Auckland vagabond Jennifer Simms is one of 25 New Zealanders and Australians vying to win an internship with the Discovery Channel.

The 20-year-old has just returned home after visiting 52 countries in a matter of 20 months, but had her trip cut short after being diagnosed with an complex ovarian cyst.

Simms was in Tel Aviv, Israel, when she began having dreadful stomach pains and flew back to England to undergo medical treatment.

It took several weeks before doctors confirmed Simms' ailment and booked her in for surgery to remove the 22cm by 16cm by 9cm mass.


"It was an absolutely surreal feeling to be told that something so large and scary has been growing in you without your knowledge," she said.

"Not something I expected to be going through at the age of 20."

Instead of taking a break during the process, Simms spent her time in hospital compiling video footage for the Asia Pacific Discovery Intern Competition.

Jennifer Simms from her hospital bed in Leicester, England. Photo / Supplied
Jennifer Simms from her hospital bed in Leicester, England. Photo / Supplied

She said she was inspired to take part in the competition after finding out just how unpredictable life can be.

"I now think why not go for every opportunity that is given to me while I still can as you never know what is around the corner."

The winning intern will travel to Japan, USA, Croatia, Germany and South Africa, spending time at Discovery Networks headquarters and blogging about their trip on the television company's social media channels and website.

"I am enrolled to study film and sociology at Auckland University this year to build the skill base, but a kick-start by something like this would be incredible.

"It opens a door basically and could lead to anything."


Her dedication to travel and love of film has paid off, with the bubbly redhead making it to the top 25 from a list of 100 finalists.

To get to this spot, Simms had to enter two travel photos and videos showing why she should be the Discovery intern and what her top tip for travelling is.

In Simms' first video she explains that she loves to explore new places, meet new people, get out of her comfort zone and thrives on challenging herself.

"I'm just a young Kiwi girl head over heels obsessed with our beautiful planet and what I am most passionate about is sharing that excitement through storytelling."

Her top tip for travelling in her second video is to cast aside any expectations and grab every opportunity as it comes, be ready for anything and keep your mind open.

She said the best parts of a trip are the ones that take you by surprise; including facing one of her biggest fears and going scuba diving in Egypt, or being invited to hike up Mount Sinai at night to watch the sunrise from the summit.

Simms has received an "all clear" that her tumour was benign and said it was a huge relief to be able to return home declared healthy.

"Having this competition to focus on was so important to me during my health scare and has inspired me to give everything in life my best shot," she said.

From the 25 finalists, only five will progress to the final interview stage, with selection coming down to a public vote.

To support Simms through to the next round of the competition go to her profile online.