confessions of a travel agent

No, I’m not going to get too controversial here (I value my employment)… But here are some things that run through my mind during a typical work day, and some nasty habits I have developed.

Every morning I walk in and can’t figure out where to start. I’m usually completely overwhelmed. I constantly work to improve my time management and be more efficient, but things just keep getting added to the pile…
Ummm… What? Yep, I do. In the morning, I repeat little mantras like “Amelia, you are good at your job” and “no-one’s dead or in a Polish prison” (both of these things have happened before) and during the day sometimes I take five to sit in the bathroom and say “Amelia, you’re half way through the day, good work” or “you know, you could try looking at the problem this way…”
Yes hello, did I just book your holiday? Well, I probably had dreams about doing so. Not the fun kind, more like the kind where you wake up at 3am freaking out about some minor detail.
I just can’t handle the pressure. What if I screw it up? (Very unlikely, might I add) 
I hate it when clients don’t want to tell me about their holiday when they get back. It makes me sad. I care about all of my clients and I want to know they had the best time, or failing that, I want feedback. I love having a laugh with my clients and I want them to know I have their back. I know I shouldn’t, but I take each individual file pretty personally.
A complete overshare, sorry. Sometimes though a really stressful situation must resolve itself…
Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be if you had my job. You would be about as frustrated as I am. The worst one? I have clients about to do the same trip I’m doing for my honeymoon. I literally booked my honeymoon for them. Ummm yeah, I’m jealous of them because they are about to leave and I have to wait months. 
Speaks for itself really.

how I nearly got banned from the river

Murray River in flood, Teal Flat, South Australia

My partner’s family have a property at Teal Flat, which is right on the Murray about an hour and a half from Adelaide. We head up there quite a lot because it’s nice after a busy week to feel we “got out of the city”, especially because we’re saving up for the wedding and honeymoon so we haven’t been on a proper holiday for a while.

Teal Flat is a private gated community type of set up; it has an Association which set the rules you need to follow if you build a house and spend time there. It keeps things nice and orderly so everyone can have a good time. Most people who have places here come up on the weekends but there are a few (like my future in laws) who live here permanently.

Last weekend, Logan decided it would be a great idea if I hopped on the ride on lawnmower and took it for a spin. I said no, of course, because bad things tend to happen when I get involved with heavy machinery. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fun!” he says (famous last words). It was decided that I would sit on the seat and my foot would control the throttle, while he stood on one side and did all the steering… seems logical.

So off we went to mow the lawn. Once we had done our own lawn, we went across the road to mow the common land because we’re such great citizens and we were having way too much fun. We were having a great laugh, making jokes about how “the couple who mows together stays together” until mister steered too close to a small tree. “Stop!!!” he yelled, but of course by this stage I had completely forgotten I actually had my foot on the throttle and he had stopped steering because he thought I would stop the mower. We literally went straight over the top of this poor tree.

Quick! we thought. We can put this tree back together before anyone sees (?!) but then we heard someone yell “now you’re in trouble!”… It was Logan’s mum, standing with the head of the Association (who happens to be very fond of those trees) and his wife. We found half the stake to tie the tree to (the other half went through the mover, and thank God the mower was okay) and destroyed the rest of the evidence. Still… I suddenly feel much less welcome.

there’s more to life than travel

I’ve been doing some thinking.

About this age (oooh, the big quarter-century!) we start growing up, really getting to know ourselves, forging careers, pairing off, making big commitments and setting ourselves up for the rest of our lives. People follow their own paths and make different decisions, and of course have different priorities. Mostly, though, lives tend to follow some sort of pattern: school/work/partner/marriage/house/kids. Me, I’m all for the pattern. I’m not one for pushing envelopes. But times change and “the done thing” evolves.

A generation ago, you left school or uni and got a job and bought a house and settled down. You had kids and worked hard. These things were measures not only of success but of the calibre of person you were, and social status was gained by achieving these milestones. These days I feel like ticking off a list of countries is where the social status comes from. Getting married, buying a house, having kids are all postponed because of the idea we have to “live our lives” before settling down (with the implication that once you settle down, your life is over).

What’s frustrating me at the moment is the idea that traditional pursuits are not worthy these days; that we’re not living our lives to the fullest if we’re not spending half of them on planes. I’m sick of being told by my peers that I’m “too young to be settling down” when the world is out there waiting for me. It’s bullshit.

Why are travelling and having a family mutually exclusive? Why can’t we enjoy our youth while still setting ourselves up for the future? And can somebody PLEASE tell me why having kids means putting my life on hold? Last time I checked, children added a wonderful new dimension to life, and the best parents were the ones excited about having children.

Life is life. It takes everyone in different directions. But lets stop the judgement and start supporting each other because hey, next time life hands you a lemon you might need your friends to help you make lemonade.

quarter life crisis

After doing the shark cage dive in May, a certain mister hasn’t given up hope that I might some day become a big thrill-seeker like he is. It won’t happen. However, I’m at a point where I’ve started to realise I need to push myself a bit further out of my comfort zone. All of a sudden the idea of “growing up” has started to scare me – it’s happening so fast! Is this a quarter life crisis???

Anyway, here’s a list of things I’ve always wanted to try, plus a couple I have only just heard of but am really excited by.

1. Shotover jet, New Zealand (would we call this a soft launch?)

2. Hot air balloon over the “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia, Turkey

3. Playing Bossaball on a tropical beach somewhere… Has it hit Rio yet? I’m thinking it could work.

4. Take part in the cheese rolling festival in Gloucester, England. I love cheese!

5. Swim in the Dead Sea

6. Take part in the Rickshaw Run, India (see here, and if you’re keen to join me, let me know)

7. Hike Torres Del Paine, Chile

Torres del Paine, Chile
Image courtesy of

still waters run deep

The phrase “still waters run deep” is meant to mean that a person should beware the strong, silent type. Literally, it has its origins in the idea of crossing a river; where the river makes a lot of noise, it is shallow and easy to cross because the water is flowing across rocks, whereas deep water makes no noise and therefore presents a lot of danger for those wishing to cross. This Latin proverb is used to caution against those who keep to themselves, lest they be plotting against you.

As part of the blog challenge, I was invited to think about whether my star sign really represents me, and my thoughts on astrology as a whole. When I looked up the synopsis of my sign, Scorpio, (see here for the description) the phrase “still waters run deep” was brought to light. Did this mean I’m a dangerous person? Someone who’s not very nice?
As a disclaimer, it’s not something I really believe in, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find it completely fascinating. One thing I absolutely love about the world and the people in it is the way different cultures have different ways of looking at things.
Here’s my list of traits identified as being typically “Scorpio” that I agree and disagree with:
  • “The Scorpio’s emotions are repressed, kept undercover”: I completely disagree with this as I am renowned for wearing my heart on my sleeve. I find it very hard to control this and it sometimes causes me problems
  • “Scorpios can lose their temper when someone gets their way”: true. I hate losing an argument, and I am prone to jealousy when someone gets what I want, especially when I perceive them to have won it easily where I have worked hard. It’s definitely something I work on.
  • “They can take an insignificant matter and turn it into a huge slight”: true again, I’m ashamed to say. I over think things and before you know it, a small issue has become a massive deal.
  • “Determined and loyal”: absolutely. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for the ones I love.
  • “Scorpios love competition”: yes and no. I hate competition because I hate conflict and I hate losing. However, I absolutely thrive when I win. (Does this mean I’m a sore loser?) BUT:
  • “They’ve got to have an adversary”: I hate it, but I have to admit to this one. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have one. Funnily enough though, several of these (but by no means all!) have wound up being counted amongst my closest friends.
  • “Scorpios… are caring and devoted with their lovers, even if they do hold on a bit tight”: true. I always say Fiance is the love of my life, and I’m counting down the days (126 to be exact) until I’m his wife. The love I feel for him is extremely intense (another Scorpio trait, apparently). I can see where the ‘holding on a bit tight’ comes from and luckily I am accepted warts and all because I can get a little insecure sometimes.
Overall, I think the general description of Scorpios is somewhat accurate, but every person is unique and I don’t think everyone born late October/early November can fit nicely into this package. The way you were brought up and the things you experienced play a major part in shaping the way you deal with life.
However, I thought for posterity/fun I would have a look at the Chinese zodiac (I was born in the year of the Dragon) to see if there were any matches (description here):
  • “They hate hypocrisy, gossip and slander”… Ummm….. I’m a terrible gossip! But I do hate hypocrisy and I don’t like it when people tell lies about each other. Gossip is okay until it becomes malicious.
  • “Hate to be used or controlled by others”: very true. But I would be surprised if lots of people, Dragon or not, said this was okay.
  • “Arrogant and impatient”: Arrogant, no. Impatient, definitely!
  • “Unable to control their moods very well”: this is unfortunately very, very true. Sometimes I get disappointed and get into a real funk I can’t escape from. The littlest thing can flip my mood completely – good or bad. It’s also really obvious when it happens.
  • “They may criticise others for their inefficiency at work”: Yep, this is true. I hate inefficiency, it’s so frustrating. Although I try not to criticise rather than coach where required (I think).
Which other forms of Astrology are there? Do the descriptions of your sign accurately reflect your personality?


So, I have caved and unofficially signed up for a “31-day-blog-challenge”. I haven’t done one of these before but I’m hoping it will force me to post more frequently. Today’s topic (technically day two’s but I’m gonna play fast and loose with the rules, baby) is “How I’ve Changed in the Past Two Years”… controversial! You can find the lovely Amy’s blog here (the challenge was her idea). Here we go:

1. I’ve grown the hell up.

I’ve fallen in love with a guy, moved in with him, got engaged, planned a wedding and generally experienced the highs and lows of what it means to be committed to another person – for life. I’ve also changed my priorities when it comes to the life I want to live. I’ve made some big sacrifices in the short-term in favour of happiness in the long-term. I also did a few fun grown-up things like buy a fancy new car, fly business class to the other side of the world and raise a puppy.

2. I’ve seen how “the other half” live.

I spent time in South Africa and went to a township where I saw first-hand what life is like living in a shanty-town. It was a reality check to understand that when I come home after a day working in my safe, OHS-compliant workplace and walk into my solid brick house, turn on the lights and my heater or air-conditioner, I am well ahead of the majority of the world. But what I also saw was a sense of love and community; when there is precious little to go around human nature dictates we stick together. I don’t even know my neighbours but in the townships people form strong bonds.

3. I’ve gained, and lost, a lot of weight, and learned how to treat myself better.

When I first left uni (just after I got a new boyfriend) I was reasonably slim having recently lost a bit of weight. However, when I started my new job in travel I sat on my ass all day – something I wasn’t used to. The stress of this job was something I wasn’t prepared for and I found myself skipping lunch and eating lots of chocolate! In the lead up to the wedding, I’ve managed to lose about twelve kilos and I’m still going; more importantly I’ve realised I need to be healthy and happy within myself to be a good wife and, eventually, a good mum.

4. I got to know myself again

For a while I forgot who I was. I saw myself in terms of comparisons with others: who I was didn’t matter as much as whether I was bigger or smaller, smarter or dumber, prettier or uglier or whatever than someone else. Now, I remember exactly who I am: an intelligent, passionate, driven young woman who has so many good opportunities ahead. I’ve remembered what I have to offer the world and finally understood why I’m loved by the important people in my life.

5. I’ve learned the mantra “no man is an island”

I’ve finally worked out that it’s okay to rely on others. For so long I didn’t want to open myself up completely; I felt a need to be strong and overly independent. Now I know the value of teamwork and I’m happier because I can share my highs and lows with someone who can do the same with me. I’m a much more sane person for it!

So there you go, that’s my list. How have you changed in the last two years?

Hanging with the locals, Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa