story there, but we-

Kelli:
There is.

Hugh:
… So we, I did recruits straight into OJT for six weeks. So on the job obtaining for six weeks.

Robbie:
At [inaudible 00:17:21]?

Hugh:
No, that was at Williamtown.

Robbie:
Oh, yeah.

Hugh:
So they posted us before we did our OJTs. And then OJTs, so because I’d already been posted, they had posted me to Williamtown and then Kelli and I had kind of got together by chance. And it was just by fate essentially that one of the girls in my OJTs course hadn’t been posted yet.

Hugh:
And she got her three options for her posting and it was, one was Richmond and that’s where Kelli was, one was Williamtown where I was and I think the other one was in Adelaide. And I said, she wanted to go to Williamtown. And I was like, well, if you want to go to Williamtown, I want to go to Richmond. And with Richmond being one of your options, let’s see if we can do it swap. So we went down that road. The men came, flew down, had the meeting with her, pulled me in, said, yeah, look, it makes sense, I’ll probably be able to do it. We were like, yeah, sweet. And about two, or three weeks later, either instructors pulled us in and said, “No, we’ve got a phone call. You’re staying in Williamtown and she’s going to Richmond.” And I was like, “Okay, cool. I’m only in for a year. I’ll enjoy, well Williamtown’s unreal.”

Robbie:
Yeah. Newcastle, great spot.

Hugh:
It was only for the convenience of not having to drive down in the traffic every Friday and Sunday night. And then, yeah, sure enough posting orders came out and I was expecting, didn’t take too much notice of it. And the girl at the time was like, “I’ve been posted to Williamtown, you?” And I was like, “That’s where I am.” Anyway I pulled up my posting and, yeah, sure enough they’d put me down in Richmond.

Robbie:
Boom.

Hugh:
Yeah. Super, super lucky. And again, it was that one person that had, was later on the course that I was able to get to Richmond. But, yeah, so joined, after that, went to Richmond and had a really good time, had a really good work crew and it was really good because we were working with the APS there as well, got to learn working with contractors, working with Linfox. So I got to learn a lot, which was really good.

Robbie:
Did you have much to do with the 176 Air Dispatch crew down there?

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Right.

Hugh:
So I actually got to skydive.

Robbie:
Oh cool.

Hugh:
Yeah. And that, that was in my first year too. So that was another thing I was like, man, this is unreal. Like-

Robbie:
Yeah. Like where do I sign.

Hugh:
… If I can do this-

Kelli:
Right.

Hugh:
… If I can do this every year, how goods that? Because I wasn’t going to pay for it on [inaudible 00:19:40]. And it was purely by chance, again that there’s a phone call. Oh, yeah. They’re jumping [inaudible 00:19:46], and like that as-

Robbie:
So what timeframe are we talking about here, seven and eight?

Hugh:
… 2007, eight. Yeah. That was another thing that was another good opportunity and something that kept me in. And then after that, yeah, posted and then, yeah, I went on a RAAF cricket trip and for anyone now is that the ADF sports they can-

Robbie:
I know very well. Yeah.

Dane:
I think the idea of surfing mate, I know it.

Kelli:
You do.

Robbie:
No. He said idea of sport. Not hanging out.

Kelli:
Oh, you’ve heard surfing?

Dane:
Surfing in the morning and barbecues in the afternoon.

Robbie:
It’s like I’m being mixed in the Olympics these days, I’m like, no, mate, it’s not what I remember the Olympics to be about.

Hugh:
So that was a big eye opener and a really good time. And I met good people and as a 19 year old, I was like, I’m getting paid to do this, went down to Canberra for two weeks and, yeah, had a really good time. And then, yeah, so from there signed up full-time and-

Robbie:
When did jigsaw puzzle of defense force makes sense to you.

Hugh:
… Yeah.

Robbie:
And you really start to hit your stripes, and you’re getting on well with everyone at work, and you sort of feel like you’ve got a bit of a career going, you’re getting paid. You got a good, healthy work life balance, you’re doing a bit of travel. You’re seeing a bit of stuff, you’re meeting new friends. It’s a good life as a young person, isn’t it?

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
For sure.

Robbie:
All of us are sitting here nodding our heads and everyone listening should be sitting, and regardless of what your experience was like in the military, once that jigsaw puzzle makes sense, and you really start to get that rocket fuel later, it happened to me as well. And I was like, fucking green is green, the fucking green and light blue with pumping through my vein big time.

Dane:
It still is.

Robbie:
I love it.

Hugh:
Yeah. It still is. For sure.

Robbie:
You are definitely in the army. It’s like, what do you mean I’ve been here for eight years, it’s like, no, you haven’t.

Dane:
You haven’t gone anywhere.

Hugh:
No.

Robbie:
That’s really good to hear, mate. I’m really happy that that’s happened. But it’s interesting that that run comes toward an end at some stage. So maybe before we get too much further down your path, Kelli let’s switch across to you.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Let’s go back into the years BH, before Hugh.

Kelli:
Before Hugh.

Robbie:
Yeah. Where did you grow up? And just sort of tell us your little bridge story there.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I’m one of three children, I grew up in the lovely blue mountains in… Yeah. Western Sydney.

Dane:
Yup.

Kelli:
So I went to school out there. Yeah. Grew up a really lovely life with mom and dad. Same thing with Hugh mom and dad were really good to us. Always had really good opportunities. Yeah. Thank mom and dads, I suppose guidance, when we were younger because, yeah, it wouldn’t be the same gal I am this afternoon or today.

Robbie:
That’s really nice to hear as well.

Kelli:
Yeah. So we both had really good family upbringings, I suppose we have, yeah, that nice little connection there.

Robbie:
And the reason why I say that, sorry to [inaudible 00:22:30] in, but from my experience, there were, it’s almost like, I felt like it was more often than not that when you got to know some of your workmates at home, they came from broken families, not together families, you are all now three of us agreeing with me again. So that’s why I’m sort of making a point from you and now being reinforced by yourself, Kelli but, you guys came from a very together family. Mom and dad are still together. My mom and dad are still together.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
I don’t know if they still like each other, like in the early 70s, but they’re still together. And it’s just an unusual thing that I’ve observed with military families.

Kelli:
Yeah. I suppose later on going through high school and stuff, mom and dad did part ways and I have a beautiful stepdad. Yeah. So I have had a really good-

Robbie:
Sure, so that’s a natural part of a life thing.

Kelli:
… Yeah. And I have really good, I suppose mentors growing up, like having a good family. Yeah. And then decided that I would leave school in year 10 when you could.

Robbie:
Right.

Kelli:
Didn’t really like 11 and 12. Didn’t sit well with me, so.

Robbie:
When you say that, what does that mean? Let’s explore that for a second.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I finished up in year 10 and actually did trade. So yeah. I’m a butcher by trade as well.

Robbie:
Right. And were you a hands-on sort of person-

Kelli:
Yeah. I am very much.

Robbie:
… like when you were younger, when you grew up? Yup.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Dane:
That’s what attracted Hugh.

Kelli:
That’s lovely younger me, no.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Oh, I didn’t even say that. But you’re a real girly, girly girl.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And, yeah, that’s something else I didn’t know about you. You’ve got those that mechanical, trade-

Hugh:
Yeah. You probably wouldn’t think that I’m-

Robbie:
… Nope.

Hugh:
… Yeah. So I actually worked part-time after school at our local butcher. Just thought, some money after school, same thing, mom and dad wanted us to have good… My sister and my brother all had part-time jobs when were in school. So I used to work a couple of days off school and then a few hours on the weekend. And then, yeah, when you could leave school in year 10, I wanted to do that, my big brother did it. So I was like, if Roy can do it, I can do it. And, yeah, so I started my trade or actually got offered and my mom was like, “She’s not going to do a trade. Like she won’t do that. She won’t like sitting at the butcher, with the blood and all, no, that-

Robbie:
No, my dad’s a butcher by trade.

Hugh:
… Oh really?

Robbie:
So this is interesting. Yeah.

Hugh:
Good.

Robbie:
Keep going. Yup.

Hugh:
Yeah. So mom was like, “She’ll last a good couple weeks. She won’t do it, that’s all.”

Robbie:
At least she was being generous.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Dane:
Wow!

Robbie:
A good couple of weeks.

Dane:
Was she saying that to your face?

Kelli:
Yeah. She did say like, “Give it a good… You’ll be good.”

Robbie:
So then the answer is no.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Family don’t say that sort of stuff to their face.

Kelli:
My boss and my mom kind of like, “Yeah, Kelli is not going to-“

Dane:
The boss as well was saying that.

Kelli:
… Yeah.

Dane:
What was he thinking, anyway?

Kelli:
And then he offered me like an apprenticeship and I was like, “This is my key out. Yeah. All right, I’ll do it.” And I told mom and dad, “You tell me if I had a trade or full-time job, or a studying, I could leave school. So I have a trade.” And they were like, “Okay.” So, yeah, I did my trade, four years, as a butcher and then I just did some management stuff as well. I was too young to join the air force. So I always had an insight to join the air force. My uncle and auntie growing up, they were… My uncle’s been in-

Hugh:
He’s about 43 years and-

Kelli:
… Yeah. In the RAAF.

Robbie:
A long time.

Kelli:
Yeah. And then my auntie she’s been in as well, both my cousins. So kind of grew up with that military is background, if you want to say.

Robbie:
Air force specific though.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
All air force, no-

Kelli:
All air force. Yeah. Or my cousin he did join the army, but, yeah other than that, Ron also is RAAF’y.

Dane:
DFR, must have called that back a while then.

Kelli:
Yeah. I know they must have said, hi.

Dane:
They got him. Yeah. There’s no jobs in the RAAF mate, you got to go.

Kelli:
You can’t, you’ve got to do it.

Robbie:
That’s interesting in itself. I don’t remember speaking to any anyone that’s joined the military that had so much influence from one particular service in a tight-knit family, like that constant influence almost.

Kelli:
Yes.

Robbie:
No wonder it shaped you in such a young age.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I would’ve been, yeah, probably in year 10. And I remember every time my uncle would come, he’d always be like, “Come on kids, it’s a really good life, look at me, look at your auntie, everyone.” And I’d be like, “Okay.” My brother always used to say, “Yes.” Never took the path. So, yeah, I actually wanted to join up as a dog handler, obsessed with dogs. Love them.

Robbie:
Yeah. That’s good.

Kelli:
Wouldn’t have been a good job for me. But, yeah, so I joined up, went through DFR in Sydney. So I went through Paramatta, enlisted in 2016. Yeah. Started, I suppose I was direct entry load master. So that was the first direct entry course to kind of go through.

Robbie:
Right. Cool.

Kelli:
Yeah. So it was a big-

Robbie:
That’s a good job.

Kelli:
… range opener. Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah.

Dane:
Do you know a girl called Maria?

Kelli:
No.

Dane:
No?

Kelli:
I’m not very good with names.

Dane:
Okay.

Kelli:
I will say that.

Dane:
I thought she was the… Anyway.

Kelli:
Unless-

Dane:
Story for another time.

Kelli:
… Maybe. Yeah. We’ll chat off.

Dane:
Yeah. Right. Continue.

Kelli:
Yeah. So yeah. Joined direct entry, went down, it was quite quick for me. Actually it wasn’t quite quick. I went in, and when I was… I had to go through quite a bit of medical beforehand, just to get through, because being in aviation, they wanted you to have a higher individual health-

Robbie:
Yeah. You were part their crew as in loading.

Kelli:
… Yeah.

Robbie:
Yup.

Kelli:
So it took quite a bit to get through in that sense. And I did fight like a mech. They gave me a mech, I don’t know something beforehand.

Dane:
The outcome.

Kelli:
Yeah. And then I was like, no, I’m not happy with that. So then I forward it, was successful, enlisted, everything was good to go.

Robbie:
Good. Well done.

Kelli:
Yeah. So went down 2016. I actually got back coursed, I’m on my first course and then Christmas break, and then this one rolled in the door and I joined his course.

Robbie:
Was that an accurate story? Did you know that story? Was it-

Kelli:
Was that-

Robbie:
… how that all sort of panned out, with this one-

Hugh:
Well, I didn’t know-

Robbie:
… one rolling in the door?

Kelli:
… Yeah.

Robbie:
Like we just heard how that one rolled in same door.

Kelli:
I know. Yeah.

Robbie:
So did you know that story?

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
There was some sliding door moments here about posting orders and stuff.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I think with, I suppose again, like I think back on it now that I have transitioned successfully and stuff, and my time in defense was a little bit different to Hugh’s. But yeah, when I did join, I remember my uncle saying, “You’ll meet your future husband.” And I was like, “No, I won’t.” Like,” I’m young. I’m not interested in a husband, I just want to do my job, that’s all.”

Hugh:
There’s no ring or not yet though.

Kelli:
Yeah. No ring.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. This doesn’t, mate it’s irrelevant. Yeah. It’s, or I don’t know many females that have non-military other halves. It’s just, the numbers just don’t stack up that therefore-

Kelli:
The majority, or some of our friends they have, they were either together before they join.

Robbie:
… Right. That’s different.

Kelli:
Yeah. But if they’ve gone in single, usually you meet someone.

Robbie:
Yeah. The likelihood of that occurring is pretty high.

Dane:
Recruits.

Kelli:
Yeah. Good old recruits.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Mate it’s not just at the recruit level trust me-

Dane:
It’s everywhere.

Robbie:
… as an instructor at [inaudible 00:29:17] I knew about it, heard about it, turned a blind eye to it like everyone did for a long, long time. And there were full colonels and brigades that were working across the military that, you go to a dining midnight, like, “Oh, how did you meet your Mrs?” He goes, “Oh, well, we sort of met on training back in the day, or blah, blah, blah.” I’m like now you’re a one star general. So, don’t tell me it hasn’t been happening for a long, long time there ladies and gentlemen, it’s just another one of these things is sort of, it’s turned a blind eye until there’s a little incident. And then it was like, “Oh, have you guys been fraternizing well, did you know that there is a, hang on, let me just blow off the cobwebs here and find the DRG that it’s got to do with.”

Dane:
There’s a, when I was at OTS, we had a, they call them directing staff, like MSI, but they call them DS’s. And I remember this squad leader saying to me, “Fraters are going to frat.” And we used to say it all the time to each other, “Well, it’s going to happen anyway.” But it’s because you get absorbed into that community. Right?

Kelli:
Yeah.

Dane:
I think that they’re 23 hours a day, you live in that life. So it’s only natural.

Kelli:
And you spend so much time with one another. And funny actually on the way down in the car, I was saying to Hugh, like I was like, “I know a story.” I suppose, because I was like a retread on the course, I had a little bit more knowledge than the newer ones and down to folding your socks, and certain things that like, yeah, because it was-

Robbie:
It wasn’t your first rodeo. You knew how to do it.

Kelli:
… It was not. Yeah. And this lovely Hugh needed some help with-

Robbie:
Oh, so he did.

Kelli:
… sock folding.

Hugh:
Work smarter not harder.

Kelli:
So, yeah, I helped him out folding the socks and his uniforms. He kind of like pulled me in, got me to do all the hard work. He would sit on the ground, under the ironing door and I would-

Dane:
What’s he doing down there?

Kelli:
Yeah. No.

Robbie:
Practicing supervision skills as a leader.

Kelli:
Savvy. Yeah.

Hugh:
But we were honestly only friends at the start. And like, as you said, because you’re in that, you’re doing everything together. You’re in an unfamiliar environment with each other, you’re doing things that you don’t want to, but you have to, you really get to know-

Kelli:
Go through different emotions, like you’re fatigued and hungry and angry and-

Hugh:
… That’s right. You really get to see what’s-

Kelli:
… you’re missing home.

Hugh:
… someone is like in a short amount of time, so.

Dane:
Yeah. Kelli would’ve put in a good resume then.

Hugh:
Yeah. Very good resume.

Dane:
She’s cleaning those sock.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
Like, “Oh, look at that.”

Robbie:
That’s like, oh, you’re like-

Kelli:
I still iron Hugh shirts.

Robbie:
Just what I was saying. How clean is my future house going to be? Yeah.

Hugh:
Tick, tick, tick, tick.

Dane:
Thinking about this wardrobe at home, how messy it is.

Kelli:
Nice.

Robbie:
Hey. So because you did slightly less time in the military.

Kelli:
I did.

Robbie:
And I’ve loved your story so far. Let’s transition into what your time was different, how your time was in the military. And then when that point came. Let’s talk about your transition so I got a bit of continuity.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I suppose, yeah, enlisted September, 2016, got to my unit. So we graduated. Oh, when was it? April?

Hugh:
Yeah. April of 17.

Kelli:
Yeah. April 17. And then I went actually to Canberra. So I had to go into a holding cell if you want to kind of say before, my IETs were starting at Richmond. So I had a few months down in Canberra. I actually lived on RMC. So I lived there for a little bit. And then Hugh and I would commute in between. I was just doing, I don’t know like admin kind of, I wasn’t really doing much.

Robbie:
Yeah. Pass the time, in the transit lines.

Kelli:
Yeah. Literally just passing some time. And then I started my course at 37 Squadron down in Richmond, I met a few really great mates that kind of happened. So that was 2017. So I would’ve start course or like mid to end 2017. I actually got injured. So being a loader we had to do a lot of courses. Traveled a lot, in my first couple of months doing like my IETs, which was really good.

Kelli:
And I was like, okay, this is a life. And I suppose even when I first enlisted, I was single, I was younger. It took a little bit of time for me to get through like with my next stuff and then enlisting. And then being back course, and all of that. So it was like a large chunk before I even started my IETs that like the time kind of changed. And as it does, as a time goes on. So, yeah, actually, we did quite a lot of courses. We had to have like a, I wouldn’t say an elite fitness because that’s not it, but we had to do a bit more, on our feet and do like [inaudible 00:33:45] and things like that. Yeah. And training for [inaudible 00:33:48] I actually hurt my knee.

Robbie:
Right.

Kelli:
Yeah. So I was put back from that. So I was mech downgraded for nearly a year, with all of that lovely stuff, which was, yeah, quite hard on myself, mentally as well as physically. And there was a lot of things that I had to kind of go through, a lot of hoops. Even like on, yeah, having Hugh, in the military, it was kind of like, oh, not that I was angry at Hugh or like not supporting him for his career, but I was like, I was enlisting first. I should have had like a great time and things like that. So it was a bit like not heated within Hugh and I, but I was a little bit salty on the fact that I was like, I’ve done all these things and it hasn’t worked out so perfectly.

Robbie:
And certain like being a load master?

Kelli:
Yeah. So even-

Robbie:
As opposed to being a loggy, they’re not viewed the same. If you’re air crew, you’re air crew and everyone else-

Hugh:
Yeah. For sure.

Robbie:
… like this, what is it you say, Dane, the job of everyone in the air force is to make sure the aircraft are flying.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And aircraft don’t just have a pilot. They’ve got you smart folk in the back of the plane and make sure the other stuff that we used to do happens seamlessly. Yeah. So I fully understand the trajectory you were on and the way that you were feeling. And then I guess, Kelli, as you hurt your knee there, part of you, if I could summarize of what I think you were feeling was, starting to unravel in front of you.

Kelli:
Yeah. And I was like, okay, because I joined and I was like, you know what? This is going to be my career. I want to be in forever.

Robbie:
Of course.

Kelli:
This is what I really, really wanted. And I didn’t really have a plan B. I thought, I’ll do my trade, I’m old enough to join. This is just going to be me. I didn’t have anything. And in the background I thought, one day once I’ve been alerted for a little bit, I might want to study nursing. I didn’t really have anything for a plan B. And I actually didn’t begin my, oh, like my aircraft, like that frame IET, I did all my prerequisites. So I didn’t graduate, which was, yeah, a bit hard on the heart and the mind.

Kelli:
And I did. Yeah. I actually, it was kind of the thing that I was like, if I don’t get me discharged, I’m just going to volunteer. I’ll just do a volunteer discharge if I can’t do a remaster and things like that. And I did actually look into a remaster, cause I was like, maybe loading isn’t for me. Maybe it’s a bit too much for my body. I didn’t really like being away from High for long periods of time. So I was like, I’m very home bored. I love being around my family and friends. And I just thought, when I was younger I saw, as DFR, they feed you different information, like “It’s going to be a great life and you’re going to do this and travel here, travel there.”

Robbie:
Do you remember what they told me about bringing my golf clubs to Kapooka? Oh, I didn’t use them.

Kelli:
Yeah. And so you think about things like that and you’re like, as a young person, you don’t, like I didn’t think I needed to have a plan B. I thought I’m just going to, roll on through. I didn’t even know there was such thing as being back course at rookies. So like I had no insight and they don’t tell you those things. So I was like, okay, cool, just rolled with the punches. And now I look back and I’m like, okay. So I actually went forward with a voluntary discharge, which was really great, because I think of it now. And I was offered, there was a program called Veteran Education Program. So when I went through my transition in defense, I was offered a position to study nursing. And because I was eligible, they would fund my nursing course.

Kelli:
So we went down that avenue. And, yeah, it was quite hard in the sense, because I was like, okay, discharging, it wasn’t my plan. So I was very put back by it, took me like even now, like I think I’ve only really just gotten over it. I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over it, but I’ve kind of accepted it now because I’m happy and I really love what I’m doing. And I think this is the path that I was actually meant to do and things happen for a reason.

Robbie:
Yup.

Kelli:
So I think about like I was back course, cool, I met Hugh and like I got to meet other people and do other things that weren’t the start of the plan.

Robbie:
Yeah. Now, I know that you love being in the nursing field.

Kelli:
Yeah. Absolutely love it. Yeah. I just think like if-

Robbie:
Because I don’t know any different for you.

Kelli:
… Yeah. So it was like a pretty rough trough for me, like in defense, it wasn’t, yeah, a lovely time. But, yeah. So I suppose before I got my Veteran Education Program, I did try and remaster into a medic, and I got told that that area of the mastering was actually being re-

Robbie:
Recategorized into a joint capability, in the air force.

Kelli:
… Yeah. So they said that it was roughly going to take 18 months for me to even put like an EOY. And-

Robbie:
It was the wrong time for you.

Kelli:
… Yeah. And I was just like, am I going to sit here and maybe get even more injured or not make the course or be pushed out of defense or will I take it and be like, okay, I’m going to ride this track. And, yeah, that’s exactly what I did. I decided to put in my discharge, go through with my nursing and then I actually went back part-time just worked a few days at the butcher.

Robbie:
[inaudible 00:38:52].

Kelli:
Yeah.

Dane:
Back where it all begun.

Kelli:
Yeah. I think of it now and I’m like, you know what? I met, again like-

Dane:
Other mates.

Kelli:
… great people. Look at the positives, but I was like, wow, I just did that full three year turn, if not more, because of the start of it. And I’m back where I started. So this is good.

Robbie:
But you’re a far wiser, more rounded, more determined and knowledgeable person than what you could have been.

Kelli:
Yeah. I am.

Robbie:
Because as we all agreed being in the military just gives you those skills and now you can grab them and move forward.

Kelli:
And don’t get me wrong, I had some really, really great times in defense. I’m thankful that I got to experience that and make a different choice on my career part, because things happen for a reason and, yeah, it’s just, I suppose, one of those things and now I’m like, I finished my nursing.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Just let me press pause there. Then we eventually met each other. You guys are in Aldelide?

Kelli:
No.

Hugh:
No, Sydney.

Kelli:
Yeah. Sydney.

Robbie:
Oh, Sydney. Sorry, you were in Richmond?

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Sorry.

Dane:
I thought it was Newcastle.

Hugh:
No.

Dane:
I’m completely off.

Kelli:
Hugh was in Newcastle. Yeah.

Robbie:
Right, right, right. Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. Yes.

Robbie:
So, and I was thinking for some reason I had Edinburg in my head, but no, down in Newcastle and tell us about, so you were out then?

Kelli:
No, so I was still in. So Hugh was in Newcastle before he did like his, IETs.

Hugh:
Yeah. That was at JT.

Kelli:
We then got a joint kind of posting. I was at Richmond. He came to Richmond.

Hugh:
And then I came down to Richmond. Yup.

Kelli:
So we did like a few months, I suppose. I don’t know, just saw each other on the weekends. Kind of did that and then moved in together.

Hugh:
Together. Straight away. Yeah.

Kelli:
Straight away. So I had the house in Richmond and then he would come home on weekends and then he’d stay, on the base.

Robbie:
So that’s when we first met you guys were then living in Richmond-

Hugh:
Yes.

Robbie:
… area?

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Got it, got it, got it.

Dane:
And you were in a pool flight then?

Kelli:
Yeah, so-

Dane:
Waiting to transition out?

Kelli:
… Pretty much.

Hugh:
No, no, no.

Kelli:
Oh, no.

Dane:
Okay.

Hugh:
You were out.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
You were just-

Kelli:
When we met you guys?

Dane:
That’s right.

Robbie:
Yes.

Kelli:
Yeah. I was fully, yeah, I was out. Yeah.

Hugh:
And I was-

Kelli:
And I was studying my nursing then.

Hugh:
… Yeah. Those happy days.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Tell us about how you stumbled across Axon, let’s transition into that. Because I will come to your transition out of the military in a second. So that was a great story Kelli by the way, again, I just found out more about you, which is so fascinating. I’m not sitting on the train pissing myself, because I’m trying to hold a conversation and steer where we going at the same time. How did you guys stumble across us? What research did you do? How long was it before we finally got the chance or who made the first move? All that sort of stuff.

Hugh:
So I always wanted to buy a house young and I could see the benefits, and obviously of getting into the market as early as I could. And I deployed in September of 2019. And it was one of those things I was just finished at day, came back into my room and [inaudible 00:41:42], everyone’s got their different experiences, but honestly there’s not much I could have complained about it’s a holiday in that sort, in some respect.

Dane:
Good mess.

Hugh:
Yeah. Very good wraps and food, and whatnot. But I was just sitting there and on Facebook, and it just came up and I knew I was saving pretty hard, because that was why I got or wanted the trip so bad. And it was purely by luck essentially, I-

Robbie:
Can you remember what you saw?

Hugh:
… It was a video, it was one of your videos. I’m not sure what the video was. You were talking about ADF. I think it might have been Entitlements. And I think that’s kind of what caught my eye, because at the time I had no plan on leaving or anything. And then I just started to really get into it, from there I was like, oh these videos. And by that point you had, there was a whole lot of videos backed up, you’ve been in the business for a while and whatnot. And so I just was watching them. And then I came to, I got back at the end of March of 2020, and I had some family stuff go on, and we kind of put that on pause. And then it got to about would’ve been probably September of last-

Robbie:
Last year.

Hugh:
… Last year. 2020. Yeah. And then we obviously spoke about it and that was the main, I said three things I wanted to do before we had kids. And one was to be able to deploy, one was to buy a… No one was to deploy. One was to go on-

Kelli:
Yeah. A good holiday.

Hugh:
… a really good holiday. And one was to leave Sydney. And we were starting to tick stuff off. So when I got my posting order, it was like, crap, we’re leaving Sydney? For Rockford, we got to do a trip of a lifetime in Europe.

Robbie:
Awesome.

Kelli:
Yeah. Good Europe trip.

Robbie:
Nice.

Hugh:
Yeah. So everything just started to happen and we spoke about it and I had the cash there, good to go. And then I was like, I showed Kelli the videos and I was like, “Have a look. What do you think?”

Robbie:
And what were your first impressions of, as like that guy?

Dane:
Off of Robbie.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
I suppose Hugh, we had always spoken and Hugh wanted to buy an investment. And I didn’t have the best money habits. So it was always like a dream of Hugh’s. And I was like, cool out, just cheer later in the background you’re going, but you’re doing good. And then when Hugh deployed, I suppose in that time that he was away and stuff we were quite together with money. A bit more together.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
And then, yeah, Hugh came back from deployment and was like, “Hey, I have a bucket load of cash. I found these guys, I’m going to book in a discovery, blah, blah, blah, too, I want you to have a look at the videos.” And I was thinking videos? I don’t want to watch these videos. I don’t have time, I’m studying. I’m studying full time, I’m working. I was like, oh, okay. Watch the videos. And I was like, “Oh, okay. Interesting. All right.” I was like, “Cool. Yeah. I’ve done a bit of research. You’ve like the stuff you’ve given me, like tick it off. Let’s do this like discovery call.” That was, I think after that phone call, I was more excited than Hugh.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Well, all right. That’s interesting.

Hugh:
I got off and I was like, “Wow!” I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it. When are we doing it? What do I need to do to kind of help as well, because Hugh, even though I’m… We obviously spend money together, that big chunk, like Hugh earned. So I was like, “If you want to use it as an investment, more than happy for you too, and I can come on the second round.” If we do it again, I’ll just do that. And then it was very much so that you guys wanted us together. You wanted us on the same page to see both partners were happy and yeah.

Robbie:
And how did that make you feel that there’s not just some blokes here at Axon. Because the guys take the majority of the first inbound calls, even though we got, what’s almost 50-50 in our working relationship between guys and girls. It wasn’t just us talking to Hugh, I’d want to make sure that you felt we were also including you.

Kelli:
Yeah. I found that was probably… So when I left defense, a lot of people commented on why I left. Like, “Why would you leave to defense? It’s such a good thing.” And I’m like, “You don’t know until you’re in it.” It’s different life, things happen, I’ve made my choice. I’m happy.

Robbie:
And everyone has their own, very unique experience.

Kelli:
Exactly.

Hugh:
Oh for sure.

Kelli:
Exactly. And a lot of people that have never… And a lot of these guys that have been butchers for 20, 30 years or whatever, they haven’t seen a different thing. They see defense that they’re like strong and they do these things, but they don’t know the insides. So I was like, okay. And I took that pretty hard in the sense that I was like, wow. All these things, but when I met you guys and when we spoke, I was probably like, okay, these guys have transitioned, they understand me.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Dane:
It felt a bit safer.

Kelli:
They understand me. I was like, wow. And I remember saying to, Hugh, I’m really nervous. I didn’t have a lot of money. I was nervous that we had to show you our bank accounts.

Hugh:
Because, it’s not… Yeah.

Kelli:
All of these things.

Robbie:
Not on the first call you didn’t.

Kelli:
Because I was like, they kind of want to know everything, Hugh. And I was like, are they are going to think, she’s left defense and she’s done all these things. But if anything, I was like, they support me.

Robbie:
Yeah. Of course.

Kelli:
They really liked me. I was like-

Dane:
[crosstalk 00:47:03] as well.

Kelli:
But I was really like a bit concerned on that discussion. And yeah, afterwards I was like, it’s happening.

Hugh:
So right.

Kelli:
We are doing this.

Hugh:
Because we had-

Kelli:
Like, this is, yeah.

Hugh:
… Our discovery was with all three.

Robbie:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Because we used to do all three back then.

Hugh:
Yeah. I said all three then. But, yeah.

Robbie:
That would’ve been good that it was just three people that are now dedicating some care and attention to you guys to find out, to discover more about your circumstances.

Hugh:
Yeah. And good energy. And that was the, I feed-

Kelli:
Like we [crosstalk 00:47:30].

Hugh:
… off like if someone’s like, “Yeah, good to go. Right, let’s go.” I’m like, “Get me on it. I’ll sign the [inaudible 00:47:36].”

Robbie:
Just be careful with that ladies, gentlemen. Because there’s some people out there that have got some good energy, which is, has ill intentions for that reason.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
That’s exactly right. But yeah. And from that point in, as what Kelli said, we were all ready to rock and roll. Essentially, we were excited. We’ve got no family or at that point we have no family up in Brisbane. So it was going to be a fresh start. And then, yeah, we were like, as soon as we get up there and it somewhat helped things like the Brisbane meet up. And that was really good for us because one-

Robbie:
What do we do that, late January or something this year?

Hugh:
… Early Feb, I think. Yeah. From memory.

Robbie:
Yeah. We are just in the process of planning the new one now, and it’s probably going to be around about the same time or so.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So, yeah.

Hugh:
But being new and not having family up here and stuff like that, that again, I come back to that community thing, that was great, for new people, not a lot of family up here. You got to do-

Dane:
You got to meet a lot of people in different parts of the process there. Right? Which I always think is really valuable.

Hugh:
… Yeah.

Dane:
Because in the end, Robbie and I can sing to the heavens as much as we want, but meeting someone else who’s there saying, “Oh, well I went through it. This is what the feeling was. This is what my journey unfolded.” Is always going to give you way different perspectives.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. And there’s nowhere to hide, really? Is there.

Kelli:
Honestly. Yeah.

Hugh:
Because like, you can try shelter people away. Not that you wouldn’t, but you know what I mean. If someone had something bad to say they’re there and they’re going to probably say it. So to hear-

Dane:
Let’s a few drinks under the bill.

Hugh:
… That’s exactly right.

Robbie:
Yeah. Someone’s like, we can’t talk about our business like anyone else can. And we appreciate that. And that is, it is what it is.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
I remember saying to Hugh, it was a bit odd. We went to the, was it called Lime? What was the place called?

Robbie:
Oh, just the climb meet up in, yup.

Kelli:
Yeah. So we went there and then I remember coming out of the lift and Dane was there and I was like, we kind of like, it was really weird, because I was like, “We’ve spoken to you guys on Zoom.” And then I was like, it’s almost, I don’t know, a celebrity thing. Because we watched you-

Robbie:
Oh, he’s real.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
… But it was really bizarre. And I was like, we’ve done the accent, the lives and stuff, on Wednesday night, it’s like same thing. It’s kind like a little routine for Hugh and I. And we used to set up TV, eat dinner and we’re all like all eyes on.

Robbie:
So many people do that. That’s really cool.

Kelli:
So like that was just so we’d do that. We did our Zoom calls, but meeting you guys in person, obviously it would’ve been different because we were in Sydney anyway. So whether we continued living there, would’ve always kind of been via Zoom, to some point. So yeah, it was really weird seeing you guys in person, it was like, no, it’s the same, it didn’t even change. If anything, the energy was even better.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
And I wasn’t drinking.

Kelli:
Yeah. No you weren’t.

Robbie:
75.

Kelli:
That’s true. Yeah.

Robbie:
Dane wouldn’t have been drinking either. So we got to a point, we basically put a strategy together. So you guys haven’t bought your first investment property, you’ve actually bought your own home.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. Correct.

Robbie:
How cool.

Hugh:
So, yeah. And-

Robbie:
Sounds like, hey, we need to… Let’s pull the trigger on this, when we’re some part of the case studies of the videos that you would’ve seen is, if you are posted to, you guys went to Amberley.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Right? We can disclose that.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
You guys went to Amberley, I’m like, that’s one of the areas that we now put on our free online training that if you were posted that location, why wouldn’t you pull the trigger on whatever entitlement you could get, depending on the government grants and the time, and location, and however long you are still going to have? And you’re posting tenure, et cetera. So, yeah, hopefully that I know it did, but not just coming to us to buy a property, actually putting a plan together, which was extremely individualized to you and personalized to your circumstances, that was going to give you the best outcome.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. And the education and as what Kelli said before, she wasn’t all in on the property investment stuff at the start. So by you guys-

Kelli:
I kind of had no idea. I didn’t have, not that I wasn’t interested, but I hadn’t done… Hugh had done the research, because it was going to be his investment property, whether it was with you guys or-

Robbie:
Or you playing catch up.

Kelli:
… we met Dane. I was just like, oh, okay. And money kind of those type of things I’ve never interested in. So I was like, oh, okay, we’ll just see how we go. And then, yeah, obviously it just blew out and, yeah.

Robbie:
So you guys are halfway through your first build now then.

Hugh:
Yeah, so-

Robbie:
Where are you up to? Tell us where you’re up to.

Hugh:
We’re just waiting for our frame to be put up.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
Right.

Hugh:
So just, yeah, we’re started, the slabs all done got the first home buyers grant, which is really good. But, yeah, just waiting for the frame to be slapped up and-

Robbie:
And, I’ve had a frame sitting there at my place for 12 weeks now, waiting for the roof to go on.

Kelli:
Oh.

Robbie:
So it’s just a crazy, crazy time at the moment.

Hugh:
It is.

Robbie:
And so, yeah, as you’ve heard us talk about with our community, every single Facebook live we do every second Wednesday, being patient and understanding and not feel like you’re being singled out is the way to go.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
We can tell like, even like, I suppose where we are building all around the blocks surrounding and stuff, it’s the same thing. You can see that the delays are there for everybody. It’s not just, it’s only our block that’s like, oh, it’s everybody.

Robbie:
Yup.

Kelli:
And a few of the girl at work that I work with, they’re building and they have the same things. They’ve all been told about the delays and stuff and the COVID world, and things like that happening. So yeah.

Robbie:
Yeah. Crazy. Crazy.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Well, we said as well, you can… If you invest in the right area, it can sit there all it want and it’ll take its time, and you’re benefiting from it anyway.

Robbie:
What did you say when we were talking about sites, someone else paid two and a half grand, more for a block in and around your street area, let’s call it within a hundred meters or so. And it’s 70 square meters less.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
How did that make you feel?

Hugh:
Yeah. It’s-

Robbie:
Bloody good.

Hugh:
… Yeah. That’s and I-

Robbie:
Paid more for less.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
That’s six months. That was like six to seven months difference. And the developer where we are, they’ve held off from releasing more blocks of land, and they were meant to release.

Robbie:
Oh, we know. We’ve been waiting.

Hugh:
To releasing in May.

Robbie:
We know.

Hugh:
So it’s crazy times for everyone.

Robbie:
We’ve got a bunch of people that are in your shoes, wanting to pull the trigger on your idea of housing entitlements and a bunch of people that are in other places in Australia that are at that particular price point that want to invest in that area from a non-emotional perspective. Which is ultimately from a long-term point of view, why you’ve done it as well. We’ve had the ambush set mate, haven’t we? And we’ve just been marking time in a holding pattern for 20 or 30 people since May. And then every time we coach someone, we’re like, “Oh, you want to go there? There’s another one of the list. There’s another one of the list. There’s another one of the list.”

Kelli:
I honestly think like we could not have done it at any other time. We think of that now. And when we were still in Sydney and like, we gotten our posting, but other things were still kind of unknown. I was sitting on the site going like, are we going to buy it? Are we’re going to do this? Okay. All right, we’re going to do this. And now I’m like oh, lucky. We are so lucky, everything just slotted perfectly into place, with jobs and everything like that. We, yeah, couldn’t have done it at any more-

Dane:
Yeah.

Hugh:
And we wouldn’t have done it by ourselves either. Even to the point of having you guys having the connection to, for the home builders grant, to have that done before the 31st of December deadline for that extra 10. It’s stuff-

Robbie:
Yeah. It’s just synchronizing the key dates and using those military planning principles that were all exposed to in your life. Because you can’t, like we call it, go to work. As veterans now, we go back to our military workplace and you’re just in contingency mode all the time. What are my key timings? What are my key outcomes? Who else do I need to communicate with? You’ve just got that on your radar, almost every minute of your day while you’re there. How am I contributing to the bigger plan? When you just transpose that mindset, dare I say, and have your Axons working in the same way to your life, and you’ve got that sync matrix, and you’ve got the clarity, and you’ve got the team, and you know why you’re doing it, everything changes, doesn’t it.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Yeah. For sure.

Kelli:
Everything.

Hugh:
It really does.

Robbie:
I’m putting words in your mouth, but I’m like, I just, I know-

Kelli:
It’s so true though.

Robbie:
… that I know that that’s the case.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So then you got to a point eventually like, then you contacted me, let’s call it six months or so ago, earlier this year. And you’re like, “Hey, I’m thinking about, this military thing is not really working for me anymore.” Like you’ve just reached that point whereby you didn’t feel like that you wanted to stay in. Tell us more about that. Because this is an interesting little story as well by any chance.

Hugh:
Yeah. That’s, I’m glad you brought that up. So, yeah, when I got back from overseas, I kind of was like, I’ve done a lot in the small amount of time that I’ve been in. And I was really satisfied with that and I just kind of started to lose the passion and love, and logistics is essential, but it just isn’t for me, I’m very like, I like to help people. So, yeah, after it was February and I’m not even… This is 100% true. I was driving out of the gates of Amberley one day and I had an absolute shit day and I was just so over it. And it was Dane on the podcast. I put the podcast on and I was driving out the gates and it was in season one of the podcast. And Dane was like, when you’re having thoughts about leaving, it’s a matter of time before it happens.

Robbie:
And again, all of us nodding, everyone listening is like, yup.

Hugh:
And I was like, oh, I was so blindsided though with a lot of just incentives from defense and entitlements. So I kind of put that on the back burner, but I wasn’t a happy person. And then, yeah, that’s when I reached out and I just kind of had a bit of a chat and said, “We had a bit of it.” We spoke about it. And then it just, we, at this point in time, it was kind of one of those things that wasn’t going to work. And I am grateful in a way for that, because I have been given everything and we’ve spoken about this before. I’ve been really lucky in my life. I’ve literally been, yup, you do this, or… And that comes with hard work as well. But I haven’t had a lot of setbacks in my life. And obviously compared to Kelli’s career, mine was very fluent.

Hugh:
I was able to deploy blah, blah, blah. But I was really grateful in the sense at this point in time, I had someone that was kind of like, maybe just not now, because that for me was like, okay, that’s, it’s not rejection, but it’s like, right, where can we… What now? What do I need to do now? So it changed just the thought process and right, that’s okay, that’s life. So how are we going to overcome, or what-

Robbie:
Everything’s in about timing.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
… Yeah. It really is.

Robbie:
Like you’ve said a couple of times Kelli, things happen for a reason, but when you’re talking to the right person at the right time about the right event, you’ll get the right outcome. And to get all those lined up, all those holes and the cheese to be the right… And timing is generally the one thing which is just it’ll either bring it all down. Opportunity, resources and intent, you got to have of all those three together as well. Yeah. Just-

Kelli:
Everything, so many things need to match.

Robbie:
… That’s right.

Kelli:
And I suppose until you maybe don’t have something that doesn’t match, you’re like, oh, okay, what can I do to like… Yeah. What can I do? What’s the next step? What’s my plan B? Do I have a plan B?

Robbie:
Because no doubt those things that Dane said would’ve been ringing in your ears, like, oh, it’s only a matter of time, bro, you’re going to get out at some stage. Because then no doubt your plan B planning, Kelli would’ve kicked in straight away.

Hugh:
Yeah. For sure. Anyway, it got to the point where I was starting, I did my CV up and I was like, I’ll just have it there, good to go and I’ll pull the trigger when I need to. And it got to the point where I literally was a miserable shit and it took, there’s only so much your partner can say, but when you hear it from someone else within like in your family, it kind of hits a little bit different. And I had my mom at the time kind of pulled me aside and was like, we’re worried.

Robbie:
What’s going on.

Hugh:
We’re worried about you. You’re not going down a good route. And again, I’m extremely lucky. I’ve got everything I want, we’ve just bought a house where… There’s so many good things, but I just was not happy with where I was at with my job. And it’s so important because your work takes up so much of your life. And then it took that conversation for me to be like, what am I doing? There are options. Everyone has options. And it is hard to see at that point in time. But I was, yeah, having that conversation really opened my eyes. And then Kelli and I had a conversation, and I was worried about… Because we had started the build process. I was like, oh we will need to find a rental. We’ll have to [inaudible 01:00:10] DHS. So there was a lot of factors. And then-

Robbie:
And we sort of jet with that as well.

Hugh:
… Yeah.

Kelli:
Yeah. You did.

Hugh:
So that’s what I want to kind of come into. So once I kind of made that decision, I started applying for jobs and was very fortunate within about two months span of like applying, I had a couple of interviews and I essentially had a choice, which was really good. But then, once I’d signed the contract to join where I work now, I was like, right, we need to move. I’ve got to, still have surgery, that defense is going to do. I need, there’s a whole lot of things.

Robbie:
You’re no longer entitled to your married quarter or your RA, et cetera. So that full transition mode.

Hugh:
Yeah. And then, so I thought, I emailed you and I said, “Look, can we just have a bit of a catch up? I just want to…” I wasn’t sure about the housing entitlement staff from what I needed to do. And from that point it was just so easy and the housing, well, the rental market at the moment is so hard to get into. But the fact that, again, timing, it’s just so happened that about two weeks before I was going to leave that there was a house where we live now, that was being readied for us to kind of move into.

Robbie:
So another Axon Client was building an investment property. They were posted down south and I was like, “Hey, I’ll reckon we can get you guys slid in here.”

Hugh:
Yeah. And shout out to them too. Because I really do want to meet them, because-

Kelli:
Yeah. We’re so grateful.

Hugh:
… we are extremely grateful for-

Kelli:
It was a little bit of a sticky switch, but we got there. And, yeah, so we are really thankful them. Yeah.

Hugh:
… For being able to oh-

Robbie:
Oh actually they’re down in Wagga.

Hugh:
… Yeah. Okay.

Robbie:
He’s right down at Wagga.

Hugh:
Right.

Robbie:
Yeah. Great bloke and she’s a lovely lady as well. So, yeah, I’ll be able to make that happen.

Hugh:
But, yeah. And then so got that six month lease sorted and then, yeah, everything just rolled and from that point, I’ve got no bad blood for defense. And I think, as I said, defense is such a great platform for you to really find who you are as a person, to set yourself up and kind of go from there, especially at a young age. And I think more younger people would really benefit from joining the military at, young age because-

Dane:
Prescription.

Hugh:
… Yeah. But how many people these days go and get a university degree straight out of school because it’s what society tells them or their parents tell them. And then, they-

Kelli:
And they don’t even go down that road sometimes.

Hugh:
… Well, yeah, or they can’t even get a job, where you can do five to 10, to 15 years in the military, you’re still young enough. You learn really good things, enjoy your time, get great experiences and really benefit from it.

Robbie:
It’d be very, very rare to meet anyone. You guys, what? Did four or five in two or three years, whatever it’s going to be.

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
So your time was quite short. but you are still seeing the praises of what young people should do. As a guy who joined as a 17 year old and got out when I was 41, and that, three or four years you did as well. That’s a joke. The 10 odd years that you did as well, Dane, when you have so much extra time in the military where it almost become institutionalized.

Kelli:
It’s a huge eye opener.

Robbie:
Yeah. It really is. Like you described, there’s so many young men and women who just don’t get exposed to what we have been through. Therefore they’ll never feel the way that we feel, that’s why the veteran community is so unique and so different. And what we need to actually wrap our arms around each other, because that relatability that we no doubt felt, like Dane and I love drawing off to our clients, because we can just be who we used to be. As soon as someone comes in and we think they’ve got a little bit of air force in their blood. I’m like, “Bro, you go talk to them. You’re the best person to go talk to them.” Because even though I ran the JTAC capability for SOCOM, I was never in the air force. I can sort of play that card a little bit and go, “Oh yeah, yeah, fine good idea.”

Robbie:
But if they’re not first year community, I’m dead in the water there anyway. So yeah, it’s a really relatability between all of us is like so key. I just think society would relate to their families and relate to their coworkers so much more if they knew some of the skills that we’ve been exposed to.

Kelli:
Yeah. It’s such an unknown field, it’s something that is so unique that you learn a lot about your past, about you, about your peers, how to deal with different situations. You do really become resilient.

Hugh:
Well, grow up, really quick.

Kelli:
There’s a lot of obstacles you have to-

Robbie:
Sure you do. Yeah.

Kelli:
… tackle. And, yeah, it changes you as a person. And whether you have a good or on smooth, whatever, your time is, it definitely makes you-

Hugh:
A better person.

Kelli:
… a better person. Yeah.

Dane:
I like how you put it, man. It’s a great platform. So I say, if you have no idea what to do, you might as well make that decision while get paid for it.

Hugh:
Exactly right.

Dane:
Just go onto defense and sit there, because they’ll tell you what to do.

Robbie:
Especially because you reminded me please, how old were you when you first joined?

Dane:
27.

Robbie:
Right. Yeah. So 10 years.

Kelli:
Yeah.

Robbie:
10 years younger.

Dane:
No, 26, right?

Robbie:
20 years further down the track. So, there’s another unique perspective about sort of how… Yeah. So you’re never too young to be able to sort of get that under your belt.

Dane:
I had a different appreciation for what I went through. Because I was always find, and I’m not making fun at people going straight after school. But for them, the grass was always greener on other side and I used to think, well it’s not me, because once you get out there-

Robbie:
That’s why I’m here.

Dane:
… Once you get out there, everything is for profit, right?

Hugh:
Yup.

Kelli:
Yup.

Dane:
So like here-

Hugh:
Happier though, there.

Hugh:
.

Dane:
… well they can carry you. They can carry someone. Like someone get injured and so and so forth. They go like, “Oh well they might have an opportunity of going into another role. They can sit in pool flight for 12, all sort of stuff. And that shit just does not happen on the outside.

Kelli:
Yeah. It doesn’t exist.

Dane:
You’re not performing-

Robbie:
No.

Dane:
… you go home. So I had a different appreciation when I went through it, but you’re right man. And I think it’s one thing you’ll never fake. And one of the things that I really like about Axon is like, even though we’re not in the military, I think I know more about it now, because I talk to people from array of different fields, different times, different experiences, doing different things at a time. And it’s good because you can never fake that.

Hugh:
No.

Dane:
You can never fake being in the military because people know, right? You can talk to someone within two minutes, you’re like, oh yeah man. And you can start to relate. All that sort of stuff.

Hugh:
Get 1,000 acronyms thrown at you, and-

Dane:
100%.

Robbie:
It’s why one of my peer hates is other firms in the property space that specialize in helping defense yet there’s been no defense specialization in their fucking business. So I’m like get out of my sector, get out of my fucking-

Kelli:
Yeah.

Hugh:
Fucking chase them out.

Robbie:
… Yeah.

Kelli:
It’s really interesting even the fact that, Hugh continued to serve as I transitioned, that was a big eye opener to see that change. I thought, oh, I’ve been in defense, I understand it. But even that, things happened that I was like, oh, okay, I didn’t experience that when I was in. And it was good because we still do like, have quite a good crew that we met through defense and stuff. But even just having some of our friends that do have CV partners when they do deploy, I’m like, I’ve been a partner at home. Like I understand that. I was like, if you need anything, I’ve totally-

Robbie:
Yeah. Reach out.

Kelli:
… I’ve been through that. And it’s really good to have that support system as well. It’s not like we’ve only just been doing our thing in defense and we don’t kind of look at anything else, like-

Robbie:
You guys are kind of slid though, in the way you’re transitioning. Right?

Hugh:
Yeah.

Robbie:
But you still are sort of in that field in a way with your new role, right?

Hugh:
Yeah, exactly. Right.

Robbie:
Tell us a bit about that.

Hugh:
Yeah. So I picked up a job working for Mates4Mates, which is really great and working in that veteran space and it’s been a good eye opener and we’ll go in a bit more detail.

Robbie:
Yeah. Just a little snake peak ladies and gents, we’re going to have you come in with one of your other colleagues in another few weeks time, which will probably be released in early next year.

Hugh:
Yup.

Robbie:
And I can’t wait to hear all about sort of what Mates4mates are doing for the community as well, which is really cool.

Hugh:
Yeah. So-

Robbie:
Yeah. Just give us your initial impressions of sort of… Because that’s your first workplace really that you’ve been to post-military, since you’re adolescent. So yeah, what’s the real world like, as Dane was talking about?

Hugh:
It’s,, I absolutely love it and it’s really good to see the growth that’ll happen in the next, I guess three to five and forever on years to come. But it was the change that I really needed and I’m a much happier person. And as I said, there’s no bad blood with defense and absolutely love my time. But, yeah, it was just time for me. And back in the day where people were doing 43 years, that’s like the new 15, 20. Really because people, times have changed. The security that defense are used to offer isn’t as probably good as what it used to be and all of these different other factors.

Robbie:
People just have so much more info at their disposal to look at other ships.

Dane:
Spoilt for choice.

Hugh:
Exactly right.

Robbie:
That’s what’s odd.

Hugh:
People are educating themselves a lot more on different things. And so times have changed a lot. So whether you’ve done, one year, two year, three year, you’ve still been a part of it, there’s no-

Robbie:
It’s that fabric, it’s that part of our character and part of our culture, which now we can all sort of grab for and keep going.

Hugh:
Yeah. And everyone has their different stories. But yeah.

Robbie:
Well thank you for sharing your story, by the way, that was, I loved that. I just feel like these podcasts are getting better and better. And yeah, I know that both of you have sort of been very candid and very open, and honest in here today, which is so great for everybody. So thanks you, thanks Kelli.

Hugh:
All right. Same here.

Robbie:
I can shake your hands quickly.

Kelli:
Thank you.

Robbie:
Thank you. Nice firm handshake still. Everybody, we are COVID free here so we can fucking do that sort of stuff. Hey, thanks very much for listening. I’m sure everyone got a lot out of that as I did. I love hearing stories for the first time.

Kelli:
Thank you.

Robbie:
All right. Catch up with you guys again soon.

Hugh:
Bye-bye.

Robbie:
Thank you. Bye.

Kelli:
Bye.

 

 

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This information and any examples provided do not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. We have not analysed or reviewed your personal circumstances. Where appropriate, you may need to obtain financial, legal, accounting or tax planning advice from a professional before implementing any wealth-creation strategy based on investing in property.

Axon Property Group, nor its respective directors, servants, employees or agents will be liable to you for damages, direct or indirect, including any loss of profits, loss of savings or return on investments or any other incidental consequential damages arising out of or connecting with the utilisation of or inability to utilise the financial and property concepts illustrated in this presentation.

None of the parties specified accept any responsibility or assume any liability for any accounting or investment decisions that you may make based on this presentation or in respect to any claim made by any other party.

You acknowledge and accept that the entire risk of making an investment in property, and the results and performance of any such investments, are your responsibility and no liability attaches to Axon Property Group. This disclaimer is to the extent permitted by law.