Nov 17, 2010

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Travel Q+A with Apprentice Winner Lee McQueen

Lee McQueen 1After two successful years working with Lord Sugar, Apprentice winner Lee McQueen has just launched his first solo business venture – Raw Talent Academy (www.rawtalentacademy.com).

Raw Talent Academy aims to provide SME’s and corporate organisations with the vehicle to build internal sales academies into long term staffing plans and to encourage organisations to look at the wider raw talent we have in the UK and not just graduates. As part of the business Lee also offers training to existing sales staff in addition to public and motivational speaking.

We recently caught up with Lee to see how he enjoys spending his time when he’s not working and where he likes to go to get away from it all.

TS – Are holidays important to you?
LM – Absolutely. Holidays are hugely important to me. I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively. Ten years ago me and my now wife travelled round the world. These days we try to get away at least three or four time a year – my passport is well stamped!

The Maldives - one of Lee's favourite destinations

The Maldives - one of Lee's favourite destinations

TS – Where is your favourite holiday destination?
LM – I have a few to be honest. Our honeymoon in the Maldives last year was amazing, equally Fiji was fantastic. I also love activity holidays, we travelled round Australia and New Zealand in a camper van a few years back.

TS – Have you ever had a holiday disaster? If so, where was it?
LM – YES! We were booked to go to Goa, India. All packed, we turn up at the airport to check in and were asked by the lady behind the desk “where’s your visa?” Having already travelled around India for two months a while back, for which we did have visas, we just assumed we wouldn’t need one for a week’s holiday. As we had the time booked off work the only thing we could do was to head to an internet station, put in a pound coin and search for a last minute holiday! We ended up getting a very late deal to Sharm el Sheik, Egypt!

TS – What is your favourite cuisine and where was the nicest meal you have had whilst on holiday?
LM – I’ve been to Italy a few times, to Rome and Milan, and loved the food there. I love pasta, bolognese, and generally enjoy the Mediterranean way of eating. Similar to tapas in Spain, I enjoy the social side of eating and picking what you want.

TS – Where has been the most expensive destination you have been to?
LM – Our honeymoon was the most expensive holiday I have been on. We went to the Maldives and bolted on a three night stay in Dubai. Honeymoon aside, we always fly economy, (with British Airways where possible) and tend to stay in very nice hotels. We won’t stay in less than a 5 star resort.

Lee visited Dubai as part of his honeymoon

Lee visited Dubai as part of his honeymoon

TS – Do you tend to take your work phone or laptop away with you when on holiday?
LM – I don’t always take the laptop, but I definitely always have my Blackberry! My wife and I are off to Antigua next week and we will both be on the beach with our Blackberries!

TS – Work aside, what three things can’t you travel without? (excluding your passport!)?
LM – My iPod. I have to have music with me wherever I go. Even on safari in Kenya I had it with me – it’s a must.  I also have to take my male grooming products. I like to keep tidy even when on holiday. Lastly, I always take at least one gym kit. I’m not saying I always use it but I always take one with me.

The Inca Trail - still on Lee's holiday wishlist

The Inca Trail - still on Lee's holiday wishlist

TS – Is there anywhere left on your holiday wish list?
LM – Yes. I’ve never been to South America, I’d love to do the Inca Trail. I’ve seen some of Asia but not yet been to China, Japan or Hong Kong. Often the time of year I tend to go on holiday can influence where we go. November, December and January are the typical months for us and the Caribbean and South East Asia are great at that time and so that’s inevitably where we end up. I’ve still to see much of Europe. I’d really like to visit somewhere in Eastern Europe in July or August.

TS – Who would you most like to sit next to on a long haul flight?
LM – I would quite like to sit next to Cheryl Cole! Or someone like Bob Marley. Imagine flying Heathrow to Jamaica next to him – that would have been cool!

Lee McQueen

Lee would have liked to have sat next to wailer Bob Marley on a long haul flight

TS – And who would you least like to sit next to?!
LM – My worse nightmare would be to be sitting in economy next to someone who is overweight, smells and continues to eat, dropping crumbs everywhere! I am someone who puts personal hygiene at the top of their agenda!

TS – Do you think space travel will be the next big thing? And would you like to go?!
LM – I know space travel will be the next big thing. I have a friend who works in Space Port America and I know Virgin have already started taking bookings. For you and I though, in our lifetimes, who knows? It might be too expensive? I’m not sure I’d do it myself? Maybe if I won a competition or was invited for free I might?!

TS – What is your favourite type of holiday? City break, ski break, resort based sunshine break or something more adventurous?
LM – Definitely sunshine. I love having sand between my toes, the sun on my back. I also enjoy relaxing in the day, maybe doing a bit of scuba diving or reading a book, then I like to socialise in the evenings.

TS – Tell us five things you love about travelling
LM -
1.    The sun.
2.    Quality time with my wife.
3.    Just relaxing and recharging my batteries. I enjoy using the hotel spas and having massages.
4.    Socialising – not worrying about life at home and leaving all my worries behind.
5.    Just generally building good memories, taking photos of where we’ve been.

TS – What annoys you most about booking a holiday / travelling?
LM – We are a nightmare when it comes to booking! It takes us weeks! Every night we do the searching – checking times, places, areas, etc. We always really do our research before we book. It takes ages to understand where to go. I like recommendations, they are really helpful. To coincide everything is a mission!

TS – Are you any good at haggling for a good price when booking your holiday? Do you always get a good deal or is price irrelevant when it comes to holidays?
LM – Price is relevant, absolutely. I hardly ever book a package holiday. I try to book separates and put something together myself. I do manage to get some deals. The best one was probably on a holiday to the Bahamas. We went with Sandals and managed to get an upgrade on our room. I told them I was planning to propose to my girlfriend and the suite they gave us was fantastic! We even had a butler!

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Images in this post are used under the creative commons licence and are sourced from the following authours at flickr:

Maldives – Nattu
Inca Trail – Emmanuel Dyan

  1. Chris White says:

    I remember Lee McQueen, he was actually one of the more genuine people on the Apprentice and good to see he’s prospered in life after the Apprentice – surprised he didnt mention pterodactyl spotting in this Q&A! Funny moment.

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