Womenspiring Wednesdays…

Be The Change You Want To See !

Monica Arun- The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

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It was my vacation time post 12th Std and I was doing nothing but sitting idle at home. I had no interest in household work, no serious hobby and very limited friends back then to pass my time. Life was boring.

I came across an ad in the newspaper which said ‘3 months travel and tourism course’ starting soon. I thought of checking it out, not to make a career, but because it will give me a reason to step out of the house and thinking that the certificate may help me get some job later. Took up the course and completed for the heck of it. Towards the end, the institute started sending our resumes to travel companies in order to assist us get an internship. Three months later, just when I started going to college, I received a letter saying that I was selected for an internship at Kesari Travels, Mumbai. With less interest in education and more fire to step out in the real (corporate) world, I joined them as the internship period was just for 3 months. After this, I continued going to college, but the travel job had enticed me completely for two reasons – I started feeling very good to start earning at an early age and secondly because I felt great to talk about London, Paris, Switzerland, etc. than learn about commerce. Though I had 3 years of commerce degree to finish at that time, but the thought that working in the travel agency ‘may’ get me the chance to experience a plane journey sounded more exciting. I continued to go to college for the first year degree course, however, I also continued to give interviews in travel agency in the hope that I may get a travel job. This was my motivation and my first struggle to find myself a job landed me in Orbit Travels, Mumbai. I was thrilled. I started attending college in the morning and my office after that. It was very tiring to start the day before 7 am and end the day after 10 pm as we used to sit back late in office due to the time difference between India and foreign countries we were dealing with. At the same time, it was important that I continued my studies. I wanted to do both – work & study. So, I decided to leave college and join Mumbai University distance education and I finished my graduation, at the same time, gaining experience in the travel industry and making more friends. It was through one such friend, I got a chance to go for an interview in India’s leading travel company, Cox & Kings. The moment I entered their huge office where everyone looked so professional,

I knew I have to get this dream job. And that I did.

Though my previous companies had taught me so much about travel, but this was the place where my ‘job’ became my ‘career’. I learnt how to work under pressures, under strict deadlines here. I enjoyed working here with some great people and started learning from great leaders. As this was a huge company where hundreds of employees were working, I also made some life-time friends here. It was like filling up the missing years of my college days, while working at the same time. By now, I had achieved both – a commerce degree  & a  dream job. But the wish of experiencing  a plane journey was still pending. Soon I got to travel abroad on my first trip to Singapore. It was an offer by the airline for the staff and I made it to the trip along with my bunch of friends from the company, much against my father’s wish to let his daughter travel in a new country without the family.

From here, there was no looking back then. My career graph started improving along with my salary as I went on to step up the ladder by joining Kuoni SOTC, Thomas Cook, TUI, each of which are well known travel companies in India and abroad.

Post marriage, I shifted to Bangalore as my husband had to join an ecommerce giant who were making their entry into India. At the time of shifting to Bangalore, we had a one year old son, for whom I had stopped working for a travel company and had started working for HIM. The discussions about the number of days required for a destination soon changed to number of times my child cried, slept, passed stool or did susu. My son was the one who kept me grounded from my high-flying career. Motherhood started becoming challenging, fun and exciting at the same time. Being a ‘mommy’ is a fun, full time assignment. However, something was missing. So, in the first half of 2012, I decided to put to use the skills that were lying un-dusted on my memory shelves. After shifting in Bangalore, we settled down in one of a residential complex. I realized that I cannot be a stay-at-home mother after working for so many years. Many people from the residential complex traveled on vacations.  I started advising people on their travel plans and as I know many of the overseas hoteliers & suppliers personally, would also book for them. With the word of mouth, I started getting many more clients and then there was a need to have an office and more staff to handle the increasing business. Being a mother to one year old, it wasn’t an option to step out of the residential complex to work. However, they say ‘Where there is will, there is a way’ ! I realized that there was a storeroom in the parking area of the complex where all the junks were stored. I spoke to society and convinced them to give that space to me on rent. They were kind to agree and my entrepreneurship journey began as I registered my company to name it as ‘Globetrotter Travel Club LLP’. I decided to encourage ‘mothers’ from the complex to start working for my company & I put up on this opportunity on the notice board of the complex. My first mother from the complex took charge of doing up the entire office, buying furniture’s, etc. while I took care of my kid, while the office was setting up. I offered the mothers to work for flexible hours and I made it an informal office environment with certain accountability and responsibility. This way, I built up not only a platform for them to work and still take care of their little ones, but also gave them a travel career. As I wanted to register my company as LLP, I needed a partner and I made my homemaker sister, a designated partner in our company.

Apart from work skills, extensive globetrotting has given me practical insights & helped me create a wide network of partners across the world, many of whom have now become my family friends! Hence I thought of creating a bouquet of travel products, that would serve not just my immediate clients, but the industry at large.

Being new to Bangalore with no contacts, keen to learn ‘business skills’ and to network with more entrepreneurs, I became member of most of the women entrepreneurs and travel related groups. During weekends, I started attending many professional head start meets. This helped me sharpen my business skills and through contacts, I started getting individual and companies as my clients. All this, without spending anything on advertisements or social media. Many travel agents push their clients to destinations where they get more commissions, we, however, being a personalized travel planner, work for my clients and give them a value for money.

As a travel professional, I am a personal travel adviser for charting out our client’s travel plans as per their budget, pace, style and interest. We work with our clients to create memorable holidays, holidays that are fun and flexible! It was the desire to combine passion for travel with years of experience to create something with a personal stamp. Globetrotter Travel Club was set up for developing & selling tailor-made, personalized travel-solutions.

I have done my share of cubicle time in the outbound ranging from individual travel to group travel. During this time I learnt to design travel products, negotiate vendor contracts, handle MICE groups and lead operational teams. Here, I gained wide exposure on designing travel itineraries.

I like to be on the go and perhaps my desire to push the boundaries is explained by my motivation to do a lot with life!

Reach me : monica@globetrottrertravelclub.in

 

 

 

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