Wanna come join the Topdeck Crew? From Trip Leaders to Chefs to Coach Drivers, Topdeck are now recruiting for awesome new Road Crew. Best job ever, right?! To get you inspired, we’ve got the fourth instalment of our new Road Crew Inspiration Blog Series where we’ll be answering that all important question: what’s it like to be a Topdeck Trip Leader?

Each week, we’ll be interviewing a member of the Topdeck Crew and learning all about what they do, giving you some Road Crew Inspiration. Come have a read.

Chrystle Wellburn, Topdeck Trip Leader.

Road Crew Inspiration Series Trip Leader Chrystle Wellburn What's it like to be a Topdeck Trip Leader

Chrystle is 31 years old, Australian, and has spent most of her adult life travelling or getting people super fit. Chrystle was a personal trainer for nine years and she’s been challenging herself to the max ever since. She’s climbed 6500m peaks in the Himalayas and guided there too. She also loves dogs, so when she’s not being distracted by the puppies of Europe, she also heads up some top notch walking tours.

We had a chat with Chrystle about her experience as a Topdeck Trip Leader.

1. How did you first hear about Topdeck?

I’d heard about Topdeck while I was working in London and had seen the coaches departing for Europe near my place in West London. It’s a powerful thing seeing everyone starting an epic journey while you’re off to work in the city. About ten years later, I saw an application while I was looking for a new direction in my life and it turns out that new direction found me.

2. What made you want to become a Trip Leader?

As a teenager, there’s so much uncertainty about where life will take you after high school and what career you’ll choose. My mum would always sit down and brainstorm ideas with me for ways to achieve the ultimate goal of getting paid to travel.

Eventually I found one of the most rewarding opportunities. Being a Trip Leader was not even a question of if I could do it, but of when I could do it. Amazing people, travel and challenging experiences. I was sold on the idea immediately.

 3. What’s the most rewarding part of being a Trip Leader?

When I’m on a walking tour and I take my group around a corner and I hear them gasp at the views! Then, getting to be the person who shares the history of that site with them. It’s a powerful experience even after I’ve been doing it for years.

I also love it when everyone comes back and shares the stories of their day: the new foods I suggested they try, the cool bars they found and the best gelato shop they found.

4. What’s your Trip Leader nickname?

I don’t often get a nickname, but I did have Miss C when I was a personal trainer. I feel like a lot of my colleagues’ nicknames come from their past lives and personalities. I spent nine years as a personal trainer and, in some ways, you can’t take that out of me.

Even though I keep saying I’ll eat less pasta and do more running, the balance isn’t quite there yet.

5. What’s a favourite meal you’ve had when on the road?

I’m never going to be able to answer this without offending all of my other favourite meals. In Cinque Terre, Italy, I convinced some Topdeck Crew to make our own food tour of the five villages. We managed to fit in all of our favourite Italian food we could find, from pesto gnocchi to pizza.

Sometimes, it’s not only the food, but the people you get to share that food with that’ll stick with you.

6. What’s one thing you pack every time you head out on the road?

Shampoo bars from Lush. Probably one of the best travel hacks I have. They last for months and aren’t made of liquid so it makes your bag lighter and easier to pack. No risk of leaking and perfect if you’re travelling with carry on baggage only.

When you’re travelling for months at a time, the less you carry the easier it is to relax and move around with ease.

7. What’s your go-to travel/getting pumped song?

I’m so old school with my music! But one song that gets me really pumped up became popular last year, The Buzz by Hermitude. It really makes you feel like something epic is about to happen.

I remember hearing it a lot around the end of last year and around the time I got to be a passenger on the Topdeck Jordan and Israel trip. It was a highlight every day and that song ended up being my trip video song.

8. What’s your number one piece of advice for new travellers?

Try everything.

Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re missing until you try it. And if you go home addicted to all these amazing new things you found while travelling, then you definitely did it right. Watch what the locals are eating, ordering and their habits.

Italians only drinking cappuccino before lunch, or Swedes sitting down for coffee and cake, or perhaps the Parisians watching the world go by with a coffee any time of day. It’s always easier to avoid pushing the boundaries on food, drinks and experiences. But when you do, you’ll find out so much more about a country.

9. Do you do anything to stay fit when travelling?

I talk a big game (which isn’t getting me anywhere!) for an ex personal trainer who lost 50kg when I was 19 – 20 years old. But when I’m in the zone, I go for runs coming back from dropping my group at places or hike the peak in Dubrovnik for a sunset with some amazing people on my trip. I even hike around Plitvice Lakes in Croatia for ultimate Instagram photos.

Sometimes you have to fit it in where you can and I’ve made an effort to focus on it more this year than in the previous years.

10. Would you rather travel into space or to the bottom of the ocean?

Definitely space. The stars are too pretty not to consider it, and imagine the photos of the Earth’s curvature! Talk about wow!

I love an extreme adventure too, so if the opportunity came up I’d have to throw my name in for a chance. If being a Trip Leader with Topdeck has taught me anything, it’s that you don’t know what’s possible until you try it.

Been inspired having found out what’s it like to be a Topdeck Trip Leader? Become part of the Topdeck Road Crew and apply now!

Wanna come travel with Topdeck? We’ll see ya on the road.

Marianne Lampon
Originally from Cambridge, Marianne has officially caught the travel bug. A lover of movies and fitness, Marianne will always stop to pet dogs when she’s out exploring and will steal your food when you’re not looking.