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The arrival of the new year is always a time of reflection for everyone. We look back on the past year and use hindsight to plan our hopes and changes for the fresh year ahead. The new year also happens to coincide with my work anniversary, three years at ROL Cruise this January. It was a dark, wet and dreary winter in Colchester, the home of our headquarters, when I embarked upon my new adventure. I never could have imagined back then what was in store for me.
 
I joked to family and friends last summer that I would be living in a cloud of jetlag until Christmas considering my travel schedule for the latter part of the year. Combined with the first half, 2016 has been one of my most travelled years to date. Four trips to Sydney, totalling seven weeks there. Five weeks in Honolulu, two weeks in Auckland, a weekend in the south of France, one week in Venice, nine days in New York, four days in Rome and one week in Singapore. Sounds like a dream, right? I’m not even going to pretend that it's not. I would even venture as far to suggest I probably have one of the best jobs in the world.
 
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my most recent trip to Sydney. The far-flung land down under, to which most people undertake the mammoth journey and experience a once-in-a-lifetime visit to all the wonders it beholds. It's one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it takes your breath away when you fly over the Opera House as you begin your descent. To me, this view has become very familiar, as have all the other attractions of this sprawling city, along with its welcoming and laid-back residents.
 
This visit was my fourth in twelve months. As I recall the fun and sunny times I had there exploring with my colleagues and helping our guests, I really do feel so lucky and remind myself to never become blasé about such feelings and experiences. I must never take these memories for granted and feel compelled to share some of them. 
 
Travel is my life. Working in the travel industry for almost 25 years, on land and at sea, I’ve covered a fair amount of ground: 70 countries and 19 island nations to be precise. It's a drug and there is no cure for the addiction. The passion to see more only gets bigger and the want and need to be away from home to explore, to learn, to experience the world is irrepressible. 
 
After leaving my twelve year-long cruise ship career behind in 2013 to try and settle into what non-travel people refer to as 'the real world', I feel extremely fortunate to have found my current role. It gives me the perfect balance of UK home life and travelling the world. 
 
As well as holidays on most cruise lines, ROL Cruise offer some wonderful exclusive tailor-made tours. They involve an extension to the holiday - pre-cruise, post-cruise or even both. City stays, safaris and unique train journeys are just a few of the options. My role as one of the company's Tour Ambassadors is to oversee the smooth running of the logistics for our groups on their pre- and/or post-cruise sectors of their tours. Above all, we are sent to help our loyal customers have a great time and ensure that they really do ‘experience the difference’. 
 
It’s easy to take things for granted, even when you do live the most charmed life. Luckily, every now and then, life sends us a little ‘wow’ moment which makes us sit up and think how fortunate we are. One of those moments for me came almost two years ago at a little-known sporting event known as the Monaco Grand Prix.

[to be continued…]

Check back next Friday for the next part of Gillian’s Diary Of A Tour Ambassador series

About Gillian

Hailing from sleepy Northumberland, Gillian Lowes realised her passion for travel at a young age and always dreamt of glamourous worldwide adventures. Having worked in a variety of travel roles over the years – including as a Front Office and Operations Manager aboard a cruise ship – Gill became an ROL Tour Ambassador back in 2013. At the last count, Gill has visited over 70 countries!
 

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