Interview with Laura Cole (@tidesandtailwinds)

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

Well, I grew up in a small town hungry to see the world, but uncertain how to go about making a living out of it. My first exposure to the luxury travel industries was on a college spring break trip to the Caribbean, where I had a chance encounter with a group of “yachties,” (which is the industry term for yacht crew). I was fascinated by their lifestyle – traveling the world on a luxury superyacht for a living – it seemed completely unreal. After college graduation, a few unfulfilling corporate jobs, and some tumultuous life events, I found my way back to the yachting industry that fascinated me so much on that trip to the Caribbean. Over the next few years, I cruised my way around the Bahamas, Caribbean, and New England, eventually working my way up to chief stew on a beautiful charter yacht.

I was then introduced to the Private Jets industry by an old friend and former crewmate who recently started working as a VVIP flight attendant herself. This industry fascinated me just as much as the superyacht industry did because private aviation still allows you to see the world for a living, but grants you some more personal freedoms and a home base to return to between trips. Within a few months, I completed my training, learned the industry, and started putting myself out there for VIP flight attendant jobs. I continue to work on a private jet flight team to this day and absolutely love it.

I realize that I’ve had a very blessed, exciting, niche, and to many – desirable career, but I also realize that I’ve only had these amazing jobs in luxury travel because I knew they existed and I had guidance on how to attain them. I created Tides & Tailwinds, the world’s first and only career guidance platform for VIP service jobs on Superyachts & Private Jets, to provide others with the same opportunities I’ve been so lucky to have.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

Gosh, traveling the world with VIPs gives you NO shortage of interesting stories. I’ve taken celebrities swimming with pigs in the Exumas, dressed up in pirate costumes with billionaires for theme parties, got invited to hang in the pits of Petit Le Mans, got paid to stay in a personal waterfront bungalow in the Maldives, the list goes on. It’s too difficult to pick just one.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

I think overall people come to these jobs fairly prepared for the physical “burnout” knowing the long, active hours we work, but they underestimate the MENTAL burnout. I’ve seen too many colleagues put so much pressure and stress on themselves because of the caliber of clients we work for, and this stress can be incredibly draining. I find there’s a trickle-down effect with not “sweating the small stuff.” Keep positive, make mistakes, learn from them, grow, appreciate the good moments, and move past the bad. Keeping mental energy-positive helps prevent physical burnout. …With the addition of copious amounts of caffeine.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

Absolutely! And that’s particularly relevant in these industries. I’m truly grateful to everybody that I’ve worked with and for, but I think I owe my greatest gratitude to the people who took the time to educate me on these jobs, and those who took their chances on me coming in green. My first Superyacht captain brought me on with absolutely no boating experience and taught me the ins and outs of the job and industry from the ground up. My first freelance Private Jet flight was offered to me by a pilot who simply said “you seem cool and we all need our first break,” and a few months later my first full-time VIP flight attendant job was offered to me by an account who knew I was still a very inexperienced flyer, but who appreciated my hunger to learn. It’s those defining people and those defining moments that I credit to being where I am.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

I’m fully aware that my career has given me a very “selfish” life that I’m incredibly grateful for. I try to express this gratitude with kindness and generosity at every opportunity, knowing full well that people out there deserve this amazing life more than myself. That said, I haven’t done nearly enough and look forward to giving back in much more tangible ways moving forward.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

I think my favorite quote of all time is from the Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

“For what it’s worth, it’s never too late, or in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

I’m where I am today because of a series of life transformations, and that quote has been relevant to all of them.

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

Most of our social media interaction is on Instagram @tidesandtailwinds.

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