Today’s post is a very exciting one as I’m speaking to a pilot who has let me interview her for my travel expert series! The series started at the end of June and every other week I’ve been speaking to a travel expert who works in the industry. Today is Geri’s turn where you can find out more about what it takes to become a pilot as well as her tips and tricks for travel.
All of Geri’s links are at the bottom of the post so if you want to keep up with everything that she is doing, have a read and follow the links at the end!
I’ve always been excited when travelling as a child on aeroplanes and used to feel an overwhelming emotion when seeing aircraft on the final approach path into London Heathrow airport. 6000 hours in I still think it’s pretty impressive to look up and see the landing lights of tightly packed aircraft beaming through clouds of a night’s sky. One of my good friend’s dad is a pilot, and when I used to visit their house I’d be fascinated by all the trinkets that he’d picked up from the random tribes that he’d met in Uganda or the beautiful vases in Jakarta – his stories were always really exciting too!
There are so many great things it’s hard to choose one. I think for me the best thing is that once you’ve jumped through all the hoops that are required for training, on a day to day basis it is the most rewarding job on the planet. I get paid to see the world and stay in some fantastic places, I also get to spend time in places that I wouldn’t choose to visit on my holidays. My exposure to different cultures, people and way of life is something that is priceless, and something that is only really emphasised when I travel with people less fortunate to experience this on a day to day basis. Also the views are pretty cool as is taking off and landing.
The worst is most definitely the lack of sleep. With the best intentions, jet lag and rosters can be difficult to manage and sleep deprivation impacts your health and social life. Getting up at 2am for a 12 hour flight when you’re in a different time zone is terrible, and can wipe you out for days.
People will always surprise you. I’ve been graced by some of the hospitable people on the planet. I once misjudged someone who I thought wanted money out of me, but they were genuinely just passionate to tell me about their way of life and show me around – this has happened a handful of times. I obviously still have my wits about me, especially in certain places, but I now assume the best in people until proven otherwise. There’s so much negativity that we read in the news about other cultures and their view on us, I think that most people would change their opinion if they took the time to visit and talk to the same people.
For work my favourite destinations are ironically both Tel Aviv or Beirut. Amazing food and nightlife, great weather, a lot of history and really good hiking trails and culture spots.
To travel in my own time, Indonesia – each island is so different they may well be their own countries! Or South Africa – hopefully the political situation doesn’t change the country too much but it has stunning wine country, fantastic scenery, great diving and great safari.
Tanzania – I haven’t been on safari for coming up to a year and having serious withdrawals.
Multiple plug adapter, ear plugs, socks and a good book.
I don’t even know where to start. Most probably a recent trip that I did to Raja Ampat, diving with 16 foot manta rays in a heavily protected area throws you straight into land before time. Coral still thrives there like delicate, underwater gardens and there are just thousands and thousands of different marine life. It really brought to home how much we have irreversibly damaged our planet.
Work hard and don’t ever listen to anyone who says it’s unachievable because you’re female. There is nothing in modern day aviation which makes it harder for females over males, except perhaps putting up with the odd comment here and there. Also look into things such as maternity leave when you join a company, unfortunately airlines still aren’t up to speed because they’ve never employed so many female pilots, and if you wish to have a family and are the breadwinner in a couple you may find it financially difficult to take a significant time off work.
We’ll go through the paperwork beforehand, looking at weather en route and any defects with the aircraft and make a fuel decision, making sure we are happy we have enough contingencies for potential delays or enough options incase somewhere looks like it’ll be unavailable due to weather. We then make our way out to aircraft and follow our procedures to set it up ready for the specific flight, calculating performance for that exact time and weight (this changes for every flight). We brief anything relevant eg; What’s going to catch us out on this flight? What do we think air traffic control are going to do with us? What departure are we going to fly? What is our plan of action in an emergency? After we’ve closed up with passengers on we are in the hands of air traffic control. I can do anything from one flight to three flights a day, so it could be an easy one sector and get off somewhere nice of two to three shorter sectors.
Probably work for the Foreign Office or as a journalist. I’m fascinated by geopolitics and ensuring that people are always fed correct information.
Reading or writing (I write articles for a few travel publications and run my own blog).
Roadtrip or cruise? Roadtrip
Ski or beach? Beach (but I do love skiing).
Citybreak or weekend in the country? Countryside – I live in central London.
Planner or spontaneous traveller? Both – the harder places to visit require planning but my natural spirit screams spontaneous.
Backpacker or luxury hotels? Both. I travelled extensively when I was younger which I was only able to do because of backpacking, and you meet more people, but I work hard enough to enjoy a little bit of luxury every now and then.
Kindle or paperbacks? Paperbacks
Sunrise hike or sunset cocktails? Sunrise hike
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack – have you ever tried walking across a plank to get onto a ferry with a suitcase?
Thanks to Geri for answering my questions, you can find her links below. As always, I’m away at summer Camp in the US at the moment so any shares would be much appreciated! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram here and I’m also on Pinterest too!
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.