"In my student life, I found that it was important to enjoy the social life, while being on top of my studies. There were times when the workload became a little overwhelming, but I can honestly say that it was worth the effort.
After leaving University, I decided to take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel the world, without the worries of my own family or work commitments. It was a truly wonderful experience and allowed me to fulfil all of my youthful aspirations of exploring unfamiliar cultures. After six months of travelling, I returned to England ready to fight for a job in the highly competitive work market in London. However, after working part-time for The Times newspaper as a researcher, I was offered the chance to work as a journalist for a magazine in Barcelona. My Spanish degree at Southampton provided me with more than enough knowledge of the language to be able to get by in Spain.
My journalistic work inspired the idea to set up my own company in Barcelona. My idea was to sell a tourist guide, called Love Barcelona, to the 4 and 5 star hotels in the city. I contacted the Barcelona Hotel Association and informed them of my plans and then went individually to all of the hotels to see if they would be interested in the idea. I managed to convince over 35 hotel directors to buy 70,000 copies of the guide, even before I had written a single word. It took me and a small team, including my Spanish girlfriend, four months of intensive work to produce the guide, covering every aspect of the city.
We currently publish 700,000 copies of an annual guide which has information on restaurants, bars, tourist routes, excursions and shopping as well as a monthly guide which contains more up-to-date information. The idea is that the two guides combine to provide an extensive insight into Barcelona and its thriving culture. The hotels distribute the guide in their rooms or personally offer them to clients at reception. As a result of our initial success, we have invested a sizeable amount of money in our website www.lovebarcelona.com. It includes the contents from our two guides and is updated regularly with new information. It also provides visitors with a detailed analysis of the city, to help them plan their stay in Barcelona.
I have always had a confident and extrovert character. But I feel that my time at Southampton genuinely helped me to grow as a person and provided me with inner confidence. Although the company is very young, I believe that it has the potential to grow. Who knows – perhaps one day I will do the Love Southampton guide."