After a 30 year career in the travel industry, 2020 and in particular, Covid- 19, changed the course of my life. For the first time in years, I had time on my hands, which made me remember so many good times travelling the world. These thoughts made me smile, at a time when there was little to smile about. As a result, I decided to learn how to create, design and develop a website to save these memories and share them for anyone who may just need to smile too. So I started to create Just One For The Road.
Boys Will Be Boys
I was born in Surrey, UK but have spent most of my life living in the county of West Sussex. As a little boy with a caravan in tow, my parents took my brother and me, during the heyday of the 70’s package holiday, to destinations in mainland Europe such as Spain or Yugoslavia. I even started blogging way back on a holiday to Yugoslavia in 1978. Despite having pretty bad asthma, my favourite memories from my school days revolved around sports as I represented Sussex county schools in football and rugby. I was always at my happiest on a football or a rugby pitch and like so many of us “veterans”, I miss those days. As a small kid when I wasn’t playing sports I loved to enjoy the outdoors, I was always fascinated with wildlife, I loved watching a storm from the safety of the porch or going to the zoo with my Dad. As I hit the terrible teens I was playing on my Spectrum 48k computer, listening to Radio Luxemburg, messing with a CB Radio, or listening to live music coming from across the fields and longing for the day I was old enough to be there.
The Early Career
With school days over there followed a brief stint at college before leaving in 1986 to start a job at Air UK Ltd, a small UK airline offering a range of domestic flights as well as some international routes to key European cities. My life in travel had truly begun! I stayed at Air UK for seven years working initially in the head office before two years working on the ticket desk at Gatwick airport primarily selling flight tickets to our Scottish friends in Glasgow and Edinburgh. During the ’80s and ’90s these were carefree days where everything I earned was spent on going out partying, doing up a VW Beetle, and therefore creating my love of road trips plus I enjoyed the occasional holiday but with budgets tight, it was to Europe and the UK only.
Life In Corsica In 1993 I joined a company called Independent Air Travel which was an air charter broker and a tour operator. It was this tour operating arm – Holiday Options – where I worked at the head office until an opportunity came about to move to Corsica as a resort manager. It was here that I set up a new company base at Figari airport in 1998. After returning back to the UK, I progressed through the ranks and ultimately became the Sales and Marketing Manager charged with spearheading the sales for a selection of specialist Mediterranean islands. As the years passed I was part of a team that then launched Croatia, Cape Verde, and a number of other niche destinations onto the UK holiday map. The late 1990s and early into the new millennium involved buying a house, playing golf, getting married, and having responsibilities. As far as travel was concerned I became more adventurous. I looked to travel further afield, Egypt, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Bosnia, the USA, and Canada as well as attending major sporting events where I cheered on my beloved England to anticipated glory but ultimately, in most cases, abject failure!
Tour Operating Days
From 2009, I spent 5 years working in central London as the Sales & Marketing Manager for the tour operator Balkan Holidays selling holidays to Eastern and Central Europe. For the past 5+ years and until Covid-19 tore the travel industry apart I was a Sales Manager for Beachcomber Tours – another specialist UK tour operator – this time for the Indian Ocean.
A Shot In The Dark In 2019 on a trip to the Rugby World Cup and after a night in a shot bar in downtown Hong Kong, I started to write a Facebook travel blog highlighting some stories from my incredible far east adventure. Rather surprisingly, it soon gained quite a following as I described my travels, a few schoolboy errors, and some ludicrous observations. Just a few months after returning home, Covid-19 broke and my life, like so many, took a whole new direction…