All About Judith
I was always destined for a life of travel, from the day I was born! Born in Bandung, West Java, I soon became accustomed to being the odd one out – the only white, freckled kid in a class of 52 Indonesians! I lived between Bandung and London until I was 14. In London I was ‘the Kiwi from Indonesia’ and then on my return to New Zealand, I had picked up a London lilt.
I have fond childhood memories of holidays in Bali, visiting Tintagel to see the ruins of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and listening to my parents talk about Van Gogh’s paintings in the art galleries of Amsterdam.
At university, I studied German and Indonesian – it seemed like a good idea at the time! It did lead to my first job, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. I soon found the civil service was not for me!
My first foray to the travel Industry was with a small newly established company called Flight Centre. I worked at Shore City Flight Centre in Takapuna, and 14 months later I was managing Dunedin Flight Centre, then moved on to The Palms and Riccarton Road. Almost 9 years later, I applied to be a Qantas Sales Rep for the Christchurch region. I was then offered a National Account Manager role at Flight Centre where I stayed for a decade! I really find this chequered background of being a retail consultant, manager, airline rep, in various parts of the country, has given me a really solid background. I can relate to many different perspectives!
My Travel Style
From being Wesley Jnr, just tagging along wherever my parents went, I progressed to being a backpacker, taking 3 month jaunts from time to time, rather than the Big OE. I did however live in Heidelberg, Germany for a winter semester at the University of Heidelberg. The last big trip I did was 5 years ago to Mongolia for a month. I had always wanted to stay in a yurt, had heard Mongolian throat-singing and seen the amazing spectacle of Nadaam Festival in documentaries. In Mongolia I helped build a house there through Habitat for Humanity and then travelled around in an old Russian version of the combi van. Happy days!
My trips have often been based on wanting to see or do something specific or if I have been inspired by a particular event. I loved rock-climbing in Arapiles in Victoria, diving the pristine waters in Papua New Guinea and Nepal was my mecca as I had tramped in NZ for a long time. When I was into ballroom dancing, I just had to go to Blackpool Tower. Each trip has a different purpose whether to relax, discover or just enjoy the ride.
I’ve recently returned from Peru and Canada. I loved refreshing my knowledge on Peru! (my last trip there was trekking the Inca trail 20 years ago). What a wonderful way to make the journey by train and essentially arrive at Machu Picchu fresh and not needing a bath!
What’s my Current Role?
I often describe my role as:
- Carrying things – I can’t tell you how many brochures, banners and flyers I have lugged around to evenings or expos!
2. Acting up! You need to keep an audience entertained during presentations – if you haven’t witnessed my re-enactment of a Blue Footed Booby mating ritual you haven’t lived!
On a more serious note, I think my Number One role is to inspire. To inspire people to travel, and of course to inspire people to book with World Journeys. This takes the form of training, speaking from personal experience, allaying fears, inspiring people to try new ideas or types of travel. It is so satisfying when someone says “You’ve inspired me” or “now I get it!” I also act as a facilitator or conduit between World Journeys and the agent whether a Head of Chain or newly minted consultant. The aim is to make it easy for people to deal with World Journeys. I aim to be as flexible as possible yet also very straightforward and up-front.
What I LOVE About My Job
I love the variety and always try to put in 100 percent plus a bit more! I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “You should be on stage”, “You should be a diplomat”, or “You’re like a dog with a bone…”. I always want to entertain and be unique in whatever I do. As many of you know I’m game to try anything from dressing up as Queen Elizabeth I to trampoline jumping for a 10th Birthday video and even escorting educational trips.
I can’t imagine a life without travel. I always find discovering other cultures so interesting – when we travel we come to realise we are actually all wanting the same things out of life. It has been a great ride so far and I can’t wait for more adventures – the world is one giant playground!
By Judith Wesley