Travel Consultant

Girl Did Good - Life After Lessons

Name: Cassie

Job Title: Travel Consultant, Adventure Enthusiast, Brightsider.

What exactly is that?

Right now, it means I book business travel for corporate executives. Usually, it means I get to talk to people about what their dream holiday would be, then using my extensive knowledge from personal experience and study I get to create an itinerary for them to enjoy.

How did you get there?

In Australia we study high school years 7-12. Once you finish year 10 the other 2 years are not compulsory (unless your parents say so) I finished year 12 in 2003 at a creative arts high school. The subjects I studied for the last 2 years luckily for me included a chosen elective. I chose travel and tourism.

In my life up to this point I had only ever dreamed of traveling, yet I was still keen to learn all about the industry. Upon finishing high school I decided to continue my degree but this wasn’t at university – nothing there interested me, not to mention the amount of money is costs! I finished another 2 years of my Travel and Tourism degree at TAFE. This is a further education facility in Australia that offers all sorts of courses, with more interaction, more hands on work experience in your chosen field and lesser fees.

Once I was done, I landed a job at a wholesale travel company and my whole role was to print and organise the documentation (boring). I worked my way up in this company to become a reservations control manager over a couple of years, but always felt like this wasn’t right for me. So I decided to put my dreams into action and leave the country.

At 23 years old, having only been out of Australia a couple of times on short holidays, I applied for a working holiday visa, got a job solely through research and email and moved to Japan. I did not speak Japanese, and I didn’t know a single person. I rolled up to Sydney airport with an oversized suitcase, a snowboard bag and a huge backpack with my life packed into them and promptly burst into hysterical tears. If it wasn’t for my Mum and Dad I never would have made it onto the plane! I lived in the Japanese Alps for 6 months, learned to have a good conversation in Japanese with the amazing local snowboarders, ate heaps of sushi and made some great new friends. After this I backpacked through South East Asia for 4 months, again technically by myself until I met a group of English / Irish/Norwegian/ Danish backpackers who became like a little family to me.

Upon returning home after all this time away I found that I had changed and grown so much without realising it, and was instantly bored and hungry for more travel. So I applied for another working holiday visa, this time to Canada. I moved to Whistler, this time with a huge group of people I already knew who were living there. I spend the better part of 2 years working in a restaurant, not worrying about a career, snowboarding during the day and partying at night and taking roadtrips throughout Canada on my very VERY minimal salary.

Moving home at the end of this time I decided to take a leap and apply for a job at Flight Centre. Sales jobs had never interested me, but the company itself did. They don’t require any previous job experience, or any further education as long as you finished high school and this really appealed to me. Once I started there I knew I’d found my niche!

I worked at Flight Centre for four years thankfully FINALLY paying off all my debt (don’t think that all the above travel comes without a price) then moved to London with my partner, landing a job at American Express Business travel. This is currently where I am, spending all my money traveling Europe while working the weeks away in one of the biggest and most interesting cities in the world. When I return to Australia I plan to slot right back into my position at Flight Centre and kind of can’t wait!

Describe a typical day for you:

In London, I wake up to my fiancé’s alarm going off, or my room mate loudly going through the fridge. I’ve prepared my breakfast and lunch the night before (because who wants to do that in the morning) so I get dressed grab my food shove it in my backpack and mentally prepare for the 1 hour commute to work. I get 2 tubes, and generally try to ignore everyone and everything. This is a common trait of London :). I grab my coffee from the friendly French guy I chat to each morning then settle into my window seat overlooking the Billingsgate Fish markets. After work I do that same commute home, if it’s my turn to cook then I struggle through that (not great in the kitchen). Most nights I will either go for a jog along the Thames or attend a Yoga class. Then I watch Netflix, prepare my breakfast and lunch for the next day, wind down with a shower and hit the sack. In Australia, I wake up to the sound of the ocean and stupidly loud birds, get up and go for a morning jog then I’m able to walk to work. I spend 9 hours at work sometimes not even going outside until I’m done! After work I walk home, or walk to any of my friends houses, grab some dinner or in summer go for an after work swim. I watch less TV in Australia and also probably get more sleep 🙂 – 2 very different lifestyles!

What is the best thing about what you do?

I consider myself a retail travel agent at heart, so the best thing about that is helping people make sense of and plan their dream holiday. Which sounds really cliché but it really is! When you can impart your knowledge of a foreign place to someone who will be visiting it for the first time, whether it be directions from the airport or the best coffee shop, and it helps them have as good a time as you did there. That’s pretty special!

What’s the one thing you would change if you could?

I would have enforced lunch breaks. Travel Agents work mostly on commission so taking any time out of the office can be seen as a decrease in the money you earn. BUT – If you’re more focused on the quality of your work rather than the quantity you churn out then that helps.

What did you want to do for a living when you were younger?

Lots of things! I worked at a bakery, I worked at an ice cream shop, and my favourite I taught little kids how to swim.

Tell us about one thing you were insecure about when you were younger:

I had a great group of friends, but I was always the little chubby tom boy one. I pretended I didn’t care but even into my 20’s I was still the last one to take my shirt off at the beach. I guess growing up you realise there are much more important things than being skinny, and also that everyone has insecurities and they’re so focused on their own that they don’t even see what you consider to be your flaws.

What advice would you have given yourself at 18 if you could?

Don’t worry so much about what other people think, don’t worry at ALL if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, and LISTEN to your parents even though they’re extremely annoying.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

Find new things to do in whatever city I’m in, be outside, catch up with friends.

What’s the title of the last book you read?

The first fifteen lives of Harry August (amazing)

Tell us one beauty tip you have learned:

Salt Water makes your skin lovely, and coconut oil makes your hair shiny – I’m sure everyone knows these!

Share one money tip you have learned:

Well there’s the catch. When it comes to money, I’m of the mind that you can always make more, and you make it to spend it. So that’s what you should do.

Share with us one life lesson:

One? Too hard! Hmmm…You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll make bad decisions. But there’s always a way to fix things so they turn out even better when you began. You just need to choose to have the right attitude.

Tell us about your favourite recent purchase of £25 or under:

Most of my purchases are under £25 and most of them are food. The last non-food item I bought was a foam roller which I simultaneously love and hate. It’s good for tight muscles but it hurts!

Where can people find you for more info? or you can following my instagram @cassfranks

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