We are starting a new series of interviews and portraits of collaborators who will share their travel experiences with us on the blog. Today we are interviewing Gem.
Her job: scanning the web to find the best, and often completely unique, travel deals based on her solid personal experiences and her knowledge of Internet tools.
Gem on top of Mount Manaia, New Zealand
1. Tell us a little about you: Where are you from, where do you live, your studies, passions, hobbies, etc.
Hi, I’m Gem, a travel hunter for HolidayPirates for the last 4 years. Originally from Brighton, I have lived all over the UK as well as spending 3 years in New Zealand exploring on my motorbike, learning about the culture and looking after a herd of horses. A proud solo female traveller for the last 10 years, I am always on the lookout for the next adventure and country to cross off my scratch map. If travel was my first passion in life, music would be my second. In fact I am well known in the company for merging the two. I studied English Language and Literature at Uni and earned extra money on the side as a live music photographer to fund my travels and festival tickets.
Flying in to Aitutakii, Cook Islands
2. How did you become a travel deal hunter at HolidayPirates?
It’s a funny story actually, I was in New Zealand looking for jobs back home. I found myself on the HolidayPirates site and accidentally scrolled to the bottom of the page - whilst browsing their many deals - in search of some travel inspiration. I ended up clicking on the ‘careers’ link and after a number of cross continent Skype interviews, the rest - as they say - is history!
Exploring the street art of Toronto, Canada
3. What do you like most about your job?
Even after 4 years, it’s still amazing to receive comments from readers who have booked a deal that you have painstakingly selected and written about. My most proud moment came when a first time solo traveller reached out stating she’d booked a trip to southeast Asia off my personal recommendation. It was a route I had just returned from and I had recommended a number of hotels as, in my experience, they had been very single-traveller friendly.
Discovering new personal travel destinations has also been a big bonus from this job. When creating content, I have often found myself enticed by destinations that I would have not considered before HolidayPirates like Tanzania, Slovenia and Estonia - plus after visiting such locations, you are even more informed about it and therefore can inspire others to visit.
4. What’s your definition of a good deal?
For me, I look for an initial price and then see if I can beat it. When searching for deals, I ask myself the question “would I be happy to pay this price?”. But it’s not just the figures that make a deal. For some larger packages, with heftier price tags, are more likely to include invaluable extras like transfers, experiences or nice little things like welcome drinks or spa discounts. It all comes down to what you believe is great value for money.
Cooling off with a beer & views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
5. You describe yourself as an advocate for solo travels, especially females. Can you tell us a bit more about your experience of travelling solo?
It was quite an organic occurrence, discovering the solo life. I decided to fly over to Germany for my first solo trip to meet some online pen pals at the age of 17, after that I was hooked. Then it was on to the USA travelling from the East to West coasts. Instead of spending it on nights out, my student loan - as well as going towards rent and books - helped me to discover southeast Asia and Europe. However, my biggest challenge gave the greatest pay off - Tanzania. I travelled to Zanzibar and then to the mainland, crossing safaris and seeing Kilimanjaro off my bucket list. It hasn’t been all plain sailing though, I will never pretend it has been. Too many solo female traveller advocates present the lifestyle through rose tinted glasses, there’s no mention of sleeping in airports to save money, or ending up in dangerous situations - it’s how you deal with it and learn for next time. My aim in this job is to help others discover the confidence to venture out. We all get caught up in the chase for physical possessions rather than memories and I live by the saying of “I’d rather have stamps in my passport than things in my house”
6. The company offers the digital nomad lifestyle to all staff, where do you plan to work from?
Well, at the moment, somewhere that isn’t my living room, watching travel shows, seems tropical! But as soon as borders reopen, I am getting the first flight to New Zealand I can. I have only been back once since returning in 2016. I cannot wait to return to the beaches of Waipu Cove, greet foals that have been born since my departure and reconnect with old friends. Although the time difference will be a bit of a pain, it will be worth it to be able to work and travel. The idea would be to then travel home gradually, through central and western Asia. I have a country count that’s been a bit stagnant during 2020!
You can follow Gem and her future travels on her Instagram: @trek.point
All images supplied by Gem
Balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey