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5 Life Lessons with Scott Dunn's Travel Specialist, Jean Tay

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From being a cabin crew to a travel specialist at an award-winning luxury tour operator, travel is in my DNA. I’ve been fortunate to be able to explore the various corners of the globe, everything from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, and from vast rainforests, tiny desert islands, to the most glamorous beaches. These experiences have brought some valuable life lessons along the way. From teaching me resilience and strengthening my determination to go after what I want, here are 5 life lessons I’ve learnt from my years of travel.

 

Perspectives and mindsets are important

I started my career in travel at a young age as a Singapore girl and while I’ve tried other things along the way, I knew I always wanted to return to the travel industry. While returning during a global pandemic may look questionable, I think it also presented some opportunities that would otherwise not be possible. For example, while travel has been muted due to border restrictions, I had the opportunity to really pick up and learn as much as I could before travel appetites returned. This has proved extremely useful as things are ramping up very quickly now so I’m really fortunate to have had the lull period to re-integrate myself back into this exciting and evolving world.

The pause in travel also meant that guests who headed out to explore in the earlier stages also had more privacy and space to themselves since normal tourist levels had not returned. So it was a good chance to venture out for a much needed breather without jostling with the crowds. It definitely shows that having a positive mindset can help turn challenges into opportunities.

 

Invest in experiences over things

 I’ve always had an insatiable appetite for travel and have been lucky to be able to explore different corners of the globe. One thing that travel has really taught me is to enjoy and prioritise experiences over things. While experiences can be fleeting, I very much believe that these experiences become a part of you and your identity. Even now, I still fondly recall some of my past trips like when I got to see the wildebeest migration up close or when I made it after a gruelling hike up to the Tiger’s Nest. I hope to be able to pass this mentality on and help my guests make really special memories on the trips they take with us.

At Scott Dunn, we work with a strong selection of suppliers and partners on ground, this means that we are able to secure the best guides for our guests that can really make or break a trip. The feeling you get when guests send you pictures of their holiday and convey their thanks is really indescribable because you know you had a part to play in creating an unforgettable trip that they can look back on!

 

It’s good to slow down once in awhile

I think many of us are used to a fast-paced lifestyle and in this digital age where we always expect instantaneous feedback and results, travelling presents the opportunity to slow down and take time to digest new surroundings. I’m a strong advocate in taking time to enjoy and discover each destination, to me it is more about the depth and quality of travel compared to ticking as many things off your travel list as quickly as possible. In pre-covid times, many of us were guilty of travelling to see as much as possible in the quickest time and I think that the pandemic has helped force us to reset and slow down. I think it’s a much-welcomed change!

 

Never stop learning

Through my travels, I’ve realised that an aspect of why I enjoy it so much is because I learn new things on each trip. Every time you step out to explore the world , you meet new people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city – you learn a lot!

At Scott Dunn, we aim to be at the forefront of experiential luxury travel. In order to do that, we have to have the expertise and experience for the destinations we sell. Hence, familiarisation trips and regular training are crucial for us as it gives us first hand experience and allows the exchange of information between our peers. It’s this proactive approach to keeping in the know and learning that allows us to derive our expertise and insider tips, giving us an intangible edge when planning trips for our guests.

 

Be spontaneous and keep an open mind

My last life lesson is to let go and be spontaneous. Sometimes even with plans in place, things may not always go the way we intend it to. And it may be when the best things happen. When I visited Tanzania, our hot air balloon ride was cancelled due to staff miscommunication and we decided on the spot to go on a safari drive instead. This is where I got the chance to witness up close the most amazing two hours long wildebeest migration as they crossed the Serengeti. I still get goosebumps recalling that day and I’m so glad we kept an open mind and decided to go for the drive! I always think of it as: if things always go as planned, adventures won’t exist. So learning how to let go can be a virtue and you'll learn to tackle circumstances as they come, which will make you appreciate the experience even more.

I guess that’s the whole allure of travel - its ability to expand our horizons and allow for great encounters and spectacular new experiences. So whenever you’re ready to head out and explore the world, keep an open mind to try new things, you’ll never know what’s around the corner

 


Written by
Poppy covers a wide range of topics at Billionaire, having spent the past 13 years at companies including Singapore Tatler, Her World Plus and Harpers Bazaar UK. She has a passion for fashion, jewellery and travel as well as an avaricious fascination with crime novels. Follow her at poppypskinner on Instagram. 

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