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Meet our staff - Geordie Tennant

30-Dec-2017

Geordie Tennant on Lord Howe Island

Geordie joined Pinetrees mid-season in 2016, and as a late substitute, we were worried that the girl from the south coast of NSW wouldn’t cut it with our European superstars. We’d never had staff like Pia, Lara, Kathi and Yasmim and our track record with Aussie girls was hit and miss. But you know what? Geordie raised the bar. Her ten years in Europe taught her about genuine personal service, but underneath that, she’s a south coast girl from Batemans Bay (sorry, South Durras) who loves bands, yoga and the occasional sledge. Geordie is now our number two, and spends plenty of time in charge of the place.

Geordie is a serious soul – she’s a professional writer and editor after all – but give her a bit of a prod, and she’ll return the warmest smile on offer at Pinetrees. She’s also our sportiest member of staff, and we love it when her mum visits and conducts intensive tennis clinics in front of, well, everybody - “front foot to the ball Georgina, and remember to follow through”. How embarrassed does Geordie get? Very.

Geordie is a beautiful writer, and is the lead author on our new creative project - The Lord Howe Guide. You’ll read plenty of her articles over the next 12 months as she explores our special places by foot, bike, snorkel, kayak, SUP, surfboard and rope - she’s that kind of girl.

Where are you from?
South Durras on the south east coast of NSW, surrounded by lake, sea and bush. I loved growing up there, it was paradise for a kid.

Where did you go to high school?
Batemans Bay High School

What did you do for fun as a teenager?
My teenage years were filled with beach days, camping, BBQs, and hanging out at the lake - canoeing or on the lake swing. During winter, we’d often spend weekends down at the snow. I also played loads of sports, particularly softball and waterpolo, and was always involved in some sort of club.

Of course, there were the usual small town teenage shenanigans once we all started to get our P plates and our older siblings turned 18, but not quite the right material for a staff profile though.

Where did you go to university and what did you study?
I studied Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney.

What did you do in your spare time at university?
I was obsessed with music and poured all my spare cash (which wasn’t a whole lot) into attending gigs. I also escaped to the South Coast whenever I could. I struggled living in the hectic pace of the city – my heart belonged to the more tranquil coast.

List the countries you’ve travelled to:
New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, The UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Germany, Italy, America, Slovakia, India and Egypt. The more I travel, the more my bucket list grows…

Which countries have you lived in for longer than 6 months? I lived in Edinburgh in Scotland for four years, and absolutely loved it. Eventually though, the cold, grey weather got to me so I moved to sunnier Spain and lived in the Balearic Islands, in Ibiza, for almost six years.

What languages do you speak?
I speak very terrible Spanish.

Tell a story about an unforgettable travel adventure you’ve had:
One of my favourite destinations that I’ve travelled to is Tromso, a small city in the north of Norway, inside the Arctic Circle. Despite its size and remote location, it’s a university city with a surprisingly active nightlife and energetic vibe to it. I was there in February - wintertime - when the sun doesn’t fully rise above the horizon. As such, the town had this constant dusky hue over it, which added to its storybook atmosphere. One night, I went husky sledding through the outer regions of Tromso, surrounded by icy fjords and craggy peaks. It was such a rush. Afterwards, we warmed up in a traditional Sami hut, ate reindeer soup and watched the Northern Lights above. It was such a spectacular experience, one which I’ll never forget.

Tell a story about a funny situation you’ve had while travelling:
My folks were coming to visit me in Spain and I’d convinced them to meet me in Morocco for a week first. I’d organised for us to camel trek out to the Sahara to spend a night in a Bedouin camp. That evening, we experienced one of the worst sand storms they’d seen in years. We crunched through a sandy couscous for dinner and were slashed by sand all night long, not sleeping a wink. We rose before sunset to find our camp had nearly disappeared beneath the dunes and the camels had wandered off in the night. It took several hours to track them down, but we eventually got on our way back to civilisation – exhausted, hungry and ridiculously sandy. We remained in pretty good spirits, laughing throughout the experience, but it was essentially a complete disaster. I was getting sand out of my ears and hairs for days afterwards, and I’d be quite happy if I never rode a camel again. It’s an outright myth that it’s an enjoyable way to travel.

What other jobs have you had?
My jobs have been pretty varied and certainly don’t follow a clear ‘career path’. I was editorial assistant and then writer for a trashy Australian magazine, which I won’t mention the title of. I also worked for one of the UK’s first search agencies, bigmouthmedia, which would eventually merge with LBi, the UK’s largest digital marketing agency at the time. That was pretty exciting to be involved in such a creative industry going through so much change and growth.

In Spain, I was Sales and Marketing Manager for a luxury villa rental agency which certainly had it’s highlights. I also worked as a freelance writer for Ibiza Style magazine. I got to attend some pretty fantastic events in Ibiza and also interview some of the world’s top DJs, which was interesting.

My favourite job, however, was managing a record store when I was 19. In my head, it was like being in Empire Records and I was in heaven. We had a lot of fun.

What got you interested in hospitality?
I’ve dipped in and out of hospitality throughout my working life and have always enjoyed it. I get a kick out of meeting and connecting with new, interesting people, even if it’s only for a few passing days.

I also love working with good people, and I’ve found that in the hospitality jobs I’ve held, my colleagues all tended to be positive, lively people, with interesting stories to tell.

The perks can be amazing too. In Scotland, I worked for a while in The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel. As an employee, we could stay in other Rocco Forte hotels in Europe for next to nothing. I spent four nights at the Hotel De Russie in Rome for less than hostel prices – it was such luxury.

What’s your perfect job?
If I could find a job that incorporated building or producing something, being adventurous in the great outdoors, and that gave me a sense of empowerment and independence, I’d be pretty satisfied.

How do you spend your spare time?
Get me out into nature on a trail run or hike, or take me into the sea, and I’m happy. That’s why I love my spare time on Lord Howe – the place lends itself to being outdoorsy and adventurous. When my energy is low, I’ll have my nose stuck in a book. I’m a bookworm with usually three or four books on the go at any one time.

Tell me something that other people find interesting about you?
I think people who meet me are always a little surprised I lived in Ibiza for so long. I’m far from the club-crazed types that often holiday there. I lived in the north, which has a very chilled, bohemian atmosphere and is far less frenetic than the island’s party side. People seem interested in learning about this ‘other side’ to Ibiza, and I love sharing it.

What have you done (even something really small…..) for humanity?
I’m a vegetarian, a choice I made partly for environmental reasons so I consider that as my little way of being a bit kinder to the world. I do make an occasional donation to charity too, but I know there is a lot more I want to, should and will one day do.

Meet our staff - Pia Funch


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