SOME people travel the world to find themselves.

When David Beattie ventured abroad, he found himself a new career.

People can talk about an employment journey, but Mr Beattie’s got the passport stamps to prove his.

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The former process sector apprentice was the original ‘boy done good’.

After beginning with BASF, with support from the TTE Technical Training Group, he worked his way through the ranks, picking up qualifications and new jobs along the way.

His ascent continued following a switch to gas operator BOC, with management roles superseded by a senior engineering position at the firm’s Teesport site.

But his first love was travelling, and he was determined not to let that flame die out.

A request for a period of leave was unsuccessful, and he didn’t fancy a potential transfer to South Africa either, so he decided to leave.

“I have always loved travelling but with me being in the jobs I was, I had to bottle it up a bit,” he said.

“I asked for a sabbatical but was told I couldn’t really have one in the job I was doing, and South Africa wasn’t what I wanted.

“I knew it was a bit of a risk, but my CV was excellent, and I always had it to fall back on.

“I worked with BOC on it for a few months and ended up leaving on a Thursday.

“On the Friday I jumped on a train from Middlesbrough and was on my way.”

Mr Beattie’s trip took him everywhere, from all parts of Europe to Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, Asia, New Zealand and the Americas.

However, it was Sumatra, in Indonesia, where his adventure took on extra meaning and ended up changing his life.

He said: “When I was in Sumatra, I saw people roasting coffee.

“It was the thing that really ignited my passion.”

Mr Beattie travelled for hours through jungle to get to a plantation, where he met workers and began to understand the industry.

“From the moment I saw them, I knew I wanted to do something with them and help them get a fair deal,” he said.

“Just seeing the coffee being roasted, I knew where my future was.

“I came back to the UK and got a job in engineering, but, really, I was just treading water.

“So, I bought a coffee roaster and found a place to get started.”

Mr Beattie’s business, Rounton Coffee, is now coming up to its fifth anniversary and employs 14 staff.

Known for working directly with farmers to help them get a premium price, a legacy of Mr Beattie’s Sumatra adventure, it is based in East Rounton, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, and stocks an exotic range of teas and coffees from around the world.

It also combines wholesale operations with the Bedford Street Coffee House, in Middlesbrough, and The Joiner’s Shop, based in Ingleby Cross, between Stokesley and Osmotherley, North Yorkshire, which offers a place to sit and enjoy its blends while sampling food from an adjoining restaurant.

The business has come a long way in a short time.

However, Mr Beattie isn’t ready to sit back just yet.

“One of the things people say to me is that we can look back and be proud of what we have achieved,” he added.

“But I can’t do that really.

“I’m pleased with what we’ve done, but it is difficult to look back because we still have much more to do.”

Five minutes with… David Beattie

Favourite North-East building and why?

It would have to be the Baltic Centre, in Gateshead. It’s such a charismatic building and the gallery has some excellent exhibitions.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid?

I was a paperboy. I did the morning delivery every day and the Sunday papers, which were backbreaking. I also did the afternoon deliveries six days a week. I got paid a mere £9 a week.

What is the worst job you’ve had?

Working in a pizza shop. I didn’t know who Gordon Ramsay was then, but when I look back, I think he worked in that shop with me.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner?

It would have to be tapas.

What would your superpower be?

To disable mobile phones and all kinds of connectivity.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party?

Edward Snowden, Barack Obama, Richard Pryor and Jonathan Ross.

Most expensive thing you’ve bought- other than your car or house - and how much?

It was a drawing by Miles Richmond, a local artist, and it cost quite a bit.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why?

I couldn’t possibly single one person out.

Favourite book?

There are so many, but the one that always sticks out is The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. He is a great author.

When did you last cry?

At the birth of my son, Oliver. I have continued to be very emotional.

What is your greatest achievement?

Quitting my job and getting off the gravy train. It’s harder than you think.

What’s the best piece of advice in business you’ve ever been given?

Be prepared to make mistakes. Just make sure you learn from them.

Favourite animal and why?

The swallow. Who doesn’t want to fly and migrate somewhere warm for winter?

Most famous person on your mobile phone?

I don’t have any famous contacts on my phone, I’m afraid.

What was the best band you saw live?

PJ Harvey, at Somerset House.

Describe your perfect night in?

With all my family, eating and drinking and enjoying everybody’s company.

In another life I would be…

A mountain goat.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Maybe Michael Palin?

What irritates you?

Questionnaires and forms…

What’s your secret talent?

I have the ability to make a boring comment on almost any subject.