Julie Hadall, 34


Regional travel sales manager


pounds 21,000 package


St Albans, Herts

Right, take me on a tour of your career.

I used to be a travel rep. I worked all over the place - Greece, Turkey, India, Spain, The Gambia and Tunisia. I worked my way up, becoming a resort manager, which involved more and more work with the business and contract side and less involvement with the public. After eight years abroad I've got the sort of dream job everyone in the travel industry wants: a base in the UK but still getting to travel abroad.

Clever clogs. What's so special about your job then?

These days I work for a specialist travel firm which offers holidays in Cyprus and Greece. It's my job to get as many travel agents and holidaymakers interested in our product as possible. Most of the time I travel around popping into travel agents and organising presentations at some of the regional airports we use. We also take agents out to visit the resorts and facilities. These trips are called educationals - I love them. It's not all work and no play - often we're out until the early hours of the morning.

I hope you have to get up horrendously early.

It all depends where I have to go. The job involves a lot of driving, something like 30,000 miles a year. I might have to hit the road at five in the morning...

Ah, shame.

Mmm. If I'm going to the office I will set two alarms for 7.30. I keep them far away from me so I have to get up and can't push them away - I like my extra minutes. I have a nice cup of tea and listen to Virgin Radio. It gets you giggling and sets you up for the day. If I'm visiting an area far away I will stay in a hotel and get in as many visits as possible - I was pleasantly surprised to discover how welcoming travel agency staff are. I quite enjoy the driving but it takes up a lot of time, especially traffic jams and the M25 nightmare. I've just changed cars - I've got a Golf, which is nippy, and a dream to drive. I've got friends scattered across the country so I can meet up with them in the evenings rather than just being stuck in a hotel, which can be lonely.

So where's the place you call home?

I rent a one-bedroom flat in St Albans. I'm playing house at the moment and doing things like growing herbs. It's nice to have a proper base. The flat is lovely - it's bright and airy. After years of coming home for a few weeks in winter when everything's grey it's a novelty to experience the British sunshine.

Surely you're not saying you enjoy British weather?

Well, yes, in summer! You see the country completely differently. People are different when they're on holiday. As a woman abroad you can walk into any bar on your own. You can't do that here. There is so much in the newspapers about violence and danger that for a while I became a bit paranoid and slept with a knife under my bed. Maybe you have a false sense of safety when abroad. But I enjoy the good old country pubs and having Sunday lunch in them. It's lovely to know that my family isn't too far away as well.

And, perhaps, that special someone?

Stop digging! Actually, I always choose the career over the guy - staying in a relationship would have meant returning to the UK before I was ready. There's so much going on you can't imagine settling down and having children. It's only when you get back to Britain that you're made to feel the odd one out. Living abroad you have a different outlook. But now that I'm back in the country who knows what's around the corner? What will be will be.

Very stoic. Perhaps you'll meet the man of your dreams on holiday this year.

Well, I'm going to Greece for a couple of weeks so you never know. Actually, from a holiday point of view, I'd really like to go back to India and spend some time there. Last time I drove over a cow which you just don't do. There are so many places I'd love to see. It's just a question of time.

Libra Holidays Group (tel: 0181 275 0955).