With 25+ years of travel experience, Donelle started her business
*Covid has changed the world and the way we work and live. Lockdown showed Donelle just how much she loved working from home. It gave her a taste of some newfound freedom and flexibility. *
This got Donelle thinking, about starting her own travel business. Donelle has joined Travel Counsellors and has just completed her 2-week induction training online.
We caught up with Donelle to learn more about her journey in becoming a Travel Counsellor franchisee.
What is your background and where did you work before becoming a Travel Counsellor?
My first job after leaving school was at the Standard Bank, Harare, Zimbabwe. Thereafter I did a short spell with what was then known as Air Rhodesia. I later joined Musgrove and Watson as a junior travel consultant. 2 children later and a move to South Africa Donelle joined a travel group in East London where she worked for them for 25 odd years.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My husband and I have 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren. We all live in East London, so we are so fortunate that we can share in each other's day to day lives. We can enjoy the grand children's birthdays, school events, sports matches, concerts etc. There are some beautiful hidden gems along the coast from East London and we often take scenic drives. One of our favourite places is Haga Haga, not even a 50-minute drive away.
Internationally, I have been so fortunate to have travelled to many foreign countries like Jamaica, Barbados, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, to name but a few.
What does becoming a Travel Counsellor mean to you?
Having spent so much time at home at the start of the covid pandemic, I began to appreciate how wonderful working from home could be, and how much I love it. I know 3 people who had joined Travel Counsellors and they all said that it was the best move ever. I feel that as a Travel Counsellor I am going to be happier and stronger as a person, all this with good family support and incredible support from Travel Counsellors.
What motivated you to start your own travel business?
During lockdown, my income became very lean as travel took a long time to recover. When it started showing signs of a good recovery, I had to make a difficult decision to leave the comfort of my former employer. In starting my own travel business it would be all mine and I knew that I would get out of it what I put into it.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor?
I am looking forward to welcoming brand new clients, to meeting the other Travel Counsellors, who perhaps had a similar background to me and to making new friends. I know that this change will be good for me and I am looking forward to the personal growth and confidence that it will bring.
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones that you would like to achieve in your first year?
I am hoping to grow an international client base. I know that as my business grows that it will be evidence that I made the right move. I am looking forward to being more comfortable again.
What do you love most about working in the travel industry?
I love engaging with people from all walks of life. I love packaging trips for my customers and then hearing on their return, how wonderful their trip was.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
This is a difficult one, as on each trip that I have been on, I often hear myself saying "I could live here! I would love to go back to the Seychelles as there was something magical there. Certain parts reminded me of Malawi, where I spent 4 years whilst growing up. I think Alaska would be quite literally, breathtaking!
Can you relate to Donelle's journey? Do you have years of experience working in travel but for someone else? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be your own boss and to run your own business? The world has changed during Covid and now could be time for you to make some changes, we would love the opportunity to chat with you.