Posts Tagged With: travel blog

How Travel Inspired Me To Change My Life

I trained to be a teacher back in 2012, but I am not a teacher – instead the power of travel pulled me away from the only job I thought I would ever do – and now I have qualified as a personal home-working travel counsellor. I love to travel and now I get to help others have amazing holidays as my job!

IMG_6319.JPGFinishing my PGCE (teaching qualification in the UK) back in the summer of 2012 was a real achievement. I won’t lie, the year had been the hardest of my life. There had been so many highs and lows, often in the same day, or even the same hour. Training to be a Secondary English teacher was such incredibly hard work and also so rewarding too. There were so many moments I loved — lessons that had gone really well, getting praise from fellow teachers, school trips, student achievements, making a positive difference to students’ lives, taking our year 9 girls on an adventure to Paris.

However, being a perfectionist I wanted every lesson to be good, to be amazing even, to be the best it could be. I wanted to do the best I could for every single child in that class. I didn’t want to cut corners, but the reality is teachers need to cut corners. In my opinion there aren’t enough hours in the day to do every single thing that is expected of teachers.

I started applying for jobs after finishing my qualification and for one reason or another I wasn’t getting them. Without sounding arrogant I knew I was a strong candidate (my previous pupils and teachers vouched for my excellent teaching style and aptitude for teaching) but somehow these jobs weren’t being offered to me.

I started to question myself, and I thought, I was so right for teaching. Yes it was hard, but I had felt I wanted it. But did I? Did I just think I wanted it? Maybe the alternative was just too scary, too unspecific, too unlike me? I had been sensible my whole life — reliable and trustworthy Nicola, always doing well at school and succeeding in everything I did. Teaching was just next on the list and I would soon be a teacher.

But then I stopped and I asked myself the most important question of all, was I truly truly passionate about it, deep in my heart? And my answer was no.

Maybe it was time to find another path, the path I was passionate about, and destined for.

I spoke to my sister (who was living in Australia) on the phone, and she asked me, somewhat out of the blue, if I could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Without hesitation I answered, Queenstown, in New Zealand.

Having been lucky enough to have travelled all over the world, this was the place that came to mind.

We had visited New Zealand twice before, once back in 2006 on a round the world trip and again in 2010 on our honeymoon. After two previous amazing trips I always felt like I had left part of my heart in New Zealand — and in Queenstown in particular. It had just never crossed my mind before to go back to live.

One thing led to another and the next thing I know I am suggesting to my husband John that we move to New Zealand to live for a year! Within a month we had booked our flights to leave a few months later and I started planning. We were going to have a 5-week holiday first before settling down somewhere we could get work. I loved planning our itinerary for the trip (I had spent the last 15 years planning and booking trips all over the world, including our honeymoon, as well as various trips for friends and family).

The time had soon come to leave the UK on a jet plane and not look back. Some might call the decision rash; I was turning my back on a teaching career after all, and after such a challenging year training to be a teacher, but it just felt right, really right.

IMG_0029.jpgWe had a really amazing first few months in New Zealand. It was during this time that I was inspired to set up my own business helping other people to have their own amazing travel adventures in New Zealand.

I got to work, a strong passion burned inside of me like never before, an entrepreneurial passion. It felt like, although it might sound cheesy to some, this is what I had been destined to do. Over the next few months I worked with branding and IT experts and a logo design company. I created a logo, wrote all the copy for and designed my own website, designed packages and services to offer my clients, collected feedback on my idea and website, set up a Facebook page, created a youtube video for my website, and much more. My business, and my passion – Blue Penguin Travel – was born.

For the next three years and a half years I was lucky enough to work with clients all over the world in helping them arrange bespoke itineraries for their trips around New Zealand – including a Christmas honeymoon. I loved working on their itineraries and being a part of their own life-changing travel adventures.

After living in New Zealand for a year we moved back to the UK in 2013 and the following year had a wonderful baby boy called Elliott (now 20 months old), who is just amazing – so sweet and cheeky and he fills my days with smiles and laughter.

Since having Elliott, and despite loving my business with a passion I have felt that I could do so much more. The idea of working as an independent travel agent is one I often thought about but had never made into a reality. I felt that if I did this then I would be able to not only plan trips for people, but book them too – with full financial protection behind me. This idea repeatedly came back to me – and so after much research I found the amazing Travel Counsellors. They provide the option to run your own business, using their own amazing support system (both in terms of their incredible IT system with access to all areas of travel, and their support teams).

Travel Counsellor’s focus is on personal tailor-made holidays for travellers — where we as travel counsellors get to know the client and tailor the holiday of their dreams just for them and will always go that extra mile. This ethos very much fitted with my own, and as a result I have qualified to work as an personal travel counsellor – where I can book any kind of trip anywhere in the world!

New Zealand, and travelling in general have changed me, inspired me and I’m excited for the future – I am ready to finally be who I am supposed to be.

This article was also feature on the Huffington Post.

Travel Counsellors imageI work as a personal travel counsellor and have over 15 years experience of planning and booking trips – including my own destination wedding to Lake Tahoe, California, and my round-the-world honeymoon. I have specialist experience in planning bespoke off-the-beaten-track New Zealand itineraries.

Take a look at my Travel Counsellors web page and Facebook page.

Categories: Huffington Post, New Zealand, Photographs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exciting new business expansion – my new venture as a travel counsellor!

Travel Counsellors imageI have some super exciting news. I have been lucky enough to work with clients all over the world through Blue Penguin Travel (my previous travel consultancy company which specialised in off-the-beaten-track bespoke itineraries in New Zealand) which has been brilliant but I have now decided to take the next step in my travel journey and I have completed my training to be a fully independent home-working travel agent for an amazing company called Travel Counsellors, which is a very exciting new venture for me.

Based from my home in Frome, Somerset in the UK I will now be able to plan/book holidays anywhere in the world for global clients (including of course those wishing to travel to New Zealand as I have such vast knowledge and experience of this country).

I will have access to great prices, packages and offers for any different type of holiday you can think of, and can also book different parts of the trip individually e.g. accommodation, flights, etc.

I have over 15 years experience of planning and booking trips (including my own destination wedding to Lake Tahoe, California, and our round-the-world honeymoon) and have run Blue Penguin Travel for the last 3 and a half years.

The focus of our company – Travel Counsellors – is on a special personalised tailored service, where I work as the client’s own Personal Travel Counsellor – really getting to know my clients and helping them plan and book the perfect trip. We will also be there for you 24/7, which high-street/online travel agents cannot promise! We are an international company based in 7 countries and have over 1400 employees across the world – and we will always go that extra mile for you. 

If anyone reading this is interested in having me help them book their holiday or trip away then please take a look at my Travel Counsellors page, my Facebook page and get in touch through either of those (or use my Contact page on here!). 

I just love helping people to travel and see the world so feel so lucky to be able to do it as a job! 🙂

Categories: Accommodation, Activities, Australia, Blue Penguin, Cook Islands, New Zealand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Zealand = the best country in the world!

Beautiful New Zealand

Beautiful New Zealand

New Zealand has been voted the world’s best country in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 – to read the article click here. The article asks why it is the third year in a row that it has won the award and answers: “Perhaps it’s because New Zealand is a country that delivers almost everything a traveller could want in one easy-to-use package”. I couldn’t agree more! Having been lucky enough to spend a year travelling around New Zealand with my husband – exploring almost every corner of this amazing country – I completely agree and had the most incredible time.

The Telegraph have come up with 26 reasons why New Zealand is the world’s best country – so take a look here to see their reasons.

I have come up with my own Top 5 reasons I believe you should visit this phenomenally beautiful country and wanted to share them with you:

View of Lake Hawea on the way to Queenstown

Stunning scenery

Top 5 reasons to come to New Zealand:

1. The scenery is amazingly beautiful, varied and unspoilt – covering rain forests, glacial lakes, snow-capped mountains, beaches, glaciers and much more!

2. The road trips – The roads in New Zealand are easy to navigate, well-kept and surrounded by such beautiful scenery that driving almost anywhere is a pleasure.

Gorgeous scenic drives

Gorgeous scenic drives

3. The kiwi people – Laid-back and incredibly friendly and welcoming the New Zealand people make New Zealand that bit extra special.

Amazing wildlife

Amazing wildlife

4. The stunning and unique wildlife – rare and endangered animals can be seen in the wild if you know where to go – including kiwis, whales, dolphins, blue and yellow-eyed penguins, and birds such as the kaka, kakapo and kea.

5. The weather – with a temperate climate New Zealand has a well balance climate, with very lovely and long hot summers and winters with enough snow to enjoy and for snow activities.

If you are tempted by this wonderful country and are interested in planning your own trip to New Zealand then please take a look at my own travel company’s website – Blue Penguin Travel or get in touch via email at

Categories: Blue Penguin, New Zealand, North Island, Photographs, South Island | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Want New Zealand itinerary advice? Let Blue Penguin Travel help!

Blue Penguin TravelOur Amazing New Zealand Adventure has now come to an end and I will shortly be starting up a new blog – for my travel consultancy business – Blue Penguin Travel.

Blue Penguin Travel specialises in helping you travel to and around New Zealand by providing personalised off-the-beaten-track travel advice and itineraries. Our company focus is on providing a caring and bespoke service – based on my extensive knowledge and experience of New Zealand.

If you have come to this blog looking for advice on New Zealand and are interested in having your own amazing New Zealand adventure then get in touch as I would relish the opportunity of helping you to create your adventure of a lifetime in New Zealand.

If you are interested in learning more then please visit our website, check out the services we offer, read some of our lovely testimonials or  take a look at our Facebook page, and please feel free to ‘Like’ it to receive my post updates.

You can also email me at if you are interested in receiving help in planning your own adventure to New Zealand. I would love to hear from you with any questions you may have about working with us. 🙂

Categories: Blue Penguin, New Zealand | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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