Introducing new member Katie Blake; Globe Trotter, Yoga Teacher, Expert Networker and Founder of Luxury Travel Consultancy Nelumbo Travel.
So Katie, you used to work for a travel agents and have since decided to be a freelance travel consultant - what made you pursue that line of work?
Travelling and exploring is in my blood and very much a part of who I am. I started my career in sales and enjoyed talking to people and the buzz of getting them excited about what they were buying but I needed to be passionate about what I was selling too. After 4 years selling IT and event space and a year travelling the world (after that stereotypical breakup too!) I realised that I not only enjoy travelling personally but could also make into a career. I worked for two different travel companies, both big and small over the course of 5 years and then decided to set up on my own, so here I am today, ready to take on the world… literally!
Where is the most amazing place you have been sent to for work?
One of my most memorable experiences would have to be when I went trekking into the rainforest on the Indonesian side of Borneo to see the endangered orang-utan. The sounds of the rainforest were unlike anything I had ever heard before, from humming to buzzing to chirping from howler monkeys, birds and insects. Ear plugs are advised if you are a light sleeper!
I woke early, was served freshly made banana pancakes and travelled into the rainforest with my guide, in search for the orang-utans. As we approached one of the feeding grounds, we suddenly spotted them. Seeing these magnificent mammals took my breath away. We stopped and admired them for an hour or so before heading back to the boat. Orang-utans can only be witnessed in the wild in just three places in the world and so seeing them was an incredibly special experience, one that I will never forget.
I bet you often hear ‘your job is incredible; you’re paid to travel’ but I imagine it’s hard graft too?
I do feel lucky to do what I do but like every job, it comes with its challenges. As you are sending clients all over the world, sometimes you have to speak to your ground handlers in the wee hours of the morning or evening to ensure your clients are having the best experience. When you are sent away, you aren’t also lounging by the pool either, you are up and about inspecting hotels, creating partnerships and new experiences from the early morning until the late evening. It can also take weeks to put some more complex itineraries together, but those are the ones I love the most! The positives definitely outweigh the negatives!
So you also trained as a yoga teacher in Goa (Kate’s first yoga session at PLATF9RM is this Thursday the 8th!) - how was that as an experience?I have to admit, I thought I was going to be relaxing for a month in India, with a couple of hours of yoga, but it was hard graft! Yoga Teacher Training was both mentally and physically challenging. You break down barriers to allow yourself to live a freer life which in the end is incredibly liberating! Taking it home is difficult… Whilst it was challenging, it allowed me to just focus purely on myself, which is something we all rarely get to do. Yoga has also improved both my body and my mind but it is a practice that you have to do consistently to see results. Come and see the benefits for yourself on Thursday mornings at 7.30am.
I hear you’ve been doing a lot of swimming since moving down. Do you enjoy living by the sea?I moved down to Brighton after living in London for 11 years and could not be happier. Not only do I enjoy living by the sea (and I know this may sound cheesy), I am finally living the life I had only dreamt about on all those long commutes. I swim each week with a lovely group of girls (please join us if you fancy it), I get to see my wonderful grandma for lunch who lives around the corner, my sister and her cute Cockapoo Coco regularly, and I have already made some lovely and welcoming friends who are all so wonderful and inspiring! I guess my answer in short is YES!
Jess McCleave recently took you on a bit of a pub crawl showing you the best watering holes in Brighton. Have you found your favourite spot yet?Haha, I think we need to go out again Jess as I am still yet to discover it but I love a good wine bar!
Do you feel like you have settled in Brighton and at PLATF9RM?I have now been here for three months and am starting to feel pretty settled. I think setting up your own business can be a time of excitement and also unease but I feel I have a great support system around me and PLATF9RM has been a big part of that so thank you!
What’s your favourite thing about PLATF9RM? - apart from chatting?!I do love chatting, thanks Jess! I love that I get to meet other entrepreneurs and people doing all sorts of incredible and fascinating things! Everyone has a different story to tell! Each time I come in, I meet someone new and am always greeted with a smile! I am also getting a little obsessed with the food in the cafe, which is dangerous..those wraps made by the amazing Amy!! Oh and Friday drinks are fun too
We’ve all become very fond of Coco, is he available for cuddle hire?I will have to ask my twin as it is her dog (even though I feel like he is mine), but you can always come for a dog walk with me or come for a cuddle when he is with me in the coworking space. He is like a big teddy bear and will definitely put a smile on your face!
If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.