Just to introduce myself, my name is Cillian Mulligan. I’m 22 years old and born and raised in the small border town of Dundalk, Ireland.
What am I doing in India, I hear you ask?
Well, currently I am plying my trade forJameson Irish Whiskey as the brand ambassador across South India & Sri Lanka. This sees me spend most of my time in Bangalore, where I am based. But I also travel to Hyderabad, Chennai, Colombo and everywhere in between almost weekly.
My role is quite varied in that it can see me doing anything from training bartenders, hosting whiskey tastings, to holding afternoon cocktail workshops and even getting in behind the bar for one-night-only takeovers. Or as I was once told, I am Jameson-on-legs spreading the word of John Jameson and the love for the world’s number 1 Irish whiskey!
I guess there were two main factors which motivated me in applying for this job. Firstly, my love for Irish whiskey and secondly (and probably most importantly), was the opportunity to travel and work in an entirely new culture and challenge myself. My love for travel and new experiences first began in my college years where I studied a Bachelor of Commerce in the National University of Ireland, Galway and completed a semester studying abroad in Dijon, France.
During my Summers off, I was lucky enough to spend some time working in Chicago as a sales representative for North America’s largest cruise ship provider, had a stint as a door-to-door salesman in Vancouver and even taught English to kids in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for a summer! So, I guess you can say I’m up for a challenge.
During my busy periods, I can sometimes find myself flying up to 5 times per week, and I’ve managed to pick up a few really simple tips which have helped me to manage my time better. Firstly, pack light! This is probably the most obvious but important part and will save you major stress in transferring to and from airports.
If at all possible, just carry a cabin bag and backpack to save time waiting for checked-in luggage. It can also be a good idea to invest in a suitcase set as there is nothing worse than dragging around an old suitcase with dodgy wheels slowing you down (believe me I know!).
Secondly, if the flights are booked through your business, request to be booked in the first few rows to ensure you can be last on and first off the plane. Who knows, you may even get extra leg room! This will give you extra time in the airport to catch up on any last minute work or check your emails before you are cut off from the WiFi.
The third thing is making sure you have everything prepared for the flight. Personally, I like to have my laptop and phone, fully charged so I can use the time waiting at the airport to catch up on some work, even if there are no powerpoints available.
Investing in a good power bank can also be a lifesaver!
On the flight itself, I like to use an hour or two as some rare time to relax and cut off from all the hustle bustle that social media and connectivity brings (unless I’m running really late on some report). I usually download some podcasts on YouTube for some easy listening and put my headphones on, which really helps to drown out any noise or screaming babies!
The final tip is eating and drinking while travelling. Make sure to drink more water than usual as breathing in the air on a plane has such low humidity it can dehydrate you really quickly. When it comes to eating, I suggest having a big meal before arriving at the airport. It’s cheaper and usually better quality.
If at all possible, I try to avoid eating in the air and prefer to pre-pack something or even arrive a little hungry.
As Anthony Bourdain said, “No one has ever felt better after eating plane food. I think people only eat it because they’re bored”.
Travelling so often, however, does pose its own challenges in trying to stay healthy, especially in the industry I work in. I do find it difficult to stay active. But here are some things that have helped me.
Firstly, always do some research and choose a hotel with some gym facilities, if possible. This will save you time and make it much easier to squeeze in a workout at the start or end of your day. Also, there are more and more chain fitness clubs opening up across India, which offer multi-city membership. Joining one of these has been beneficial to me as the classes they offer keep me motivated when I otherwise feel like slacking off.
The second challenge is eating right. I’m a huge foodie and love to experience new dishes from new regions I visit, but there is no reason you can’t do this in moderation especially if you are getting a workout in each day.
One thing I find difficult is making time to experience a destination whilst travelling for business. My schedule is generally pretty packed so it can be next to impossible to fit in touristy things during my stay unless I manage to book a day off either side of my arrival (which is rare).
However, I do feel lucky in that my job allows me to meet so many people and indulge in food and drinks in some of the best bars and restaurants around. I suppose these are some of the perks and downfalls of not having a regular 9 to 5 desk job! At the moment, I am absolutely relishing this opportunity to see so much of India with a job I love and would fully recommend this line of work to someone who is truly passionate about whiskey and travel.
Generally, I find there are some significant differences between business and personal travel. One of the main things is the duration you are travelling for. I find that business travel is often a lot shorter and it’s hard to get the same experience you may have had if you were there for a longer time. Although, I guess you could say living in Bangalore is technically travel, but for me, it is already starting to feel like home. I already know, when I do return to Ireland, I will look back on this time with massive love and fondness for my time here.
However, I think the thing I love most about travelling is how much you change. And I don’t mean your hair, how you dress or all the new tattoos you’ve picked up on your travels or anything else to do with your appearance. I mean what has changed in your mind.
The way your dreams have changed, the way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost and the new things that are important to you. Essentially, how your spirit evolves when you force yourself to leave all your comforts behind and force yourself to use your brain in a new capacity. When I think back on what my favourite country I visited was, as cliché as it sounds, each place has its own unique qualities, and you learn different things about yourself, sometimes even more during your ‘bad experiences.’
One last thing to remember, traveling is not always as glamourous as people make it out to be on Instagram.
So don’t feel pressured to take the perfect pictures and feel like you must be doing something exciting every minute of your travels. The best memories of a trip can often come from doing the most mundane of tasks or simply taking a couple of hours to unwind in the new scenery!