Travel Counsellors understand that time is precious, particularly for working parents. For many, the flexibility to do the things they love alongside running a successful business is the most important thing.
Rosemary Chawke from Clonmel, Co Tipperary (above), started life as a Travel Counsellor in 2006 after her long-standing employer closed their travel business. Taking control of her future, and having control over her work-life balance, has proven to be a fantastic career move for Rosemary and her family. As one of the top Travel Counsellors in Ireland, she works from home and can pick her two girls up from school, while during the holidays they can head out for an afternoon of fun together.
We spoke with Rosemary to find out how she balances work with childcare over the summer holidays, and what she loves about being able to do so.
Why did running your own business as a Travel Counsellor appeal to you?
“When I was working as manager in a local travel agency here in Clonmel, I always dreamed of opening my own business one day. A lot of the staff that worked with me had children and I could see the difficulties they faced with childcare, working weekends and always having to juggle. At that time, I didn’t have children myself, but I knew I didn’t want to be one of these parents always juggling and missing out on the important school shows, picking them up from school or preschool.
“When my long-standing employer closed their travel business I knew it was time for me to be in control of my own future – and starting my career with Travel Counsellors was the right decision for me.”
How do you balance work with childcare during school holidays?
“I began my career with Travel Counsellors in January 2006 and my daughter Katie was born the following December. My second daughter Laura was born two years later. When they were younger they used to go to a local creche in the mornings between 9am and 2pm. This gave me the chance to get a lot of my work done during this time. I had the afternoons then to take them to the playground or the park.
“Now that my children are nine and 11, they love to go to summer camp, usually between 10am and 3pm. The weeks they are not doing camps they go to my mum’s house for a couple of hours each day and I always take a day off each week to be able to do fun things with them. I will answer emails and work in the morning and catch up on work again in the evening.”
What do you enjoy being able to do with your children now that you run your own business?
“I love being able to take my girls to swimming, dance, tennis, athletics and the numerous activities that they love doing after school, which I would not be able to do if I was still working in the local travel agency. I love being able to collect them from school and help them with their homework. I love being off on a Saturday and being able to take them to their activities. We love going for our girly cup of coffee every Saturday after tennis.
“I am not missing out on them growing up and I feel I am the one they can’t wait to tell the news to about their day at school and not the child minder or afterschool teacher, which so often happens.”
Describe a typical day in the school holidays for you
“I start my day around 7am by checking my emails and after a leisurely morning with the girls, I take them to camp for 10am. Their day usually finishes around 3pm so I have all that time to work in the office and then I would catch up again in the office in the evening time if needs be.
“The girls love that they never have to get up at 7.30am on their holidays; if I was working in a travel agency they would have to be up and out at 7.30am all summer.”
Do you think being a Travel Counsellor is a good career path for other working parents?
“Absolutely! I love being in control of my future and running my business but most importantly being there for my family when needed. There is no price you could put on this. I get great satisfaction from each booking I make and seeing my business grow from strength to strength – knowing that all the hard work is for my family and for us to have a better future together. I am in a better place now financially than I ever would have been working in someone else’s travel agency.”
Do you have any advice for working parents who are thinking about becoming a Travel Counsellor?
“I would say stop thinking about it and just go for it. Yes, it is hard work and a lot of dedication but believe me you won’t look back… you will have a much better work-life balance and you and your family will reap the rewards financially too!”
If you dream of having more control over your work-life balance, whether it is to relieve some of the stress of arranging and paying for childcare or if you just want to take control of your future, a career as a Travel Counsellors might be for you. Get in touch to speak to one of the team in confidence today.