Abi Tugwell TOGETHER
Abi Tugwell

Despite a childhood fear of travelling, Abi Tugwell went on to enjoy a career in the Royal Navy before joining Inntravel’s Holiday Operations team as a rail expert. Here, she explains how a trip to Hull changed everything...

When I was younger, I was terrified of travelling, to such an extent that even when we had to go somewhere in the car, my long-suffering parents would always have to keep me quiet by giving me the map so I could follow our route, turn by turn. Even that didn’t stop me asking them every half an hour or so if we were lost! My dad always used to say ‘yes, we are’ – which I don’t think helped.

So when my grandma came back from a Tarot card reading with the prophecy that one day I was going to travel the world, my parents both laughed and said it would never happen.

Well, how wrong they were. At the tender age of 18 – after an impromptu trip to Hull – I returned home and announced to my flabbergasted parents that I had enlisted in the Royal Navy. Yes, I’d run away to sea! This was in October 2003, and, after a teary goodbye, I hopped aboard the train to Plymouth and embarked upon the most wonderful adventure I’ve ever had. Admittedly, is was also one of the hardest (and coldest) things I’d ever done – take a word of advice, don’t ever join the forces in winter!

The outcome was that I did get to travel the world (well, around the Baltic, through the Mediterranean and all around the coast of the UK). I got to visit places I had only dreamed of and many of which I’d only ever heard of while watching the Eurovision Song Contest. Most of them where awe-inspiring and brilliantly beautiful and I know that at some time in the future I must go back to see them again.

The next big decision came six-and-a-half years later when I left the Navy. Now what do I do?

I had learned a lot of skills while in the Navy, but I wasn’t sure how they would translate in ‘Civvy Street’. After all, what call is there for someone who can splice ropes, tie lots of knots and clear underwater mines...

Fortunately, I came across Inntravel who were looking for someone to join their Customer Services team, and despite Yorkshire having few problems with underwater mines, I got the job and the rest is history.

It’s been a thoroughly satisfying experience, initially in Customer Services, sorting out queries and solving any problems that may arise; and then moving over to the Operations Admin team, looking after the all-important behind-the-scenes parts of the business. I have since trained as a rail specialist and have never looked back.

I wasn’t sure that I would ever find a job as rewarding as life in the Navy, but if anything I think I have found a career I love even more!