Goway’s Aubrey Schmidt lives in Orangeville, ON, but these days he’s not sure if he has a fixed address.
“I’m a BDM and it’s fall. I was sitting on a plane Saturday night, returning from a travel show in Thunder Bay. I was in Sarnia on Monday, London on Tuesday, Oakville on Wednesday and get this … wait for it … wait for it … I’m now in Bali!” says Schmidt, one of three Business Development Managers (BDM) that represent Goway Travel in Canada.
When he’s not representing Goway’s destinations in Western Ontario and the Maritimes, or representing APT (Australian Pacific Touring) on behalf of Goway throughout North America, Schmidt can be found cycling, playing baseball, snowboarding, snowmobiling, working out or perfecting his Tim Tam Slam (“For those that don't know what that is, I'll show ya sometime,” he says).
Here, PAX checks in with the high-energy travel pro to chat about bungee jumping in New Zealand, that time he appeared on a British game show, and the fluffy item he never leaves home without.
PAX: How did you get into the travel business?
AS (Aubrey Schmidt): It's actually a funny story. Twenty-three years ago I was a backpacker in LA, when a bunch of us from the hostel went to Venice Beach one day. Well, there was this girl, blah blah blah, she worked for APT in Australia, yada yada yada, she hooked me up with a job in Toronto and I never saw her again. True story. And look at me now! That job with APT was my first "real" job after university.
PAX: What are three essential items you always travel with?
AS: OK, don't laugh. I'm like that five-year-old girl that walks into the hotel with her pillow from home. Yes, it's true. I never leave home without my pillow. There's not a single hotel in existence that doesn't use over-stuffed pillows. Number two item has to be my protein powder and shaker cup. And last but not least, number three is definitely my PAX magazine!
PAX: You’re too kind! What are some of your favourite vacation spots?
AS: For those that know me, this will not come as a huge surprise. The South Pacific is my number one for a long list of reasons. The Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, Fraser Island, Tasmania, Whitehaven Beach, Kangaroo Island, the Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, over-the-water bungalows in Bora Bora, Atutaki, Fiji, just to name a few. I love the weather, the wildlife and the people. Want me to continue?
PAX: What’s your favourite airport and why?
AS: Wow, tough question. If I had to pick, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport definitely ranks up there. Size does matter: the smaller the better. It's just such a quick process to board your flight.
PAX: What was the first vacation you ever took?
AS: My first vacation was a backpacking trip to Hawaii at the age of twenty-three. I arrived to the hostel late at night and went straight to bed. I woke up and thought I was dreaming. I had no idea the dorm rooms were co-ed because it was pitch dark in the room when I arrived. I thought I was dreaming when I awoke to two beautiful young Danish girls in my room! Ha. Yep, definitely memorable!
PAX: What’s the biggest splurge you’ve ever made on a trip?
AS: I'm definitely more about experiences than "things" so my biggest splurge was probably my latest $250 bungee jump in New Zealand. It was a far cry from my first jump when I jumped tandem. I was tied together with another jumper - it was half price!
PAX: What’s the most memorable food/meal you ever eaten on a trip?
AS: The Sounds of Silence Dinner at Ayers Rock in Australia was beyond memorable! Forty-five minutes before sunset we were taken out to the desert to dine under the most amazing blanket of stars I have ever seen. After trying kangaroo and crocodile meat, we were treated to an informative talk by an astronomer. We even had the chance to try out a couple telescopes (I saw the rings around planets!).
PAX: What’s your biggest travel pet peeve?
AS: Why, why, why do hotels insist on having three pillows stuffed into one? Makes no sense!
PAX: Checked bag or carry-on?
AS: Checked every time. I really have no choice with my travelling pillow plus that thick PAX magazine!
PAX: Again, you’re too kind! What's your funniest travel anecdote?
AS: Twenty-five years ago my buddy and I had a rather eventful New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia. Last year I was flown to London, England to appear on a British game show to recount that New Year’s story. Google "Would I Lie To You Aubrey" for a laugh. My flat mate Lee Mack has become a famous British celebrity. He will have your readers in stitches!
PAX: What should travel agents be aware of right now in regards to Goway?
AS: Remember, Goway's air department is more than just air to the South Pacific. We have more than 150 airline contracts and we want to be your airline consolidator of choice! In fact, our number one air-only destination is Europe. Use our online booking engine, you'll be glad you did! Secondly, the new APT 19/20 brochure has just left the printer and should arrive any day. Don't forget to order your copy. Remember, I will do over the phone or in-person consultations to help you close that APT sale.
PAX: What do you love about working in the travel industry?
AS: I love sharing my passion for travel with others that share the same passion!