When I was 20 years old I applied for an administrative assistant position with British Airways Dublin. When I went for the interview the interviewer asked me if I knew about the British Airways travel concessions for staff and family after 1 year, I told him I had no idea. He went on to explain to me how the discounted travel was part of the benefits package. It went straight over my head as I just wanted the job. I got that job and the rest is history.
I joined a truly wonderful group on fun loving people who were passionate travelers. They took me under their wing as their country girl and I would sit in the break room in that first year and marvel at the trips they talked about. It was not unusual to sit with three people one going to Barbados, one going to Australia and one going to the Greek islands. I had only been to the UK to visit family when I joined BA.
Finally that first year was up and I had access to the remarkable concessions travel BA provided at that time. I asked my boss where did she think I should go and she said California and Disneyland. I took her advice. I had to get a passport and a visa and I co-opted my youngest sister to be my travel partner. She got the same travel concessions as me. We flew to Los Angeles, and headed to Disneyland. This started a lifelong fascination of anything Disney. To this girl from the West of Ireland on my first International trip it was truly magical. We did all the usual LA hot spots including Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive, tour of the stars homes and the farmers market where I ate my first hot dog. I definitely did not enjoy that bit. We then flew to San Francisco and headed to Fisherman’s Wharf. I saw gay men holding hands for the first time in my life and met some wonderful people. We were taken out, wined, dined and shown around the city by a barman from the Buena Vista pub. We met a kind man called Bill who took us out to dinner and I tasted my first glass of champagne. Two very green and naive Irish girls seemed to bring out the best in the people we met. We were treated like two celebrities. No nothing was expected in return we were just treated very kindly. We simply had an amazing time, and I cried the day we got on the plane from San Francisco to London.
I was hooked, my love and passion for travel was fully ignited and I have never stopped travelling since. I had a strong case of wanderlust. I went on to a senior positions in BA where I had first class travel and had the unique opportunity to fly on the Concorde twice. British Airways has a special place in my heart although they are not the airline they used to be I have too many amazing memories to let their current service bother me and I still fly BA whenever I can.
Since that first trip I have been all over the world and I will be writing a series of articles on the places I have been on my blog. Join me on my trips down memory lane for information, tips and stories of my many travels. I am blessed to have had the experiences I have had and I have been able to share so much with my children which was truly wonderful.