My family has a background in travel and tourism, but the path I took to my job was very different. I studied theology.
The school I went to taught theology and had a great reputation for it. I was always quite good at it so I ended up studying the subject at Hull University. I really enjoyed, and it helped that the lectures were only three hours a week, as I could do other things. I left with a first-class honours degree.
Like most courses, it didn’t lead to a job in the same area and 99% of the people on the course didn’t go into a theological vocation. Like me, they went on to do something else.
Me being Vic the vicar? I don’t think so. But studying a subject like that really broadened my mind at an early age. I learnt about all sorts of religions and it’s stood me in good stead for life.
I joined Interactive Communications after finishing university. It was the first Internet service provider in the country. There were only three of us there when it all started.
I went to London and started looking for a job. It was at the time when the Internet was in its embryonic stage and no-one really knew much about it. I had been thinking about a job in new media.
In 1997, we sold the business and it was at that point I met Mark Jones and we started working on a business plan for the Online Travel Corporation. We sold it to Lastminute.com in 2004. So my route to the travel industry was really though new media, rather than directly.
I love working in an industry I’m passionate about. Everyone really seems to care a lot about the travel business and feel strongly about issues which is how it should be.
There are downsides to this sector too, though. I don’t like dealing with legacy systems that make it frustrating to do business with people. There are also a lot of old-school attitudes out there, which is annoying.
There used to be a huge amount of friction about online travel agents in the early days. The press barely covered it when it was first emerging.
It is difficult to get the right work/life balance in this business. I like to think weekends are sacred but I often cannot resist checking my Blackberry when I am at home.
We are a 24/7 business and there are times when the website may be down and I have to deal with that.
I can’t just totally switch off. But I know how to cope with this now. I have learnt to deal with a work issue and action it and then forget all about it straightaway.
The happiest moment of my life has got to be when my son Zach, now two, was born. We’ve got Joshua as well now. He’s just a few months old so there isn’t much sleeping in my household.
I find it hard to find a balance looking after the kids, working a full day, and attending travel functions in the evening. Luckily, my wife doesn’t work so that helps enormously. It is hard to spend enough time in the right places, but it can be achieved.
My family has run a 170-apartment hotel in San Antonio, Ibiza, for a long time. I spent the first seven years of my life there when it was only hippies and arty types that holidayed there. It was nothing like the place it is today.
I always thought that when I grew up I would be involved in the hotel in some way. I am one of five brothers and it was always going to go to me or one of my brothers to run. As it is, one of my brothers is in charge but I knew I would get involved in tourism one way or another.
Life has taught me to value family and be grateful when things are going well and everyone is healthy. I have had a number of personal tragedies in my life and that has helped me focus when the going is good and appreciate it.
Lowdown on Vic Darvey
Marital status: married to Jules. Two children: Zach, two, and Joshua, 10 weeks.
Getting any sleep? No
Drives: Audi A6
Favourite film: Raging Bull
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Last CD bought: Franz Ferdinand
Hobbies: rugby; spending time with the kids, family and friends; London living
Holidays: visiting the family in Ibiza four to five times a year
Football team: Brighton and Hove Albion
Favourite destination: Pemba Island, Tanzania
Likes: a smiling face
Dislikes: people who lack passion
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