If you were to tell Sydney Shire kid Nicolas Olsen six months ago that he would be the first Australian to venture to the gulf nation of Kuwait to play professionally, he'd say you were pulling his leg.
Olsen joined Sutherland Sharks as a teenager, his early years cultivating his career started in his own backyard. At just 16, Olsen made his debut for the senior team and it was here he says he began his learning curve.
"All credit goes to my coach at Sutherland Sharks, Robbie Stanton," said Olsen.
"He saw something in me and took a chance on me that I could perform with the older boys and start in the first team,
"I learnt a lot very fast, it ultimately developed me as a player and as a person and not many get that kind of opportunity these days."
After impressing in his debut seasons in the NPL, Olsen swapped the beaches for the burgeoning Parramatta streets, the genesis of his footballing odyssey. Olsen signed his first professional contract with the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2013.
The 23-year old earned his step up the footballing ladder and learnt some of his most important lessons from the professional outfit.
"(Joining the Wanderers) taught me the highs and lows of professional sport," said Olsen.
"(It) gave me an insight into the game I had never seen before. It ultimately gave me the start I needed in my professional career and gave me the drive to succeed."
Whilst Western Sydney Wanderers inaugural years were littered in glory, Olsen struggled to break his way into a first team that was receiving what felt like endless honours.
Jaushua Sotirio, Yianni Perkatis, Daniel Alessi and Jonathan Aspropotamitis are just some of the names from the Wanderers academy that the fans became accustomed to seeing. Olsen wasn't among those names.
The youngster found himself in an all too familiar position for young players. Should he leave the professional setup? Or head to a club that would give him the football he desperately needs?
Olsen chose the latter and moved his way back into the NPL, a setting he knew he could dominate in; and he is glad he did. The 23 year-old believed rejoining the Sutherland Sharks was the decision that was a turning point in his young career.
"The most valuable lesson that i've learned is the importance of finding a club where you feel most comfortable," said Olsen.
"Wherever you feel comfortable you will play your best football and the opportunities will follow.
"I had my whole youth development (at Sutherland Sharks) and the returning just felt right. But ultimately I think it was just a shift in my mentality.
"Coming into the season after a tough few years with some dark times I felt a sense of freedom returning to that environment."
Olsen joined the Sharks in the middle of the 2018 NPL NSW season as they were fighting in mid-table. In eleven matches he hit the back of the net six times.
Before he new it, suitors from overseas were calling.
"Four days before New Years my agent messaged me saying you have been offered to go to a club in Kuwait, you will be flying out in a few days, pack your bags!" said Olsen.
"It all came so quick and i said alright let's do it! One week later I was on a plane to Kuwait."
Olsen signed a short term deal with Al-Jahra in the Kuwait Premier League, a club who were promoted to the first division in 2010 and have steadily progressed to a stable team in the competition.
"It's kind of crazy to think that i'm in Kuwait playing professional football and loving it," added Olsen.
He would have found the culture shock rather easy to deal with considering Kuwait's small population is occupied approximately 70% by expatriates from East Asia and Africa.
As well as that, English is taught in schools and understood as common business language. Kuwaiti society is much more open that that of other Gulf nations, most notably their border neighbours Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Kuwait citizens and the country is quite ethnically diverse.
"The individuals and team styles are totally different," said Olsen.
"It's fast paced and very physical and players are quick and skilful. It's a learning experience and it's making me a better player so i'm thankful for this opportunity."
Football is the most popular sport in Kuwait featuring ten teams in the first division and a national team with a storied history in Asia having featured in the Asian Cup on ten occasions including lifting the trophy in 1980.
Olsen has progressed rapidly in Kuwait with three goals and two assists since signing in late January.
There's still much more work to do for Olsen and his new team however with Al-Jahra sitting in second last place with six matches remaining.
The Aussie added: "That's the football life isn't it? There's always the opportunity for something crazy. In saying that now that I am here, I couldn't be happier."