This year marks my official 5 year anniversary of working in the travel industry after leaving my job in television and media production. I’ve worn many different hats in this industry from Social Media Strategist and Coordinator, to Content Marketing Manager, to on-air personality, to event organizer, and even a co-founder.
It’s been a wild ride that’s taken me around the world (literally), and has taught me many lessons along the way.
Feeling a bit nostalgic this week, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned, and give others a little taste of what it’s really like to work in the travel industry. Without further adieu, I give you five things I’ve learned from working in travel over the past five years:
1. Airplanes make the best offices
I love being able to board a flight, open my laptop or notebook and just ‘get shit done’ with little to no distractions. Despite the fact that most planes have WIFI now, I usually opt to stay offline and allow myself to think, write, brainstorm, and finish projects while admiring the view above the clouds outside my window. Plus, the food and drinks come to YOU. What more could you ask for?
2. Packing is not worth stressing over
I can confidently say that at this point in my career, I can pack everything I need for a trip (business or pleasure) into a carry-on bag and quite frankly, I’ve mastered it. I’ve also been in situations where I’ve had less than 20 minutes to pack and be out the door, and it really puts things into perspective for you; that we really don’t need a lot of ‘things’ in order to travel. Other than a passport, credit card and a smartphone, everything else can be figured out in destination if you really need it to be. Oh, and getting a Nexus card helps you whip through security in no time.
3. Humanity is more trustworthy than we give it credit for
I went to Egypt after the revolution, Turkey after the riots, and many other destinations that were deemed ‘dangerous’ to travellers. You know what I was met with? Warm smiles, welcoming people, and beautiful landscapes I thought only existed in fairytales.
4. The People are Awesome
Working in travel has allowed me to experience a number of press trips and FAM trips (also known as ‘Familiarization trips’) where I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world, with very diverse jobs in the industry. From gifted photographers to talented writers, each person has such a unique story about how they ended up working in travel, and I’ve learned that a certain type of person chooses to work in this particular industry. For the most part, they are very open-minded, fun to travel with, and always willing to sacrifice a bit of sleep for the sake of a good night out ;)
5. Money does not buy happiness
I’ve been to some of the poorest shanty towns in the world, and I’ve never seen people so happy and full of life. I’ve also discovered the reality that working in travel is not always the best paying job in the world, but it leaves you rich in many other ways. Although I could have easily walked away from it for other jobs with a much larger salary, I’ve realized that I don’t want to live a life of excess. I just want to have enough money to have genuine experiences, enough food to nourish my body, and a place to rest my head at night. The happiest days of my travel career are the moments that you can’t put a price tag on; it’s the late night talks with a local, a hug from a child, learning a new language, cooking a local dish, and watching the sun rise or set in a foreign place.
Most people tell me I have the best job in the world. And in a way, I have to agree. But I’ve also had to make some sacrifices for it too. Working in travel sometimes means missing weddings, birthdays, and even funerals. It’s been difficult to manage relationships and friendships, and sometimes it can be lonely.
Some days are long, and full of delays or jet lag, yet others are incredibly wholesome and fulfilling. I’ve been able to check off bucketlist items, meet amazing people, but most of all, learn about myself in the process.
You see, the thing about travel is that you never come back the same person.
Every place you visit, every person you meet, plays a character or setting in the story of your life. Some chapters happen faster than you hoped they would, and others seem to go on for what seems like an eternity. But every single moment that happens, reminds me that I am human, and I am so goddamn happy to be able to put myself out there and let the universe work it’s wonderful magic.
So here’s to the next chapter… wherever in the world it may take me.