I knew from the very first email that I’d like Shevy. His name has that famous boxer ring to it: Paul “Shevy” Shevlin. And a professional boxer he very well could have been. But behind the tall, passionate, party character is a gentle soul with one helluva great story to tell.
Born in Sydney, Australia in 1973, Shevy was hand-raised by his loving, 6.4ft tall, 100-kilogram mum, Moya, who was a teacher of mathematics. He left school at 15 with not much education and spent his younger years heavily involved in sports: swimming, surfing and then martial arts (Tae Kwon Do). When Moya’s sister passed away, Moya urged Shevy and his brother to head to Europe and spend the last of their money, meeting up with their UK family and travelling around Europe.
After a whirlwind adventure in the Greek Islands, Shevy found himself smack-bang in the hospitality industry, working as a tour guide for a Kiwi travel company and showing people around Turkey. “I organized visits to the hallowed beaches of WW1’s Gallipoli, walks into Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar [and] I crawled around the underground caves in Cappadocia,” says the broad-shouldered and friendly Shevy. “It was all part of a day’s work for this Raki-drinking, ‘Sleep when ya dead’ Aussie.”
Through his travel network, Shevy caught wind of a place called Kirchberg in Austria. Soon after he arrived, he found himself working at the world’s fastest ski race called ‘the Hahnenkamm’.
“I was overcome with the love of snow, winter and all the action and love the place had,” remembers Shevy. Then and there, he tore up his return ticket to London, made a last call to his girlfriend of the time and made Kitzbühel his new home.
After some back-and-forth between Austria and Australia, Shevy found himself a job as bar security at the famous Londoner bar in Kitzbühel, Austria; but was sacked on New Year’s eve for being drunk and naked on the job. Desperate for a place to stay, he called on a young lady he’d taken home by piggyback in knee deep snow two nights before. I asked if I could “crash for a few nights until I had myself sorted”.
Twelve months later, the young lady would become his wife and mother to his son, John.
1) What makes you tick?
I have a need to feel alive [and] to experience [stuff]. I want to push myself to see how I rate against anyone’s scale. I like people to remember meeting me.
2) What do you love about working in the hospitality game?
I love the challenge of giving people more than what they expect and seeing their excitement when it all comes together.
3) What don’t you love about the hospitality industry?
The people who shouldn’t be in it as they don’t have any passion to give, can’t be flexible to achieve the goal and [are] only driven by financial gain.
4) What do you miss about Australia?
First and foremost, my family, then the surfing lifestyle, the landscape and its people. However, the country I left has changed dramatically and some things I [miss] don’t really exist anymore.
5) How has living abroad and travel changed you as a person?
I am much calmer and quieter and listen more. [I] appreciate the simple things that come for free [and am] very aware of my surrounds and who [is there]. I see opportunities out of new places.
6) Tell us about the worst job you’ve had to do for money?
It has to be a mix of cleaning up the rubbish of 100,000 people after the Kitzbühel ‘Hahnenkamm’ ski race when it’s all been frozen into the stampeded snow over the entire length of the 5km race track in minus 15 degree [Celsius] conditions; or running the personal security for a handful of strippers [when I was] 19-years-old at a Croatian bucks’ night full of massive, scary guys; or abseiling down the Waverly Telecommunications Tower in Sydney to change the covers on communication receivers at 100m high on a windy, cold day.
…the paraflying flight that only lasted 45 seconds, the horse that died when I rode it. All-in-all a great trip!
7) And your funniest travel memory?
Taking my wife to Tunis, Tunisia in 1999, where we conceived our son. On arrival, I was told I was not allowed into the country. I showed them my ID for being a second Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and then had security usher me through customs yelling “Rambo, Rambo, Rambo!” [Our arrival] started with a no show for a transfer. It was then onto the hotel which was in total disarray, the toilet exploded in our room when we used it on arrival (and I mean EXPLODED!), the ‘all you can drink’ bar had no beer, the other bar had no glasses, there was a midget with hands out of his shoulders yelling “bingo” all day and night [and] cats that roamed the dining room and jumped onto tables as people ate their meals. [Then there was] the paraflying flight that only lasted 45 seconds, the horse that died when I rode it… All-in-all a great trip! I would do it all again!
8) What’s the best thing you’ve learned from someone you’ve met during your travels?
Everything has a ‘use by’ date.
9) Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met on your journey and why?
Two [people]: 1) Amir Ben David for his calmness, his ability to remember every detail, knowledge of foreign affairs, ability at different sports. I don’t know exactly [how] but he has helped me mature. 2) My Wife Bianca. She is the hardest working person I have met and is totally selfless. She only wants something when everyone else is satisfied.
10) What’s your advice for other people?
Stop, look around and appreciate what is there right now. Respect what people do regardless of their class in society. Be honest and really reach deep to see how you can be a better person. We all have a forte in life; find it!
[Shevy, his wife Bianca and son John now live in Kirchberg, Austria, where Shevy owns and manages an outdoor holiday operator business called Alpenrider.]
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