I made the move to Travel Nation in 2017 having spent the past 6 years managing a store for Virgin Holidays. I pretty much fell into the travel sector back in 2004 during my career with American Express.
My early life was spent on the south coast of England where I was raised in Shoreham-by-Sea. A lot of my time was spent playing sports and of course being by the coast, on the beach.
Before working in travel I knew it was where I would eventually end up having spent a lot of my younger years exploring the National parks of England and going on many European Holidays before going long haul to Canada and Australia. Now my holidays are filled with a combination of cities, nature and getting out into the local life of a country as well as experiencing the more traditional tourist hot spots, it’s a tricky task but one I love to keep trying.
Shoreham by Sea
On the football pitch or at ‘The Duke’ watching local bands and playing pool.
I spent 3 years managing a team in American Express Centurion Travel plus 18 months as a consultant at Flight Centre and 6 years managing a store for Virgin Holidays.
Having worked with the Indian Call centre team at Amex and spending time in Mumbai training new hires, I moved into managing the Centurion Travel department. After 3 years at Amex, I decided to get my working holiday visa for Australia where I travelled and worked for 2 years. On returning to the UK I worked as an Australian specialist at Flight Centre for 18 months before joining Virgin.
Paul has visited:
More often than not, watching sport.
It has to be either Ghostbusters (the original of course) or Back to the Future parts 1 & 2. I love my sports and am massive fan of Arsenal and the New York Yankees.
I really like Country music.
Retraining to work with dogs; I used to volunteer at the Dogs Trust and if I came into some money would love to go to college and university to study animal behaviour before working at a rehoming centre.
Colorado; I never thought I would find myself surrounded by such natural beauty, the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies, endless plains, streams, rivers and forests were breath-taking. Combining the scenery, nature and incredible food with some of the friendliest people I’ve met on my travels meant my time spent here was not nearly enough. I would love to go back and explore more of this must-see state.
I live out of my case; old habits die hard
America. I love the sport, the music, people and lifestyle, there’s so much to see and explore right on your door step. From the National parks, to the beaches, rivers and cities, but my top reason, the food! Plus my ultimate goal is to visit every major league baseball ground and national park in America whilst sampling all the different regional Barbeque flavours the country has to offer.
Southern Queensland Australia with my parents when I was 17; it was my first taste of long haul travel and I was hooked. We hired a car and went exploring. We saw some incredible beaches from Kirra, to Burleigh and up to Noosa, the rain forest, rivers and mountains, the sunrise from the top of Mt. Warning (the first place in Australia to see the sun), the animals and I met some amazing people there. However it was the freedom of getting in a car with no plans and seeing where we ended up that really inspired me for my big trip 10 years later.
Las Vegas; Innot Hot Springs, North Queensland, Australia; Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado.
The COMO Metropolitan Bangkok. This sleek, contemporary hotel is a sanctuary in the middle of one the world’s most crazy cities. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and unwind at their Shambala spa, or by taking a dip in their rooftop pool. Your evening starts by dining in their award winning restaurant before you finish the evening off with a perfectly crafted cocktail in the Met bar. Bliss.
Cape Tribulation, north Queensland, Australia - my partner and I spent a few days camping just behind the beach. I remember the first time we took a couple of camp chairs through the scrub to walk to the beach and as I cleared the tree line the view that greeted me was spectacular. Miles of long white sand, palm trees and crystal clear water, with not a soul in sight. Post card perfect. As you are unable to swim in the sea due to the local wildlife, we filled our days with coconut bowling, trying to find the elusive Cassowary (which I never did) and Crocodile spotting, before cooling off in one of the rainforests many swimming holes.
Not strictly a stamp, but my Australia working visa. The decision I made to take a career break was possibly the most difficult and easy one of my life. I will never forget the 2 years I spent there and the things I saw and experienced; from hot air ballooning to Scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef and ship wrecks. From learning to surf (badly) to cage diving with Great Whites and sky diving. We spent hours upon hours driving just to visit the walkabout Creek Motel. I also loved the Red Centre and staying underground at Coober Pedy on top of all the kind, funny, brilliant people I met and worked with all over the country.
People who load up their plates on the hotels included breakfast meaning others can’t have any, and then leave most of it.
New Orleans, Louisiana. The culture, history, music, carnivals and food has been enticing me all my life. Visiting this city is a must for me in the next 2 years.
On a train from Bangkok to Hua Hin we pulled in to a station and the locals came running up to the window to sell us some food. This lovely lady sold me these home cooked little round white balls that came in a clear plastic bag which you popped into your mouth in one go. When bitten into would exploded into a goo in your mouth. The taste is indescribable and to this day I do not know what they were but I didn’t want to upset her and said they were nice, she went away smiling whilst I ran to the toilet.
The best thing I have ever eaten was a steak in Townsville, Australia. It was about 7” round and 2” thick but you could cut it with paper, the flavour was incredible and it just melted in your mouth.
The worst has to be the hot chicken soup from a street seller in Ao Nang, Thailand. I made the mistake of saying I liked hot spicy food and the evil glint in his eye as he added a few spices and sauce to the mix should have been a warning but foolishly I tucked in regardless…I think I must have looked like a cartoon with steam coming out of my ears! I’ve learned from my mistake and when in Asia ask for things mild.
During my time with American Express I went to Mumbai for 9 weeks to assist with classroom training for a new hire intake who would answer the phone to our UK customers. A brilliant experience but wish I could have seen more of the country.
I spent 2 years travelling Australia during this time I worked in several different companies but my favourite job was by far the hardest, working in the sheds on a tomato farm in Bowen. The job was very physical and involved the cleaning, sorting and stacking of the loaded crates. My colleagues consisted of a scattering of English and Australian but were mainly Koreans who could not speak a word of English, many of whom became great friends.
The very first time I went to India was a massive shock to the system, there was such poverty found all over the country and right next door to the 5* hotel where we were staying. I couldn’t believe food was being thrown out when less than 2 minutes away people were struggling to feed themselves, it really opened my eyes and made me feel blessed for the life I have.
Landing back into London Heathrow in the middle of a cold, wet, October having returned from 2 years in Australia.
Las Vegas without a doubt.
English fish and chips, no other country does it like us.