GoAbroad Interview

Jess Ormsby - Ultimate Tour Leader

Jess Ormsby - Ultimate Tour Leader

Jess is originally from London, England, but has been living, working, and traveling around Australia for a year, and absolutely loves it! Before moving to Australia, she worked at a summer camp in America. She decided to make a change and move abroad because she had always wanted to come to Australia, and explore the many amazing destinations she had read about and meet the some of the world’s friendliest people! Although she planned to explore Australia for six months, she is starting her second year visa and has no plans of going home anytime soon.

You recently joined the Ultimate Travel team rather recently. What attracted you to the company?

Back in November 2014, I spent my first week in Australia taking part in the UltimateOz program. I arrived a day early and spent most of that day on my own wondering if I had made the right choice to leave my comfortable life in England and move to the other side of the world. Those fears were completely erased as soon as my tour guides bounced into the hostel reception to greet the group!

Throughout the week their enthusiasm was infectious, they had an answer for every question, and they knew all the best places to go out in Sydney! On top of that, the staff in the Ultimate headquarters were so supportive and welcoming every time I went into the office; I knew I had nothing to worry about. I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of that team, helping new arrival backpackers feel as comfortable in Australia as I did after my first week.

Woman barbecuing on a catamaran cruise boat

Cooking the snags on the barbie on our weekly catamaran cruise!

What inspired you to work in the travel industry?

I’d never considered working in the travel industry until I started traveling myself. Experiencing so many new beautiful and exciting places was really inspiring, and what better way to get the inside info on the best places to go see than to work in the industry! Working with Ultimate gives me the added bonus of meeting and spending time with new people from all over the world every week. Even though I am based full time in Sydney, I still get to experience new cultures and learn new things from members of the groups every week. Plus, making all these new friends gives me new destinations all over the world to travel to in the future!

What is the most unique aspect of traveling with Ultimate Travel?

When you sign up for a tour with Ultimate Travel you get a lot more than just an amazing trip. Specifically, with the UltimateOz package, the most unique aspect is the continued support throughout your stay in Australia. You could be six months into your adventure, and halfway across Australia, and you could still send us an email or call us in the office for advice about traveling, which hostel to stay in or even what jobs are available in that area. It sounds cheesy, but once you’ve taken part in an Ultimate tour you become part of the Ultimate family. I get Facebook messages from friends that were in groups I ran five months ago asking travel questions and sending updates on their adventures! I love hearing what they’ve experienced and how much they’re loving Australia.

Beach part at Bacecamp in Australia

Beach party at Basecamp with an awesome crew

As a tour guide, how do you help participants prepare for and enjoy their time abroad?

As tour guides, we are always aiming to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for the new arrivals in the group. I love seeing the difference in peoples' confidence from their first day to the end of the week! Allowing people to be themselves and make connections with the other people in the group is so important and we play a big part in that. Obviously using our own experiences to answer any questions and giving general advice about traveling and working in Australia is also one of the main things we do. Even answering unlikely questions, like “how much vegemite is appropriate on toast?”, helps backpackers get the right start to their Australian adventure!

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

There’s no such thing as a typical day working for Ultimate! Activities change on a daily basis, it’s definitely an action packed week! One day is spent cruising round the harbour with the group on our private catamaran, another day we’re enjoying the stunning views on the Coogee to Bondi coastal walk, the next we’re heading up the coast to Port Stephens for a couple of days filled with sandboarding, a mountain walk, and a dolphin spotting cruise. In the evenings we’re also fitting in pizza parties, beer pong tournaments, and the best bar crawl in Sydney!

Even though we run the same activities every week, the experiences I have are always changing. Every group is a different mix of personalities, and that means every week is completely different and exciting.

Jumping photo of friends at Basecamp in Australia

Perfecting the jumping photo after sandboarding at Basecamp!

What makes you passionate about travel?

Constantly exploring new places and experiencing new things is so exciting! The more I travel, the longer my bucket list of places to see gets! Traveling forces you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time! I’m currently trying to convince myself that doing a skydive is a good idea, despite the fact I feel sick every time I think about it. Another side of traveling is the people that you meet along the way. I love meeting new people and I genuinely learn something new every day from the people that I meet.

Why is Australia a great travel destination?

One of the best things about Australia as a travel destination is the diversity that it offers. Every new place you go to you can have a completely different landscape and experience. There are so many unique destinations in Australia: Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven beach, the Sydney Opera House, just to name a few!

A huge plus for first time backpackers is the welcoming nature of the Australian culture. Everyone is so friendly here that it is easy to feel comfortable very quickly. Another positive is how close Australia is to other backpacker destination countries. Australia is a great place to start traveling and build confidence before moving on to experience other places, such as Thailand and Vietnam.

UtlimateOz staff members

Ultimate Legends on our weekly catamaran

What is the best part about working for Ultimate Travel?

The best part about working for Ultimate Travel is meeting new people every week and sharing the amazing things Australia has to offer with them. I love hearing about the adventures that people from the groups are having and trading stories with them. I also love working with such an amazing team. It’s rare to work with a team that has so much fun together at work every single day! We are the Ultimate family!