By Matt Castell @MattCastell22 Feb 2016It’s been nearly ten years since I waited on my mates couch – staring anxiously at my Motorola RAZR flip phone. I was waiting for the recruitment agent to call me for my pre-arranged phone interview… …the phone finally vibrated, I answered; and paced back and forth across the living room during the fifteen-minute session. It was my first proper interview for a real job; I’d done my homework – studied world capitals, famous tourist destinations and airport codes – just in case. The nice lady on the other end of the phone didn’t care about that though – she wanted to know if I could sell. In this case, she wanted me to sell her a backpack. I guess I did pretty well, because she told me I killed it and invited me to the next stage of interviews. Thus my foray into the travel industry began. I had no idea what to expect – I knew the salary was mostly commission, there would be fantastic incentive trips if I did well and the training opportunities were endless. Since then I’ve considered leaving numerous times; I mean, I never really thought I would end up working in an ‘office’. But, every time I considered the alternatives it didn’t come down to what I didn’t like about being a Travel Agent – it came down what I couldn’t leave behind. These are the things that I didn’t think I could find elsewhere – and still don’t. Friends on my level Illustration of a Travel Agent at Work I’m not saying that I couldn’t find mates in other industries – but there’s no way in hell I could find as many that share the same passion for working hard, cutting loose and spending insane amounts of money on airline tickets, hotels and private karaoke rooms with bottle service. I’ve honestly met some of my best friends in my life via my job and I wouldn’t trade them for a million dollars and a private jet. Conferences Yeah, I know most other industries have conferences too – but do they hire famous DJ’s and bands to turn up to get the juices flowing? Do they hire a Boeing 747 to whisk their employees halfway around the world just to say thanks for working your arses off last year? Nope – well, maybe Facebook or Google. But I doubt those nerds get as turned up as 4000 Travel Agents in a pool bouncing to a Mexican sunrise. Oh, and there’s learning and stuff too. Selling Dreams How many people get to come home from work on a regular basis absolutely floating on air because they changed someone’s life? I’ve met some fantastic clients throughout my career – and helped create some stories that are now part of their lives. I’ve been involved in helping customers get hitched, some pretty special anniversaries and even a few pregnancies (not closely involved in the latter). Education Asides from the obvious systems and destinations training, I’ve studied and acquire two diplomas, which have helped me become a better Travel Agent and mentor to my peers. Working in travel is an ever-changing challenge – and I bloody love chopping with the day-to-day dramas. I’ve learned to be fast on my feet and figured out how to problem solve with the best of ‘em. I don’t think there’s been a single day where I haven’t bagged a new skill, whether it is how to obtain a Russian visa in three days (rather than twenty) or the quickest way to get to Guam from Sydney tomorrow. If you can find me another job that gives me the all of the above, a solid salary and the ability to travel the world while accomplishing them then please drop me a line – I’d love to hear about it. Why can’t you stop working as a Travel Agent? Other stories you may like “Travel Agents aren’t going anywhere anytime soon”: Travellers Choice Last night at dinner: “I got screwed booking travel online” The 2017 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship goes to… a TravelManager!