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 second 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.
Jessica Thompson, Topdeck Trip Leader.
Jess is a 20-something nomad. She’s half Australian, half Swiss but grew up in Canberra. If you’d like to win over her heart, just take her to see an opera in Paris. She always knew she was destined for more than the Public Servant life that Canberra offered, so she packed up her bags and moved over to Europe. It’s now been six years and she doesn’t see herself coming home anytime soon (sorry Mum). She’s currently living out her dream job, which is pretty freaking sweet.
We had a chat with Jessica about her experience as a Topdeck Trip Leader.
1. How did you first hear about Topdeck?
I heard about Topdeck when I was on my gap year just after finishing school. A few friends mentioned the company to me but at first I thought they were talking about a type of chocolate!
Then I was shown the brochure and realised what it was. I immediately fell in love with the idea and booked myself on to a Topdeck trip.
2. What made you want to become a Trip Leader?
The reason I wanted to become a Trip Leader was because of the Trip Leader I had on my Topdeck trip. I still remember his driving tour of Paris back in 2011 and was just absolutely mesmerised.
It made me think how incredible it would be to have a dream job like his but in my mind I never thought I could get that job. Yet here I am today, living the dream.
3. What’s the most rewarding part of being a Trip Leader?
For me, the most rewarding part of my job is seeing other people’s lives change. I’ve seen engagements happen on my trips, had people write to me afterwards saying their experiences on the trip were amazing and I’ve watched my passengers meet for the first time and fall in love.
Knowing that I’ve been a part of that is exactly why I do this job and hope to continue to do so.
4. Did you do much travelling before becoming a Trip Leader?
I’d been living in Europe for three years before working for Topdeck and grew up with parents who met whilst travelling. I had travelled a lot as a child as well but it wasn’t until I moved overseas that I really started experiencing travel the way I always wanted to.
So it was in my blood and nature! I was born to be a nomadic travelling girl wandering the world forever.
5. Do you still love seeing famous icons when you’re on the road?
Oh my goodness yes. I never tire of seeing amazing monuments and sights. I figure if I was sitting here taking people around saying ‘oh there’s the humdrum Eiffel Tower again, like whatever’ then I shouldn’t be doing the job anymore!
Nothing beats arriving at the end of my Rome walking tour and watching as the sun sets on the Colosseum. That’s always an incredible end to the day. My heart also always lights up when I walk through Prague at night and see its stunning gothic architecture in the shadows.
6. What’s one thing you pack every time you head out on the road?
Is it silly to say my passport? After six years of travelling I’ve become very non-materialistic, so what I always bring with me is my essential important documents that actually allow me to keep jumping through these countries every couple of days.
But apart from that I don’t really have that much, except a handful of Polaroid photos of my family and friends. Also my smile and positive attitude – I never forget to bring that along when I start a trip.
7. What one thing will never be the same again now you’ve been a Trip Leader?
Nothing. As in, nothing will ever be the same again after the experiences I’ve had whilst being a Trip Leader for Topdeck. From the knowledge I gained on my training trip, to the people I’ve met along the way and how they’ve shaped and changed my life.
I have a different outlook on everything and it’s made me realise how different everyone is and how to best understand people in a way I never knew before.
8. If you could only lead trips through one country, where would it be and why?
This is such a hard question! Maybe France, because the country is so diverse and the history is so unique. You’ve got the bustling metropolis of Paris, the stunning Pyrenees mountains, wine regions near Bordeaux and the Côte d’Azur down in the French Riviera.
Plus, the food is unbelievably amazing. Give me cheese and pâtisserie items from France every day!
9. Ice cold beer on the beach or cocktail in a rooftop bar on your day off?
Cocktail in a rooftop bar for sure. I can sit and people-watch over the city all day long. Add a bit of chill music and some friends and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good day.
10. What’s on your travel playlist?
I’ve spent endless hours perfecting my playlists and I think I’ve finally got it down to a T. There’s the relaxing acoustic instrumental music for the morning, the bangers from back home as a pick-me-up, then a few good singalong classics.
Anything that picks people up a little and incorporates music from everyone’s home is a good way to remind Topdeckers that home is never too far away. But I’m currently playing Ed Sheeran on repeat.