Andrea here is a Business Travel Consultant, who got into the industry after she went travelling. She went backpacking with a friend around Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South America. Here is what she got up to:
So when did you go travelling and where did you start? 2009 in India
Why did you decide to go travelling?
Once I finished Uni, I carried on working at the estate agency where I worked part-time and I did not want to do that forever, it was quite boring! I’d been to Peru previously for a 3 week break and knew I wanted to see more places without having to come back to the UK after. I started saving and planning straight away!
What were your expectations before you left?
I expected not to be able to eat good food on a budget, which is totally false in Asia!! Best meals for £1! Also didn’t think I’d have as much access to Internet, phone etc. My best mate still says it was like I didn’t actually go away for that long as we were able to Skype, message, Facebook whenever, but I thought I would literally speak to people when I got to Australia 6 months in, rather than Internet cafe’s in India with camels walking past!
I expected it to be amazing though and it definitely was one of the best things I’ve done.
‘…it worked out about £1 for a cocktail!!’
You worked abroad, what was your job?
I worked at a hostel called Loki in Mancora, Peru. It is a chain of backpacker hostels in South America and I worked behind the bar and serving food.
I had to brush up on my Spanish!
Was this paid for or free board?
The payment was free board and one meal a day free, plus 70% off food and drink. I remember it was 70% as it worked out about £1 for a cocktail!!
How did you find work, was it challenging?
For me the work came from staying at the hostel and wanting to stay longer, it was the only way to afford it. The manager only employed back packers! I didn’t look for any paid work as didn’t have the visa.
What advice would you give to people looking for work abroad?
Make sure you have a visa!
Be flexible and accept what you might not have considered in the UK, money is money, it’s not forever and it’ll be a fun experience!
‘Wrong bus, wrong train, losing my passport as I’m about to board a flight…’
What was your most memorable moment?
Not to be too cheesy, but having the chance to meet my Australian family I’ve been in touch with my whole life but never met was amazing. Plus they really looked after us and we needed it after 6 months roughing it!!!!
Was there any scary moments?
Yes!!!! Wrong bus, wrong train, losing my passport as I’m about to board a flight (I had to alert the whole airport…) riding on the back of a motorbike with people we had just met, border crossings at night in South America….the list goes on..!!
Haha! If you were to go travelling again, what would you do this time then?
I would save more or do less. We had to skip some things due to budget and not sure I’ll ever go back to certain areas which is a shame. We got to see 15 counties, but we could have done less of them and seen more in each one!
Any other notes you want to add?
As a final note I would say try and at least learn please/thank you /hello and goodbye in each language if you can as it goes a long way. It also usually means when you are doing your best sign language to ask for everything else, you’re more likely to get someone to help you!