Travel Counsellor Cathie O’Dea will swap bookings for baubles when she retires next month after 48 years in the industry.
O’Dea retires on 6 September after reaching pension age and setting up an online business, The Baubleist, selling her own handicrafts and greetings cards.
She made the decision to leave travel after a recent hospital stay amid the difficult business environment. “It wasn’t going too well with Brexit anyway and I think Covid just pushed it over the edge,” she said.
O’Dea started as a trainee with Kennings car hire’s business travel offshoot in 1972 and later joined Pickfords and British Airways, but spent almost half her career at Thomas Cook.
Based in London’s Notting Hill, her spell at Travel Counsellors has lasted 14 years.
“Even going back to my first job, I’m still in touch with good friends,” she said, adding she had “very few regrets” about her career.
Despite her move into handicrafts, O’Dea does not plan to quit travel altogether.
“I might do some itinerary planning, that’s what I’ve enjoyed doing – the selling side has just got so difficult now; I’d be quite happy working as a consultant.”