I’m a Topdeck Trip Leader. Only a small handful of fantastic people get to say that, but I guarantee every single person will say it with the same pride and gusto. #Topdeckers are part of a rare, unique family filled with some of the most insane and delightfully frustrating people that you’ll ever meet.
It’s exactly a year since I hit the SEND button on my Topdeck application and never looked back. As you would imagine, grabbing hold of the best job in the world requires a very unique training process. A process that starts seven months before you’re let loose on the world.
Meet: The Training Trip. Aka, “The Testing Trip” or “The Tiredness Trials” and even “The Terrific Times”. Safe to say, this was by far the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever completed.
To all those people who are about to embark on their first Training Trip; prepare yourselves for what will be the most challenging event in your life. You’ll encounter crippling tiredness, pressure and moments of self-doubt. You’ll be so numbed by the tiredness that you’ll forget what day it is or the last time you showered. I did however, learn that you can sleep standing up; whilst in Venice I felt my eyes close and the next moment grazing my face against a wall – not my most graceful moment.
The constant pressure to prove to yourself and your peers that you have what it takes is the real challenge. Resilience is a MASSIVE part of your job, so build a bridge, toughen up and get on with it. The niggling feeling in the back on your head saying “You’re not good enough, you should quit” will never, repeat, never go away. Just ignore it. Start everyday with the attitude of ‘Today is a new day’.
So with all of these hardships, what will get you through it?
Your Training Trip Family is literally your new family. Even though you will have arguments with them, you’ll want to hit them one minute and cuddle them the next. Some of my Training Trip family are second family, and there isn’t a week that goes by without a message or seeing them mid-way through a trip will see all the difficulties ripple way.
So, all the above really just sounds like one long list of why you SHOULDN’T take on the job of a lifetime but let me just reel off the reasons how this job changes a person, for the better.
1. Knowing the best bar in almost every major city in Europe is awesome. Best cocktail bar in Venice? No problem…
2. All Trip Leaders’s know the prices of call out doctors and which city is cheapest.
3. Not just that but you’ll know which city has the cheapest police stations to report any lost or stolen items.
4. You can explain your hangover the night after leaving Florence in two simple words: Red Garter.
5. Once you’ve had Florentine steak, you can never go back. Steak game = complete.
6. The excitement of getting into Paris, ‘Lauters’, Venice and Rome is electric.
7. I’ve learnt that I make uncontrollable noises when looking at the Hungarian Parliament building and the Opera Garnier in Paris.
8. Scrolling through #CharlottesTopdeckFamily on Instagram is both beautiful and sad.
9. Sleepless nights spent in a hospital waiting room are made better by wheelchair races with injured passengers.
10. I’ve learnt a lot about my own personality, I can always be more tolerant, I need to breathe, find that happy place.
11. There will ALWAYS be that one “interesting” passenger.
12. Your driver will become your mini-husband for the trip. It’s important to treat them so, but with out the marriage part.
13. Even if you put your ALL into a trip, it’ll never be good enough, so be proud of your own work.
14. Almdudler and Manner wafers should be the corner stone of every meal.
15. I appreciate architecture more than I ever thought I would.
16. Nice is nice but it always makes me thankful for everything I have in life.
17. I have a favourite coffee shop, panini bar, gelato stand, bakery, café or wine bar in every city and I’m not happy till I’ve visited every single one.
18. Running into that one person you’ve shadowed with loads of time by surprise in a city is the BEST!
19. Last I’ve learnt that I am far more capable than I thought I was. The self-doubt from Training Trip creeps up every day, but I’ve learnt the push it back.
After 6 trips and 118 days on the road the question is, what will the next season bring? Dunno, but I’m f*£&$@g excited to find out!
For more info on the job of a lifetime go here and step into our office.