What would possess me, a seemingly sensible, well-paid public servant to throw in the towel and take to the road with a new business venture?
Founding Welcome Tours means coming full career circle for me. As a teenager I studied at polytech with the aim of becoming a tour operator. A placement with sightseeing legend Wally Hammond introduced me to a lasting friend and mentor. However in typical Kiwi style, I headed overseas in my early 20’s for an OE and then to Victoria University to do further study. From there, I found my way into various public service roles. The jobs were interesting and challenging and I gave my all, but come mid-2016 I was ready for a change. At this point I took time out to have a serious think about how I want to spend the next 20-odd working years that I hope to have left ahead of me.
So what did I do? I took a trip to San Francisco and Las Vegas with my Mum. Mum had been wanting to visit my sister in the States for years, and the trip meant the world to her. Because I took care of the arrangements, Mum could just kick back and have a ball.
Planning the trip was a pleasure. In fact organising holidays, whether extended overseas adventures or quiet mid-winter weekenders, is one of my favourite pastimes. I enjoy the planning and anticipation almost as much as the holiday experience itself.
My love of travel has taken me across the globe – relaxing on Pacific islands, partying in Panama, nannying in the French Alps, sightseeing in Shanghai… Each time I venture away from home and have these amazing experiences, I am reminded of what a special place New Zealand is. There are so many magical sights and great experiences right here at home – with language we understand, a currency we know, a timezone we’re attuned to and great people to boot!
I want to get out there and experience more of New Zealand myself. It’s time for me to get out from behind a desk and go and meet characters with crazy hobbies, get to know our plants and birds, understand where my food comes from, and have lots of FUN!!
Having said that, starting a business from scratch is no mean feat. Finding out that I could come back to Vic Careers for an appointment after all these years was a bonus. I got great advice on starting my own business from one of the careers advisors and I left the meeting with a list of resources to help me get underway, including this handout: Starting Your Own Business.
My change from public servant to tour operator/entrepreneur/holiday-maker extraordinaire has nothing to do with any kind of crisis and everything to do with opportunity and living a dream! I figure I’ve hit on a win-win situation. I get to do what I love and my guests get to reap the benefits. Bring it on!