I wrote this online diary during October 2010. I was one of 19 Australian and 4 NZ very excited demonstrators who earned an all-expenses paid holiday to Hamilton Island, Qld. There are different ways that demonstrators can earn the trip, but in general it's based on a combination of annual sales plus activity within the team. If you would like more information about becoming a demonstrator, just click on the "Join Stampin' Up!" tab at the top of this page!
Hello, from Hamilton Island!
I'm sitting here on our balcony at the gorgeous Reef View Hotel (12th floor – what a view!) looking out onto the most beautiful blue water and a backdrop of mountains. This has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
And here is the view from the other side.
This is my first Stampin' Up! Incentive Trip and I'm loving every minute of it! We are being soooo spoiled, and it's going to be very hard to go back to housework and cooking meals again after spending the past few days here in paradise.
If you've been wanting to hear about the trip, you've come to the right place. I'll continue writing this as we go along and share it when I get home. Enjoy!
We (hubby and I) flew into Hamilton Island on Wednesday morning, with the other award achievers and their partners from Victoria and New South Wales.
We had a couple of hours to fill in before our room was ready, so we went straight up to the Hospitality Desk where we were greeted by Angie and KellieSue from the Home Office (Stampin' Up's main office in Utah, USA). These ladies are amazing, and have spent the whole time making this the perfect experience for us. They've taken over the whole presidential suite, and that's where we come each day to spin the wheel and win great prizes of Stampin' Up! products (and eat yummy 'candy' that they brought over from the US).
Over the 4 days I've won a pack of buttons, Designer Series Paper, Daffodil Delight wide striped ribbon AND a brand new embellishment that will be available in the next Mini Catalogue. Woohoo! We also got our own preview copy of the Mini (which will be available from December 1st) and even though I can't share it yet, can I just say that it's FANTASTIC! I'm so excited about it!
We met up at the Outrigger restaurant on the first night for our Welcome Dinner.
One of the best things about this trip has been meeting some of the other demonstrators in person for the first time. And having my downline Maureen Crameri here on the trip too has been especially nice. At the welcome dinner I sat with Ngaire Anderson, Sue Madex and Jacque Pederson and their partners. It was a lovely meal with great company – a perfect start to our time at Hamilton Island.
It was raining when we left the restaurant (but still warm!) and even though we started off trying to avoid the puddles, by the time we got to the hotel we were pretty much jumping in them. Lots of fun.
In our room I found a wonderful surprise … the first "pillow gift".
It was a waterproof swim bag (dry bag), two underwater cameras, some snacks and drinks and a fun poem that gave us a few clues as to our mystery adventure day that was planned for Thursday. A day at sea on the Great Barrier Reef!
Day 2 – Thursday
After a buffet breakfast we all met up in the lobby for our group adventure. And it sure was an adventure! We sailed out to Reefworld – a floating pontoon at Hardy's Reef out in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. It was a little (!) rough so some of the group got seasick, but hey that's part of the adventure isn't it?! Luckily Jason and I took some seasickness meds before we left so we were ok, and we took some more on the way back – just to make sure!
The snorkeling was WONDERFUL. A real highlight of the trip. We saw so many gorgeous fish, hard and soft corals and even a sea turtle (ok, I didn't, but the people around me did so that sorta counts right? – LOL). I took lots of photos with the underwater camera but we haven't got them developed yet.
After the full-on day Jason and I grabbed some dinner and ate outside by the Marina before heading back for an early night. I was SO EXCITED to find the best pillow gift waiting for us… a metal tin with "Hamilton Island Stampin' Up! 2010" on the lid and inside…. (drum roll please) NEW rubber!! Yes, a brand new stamp set which will be available in December and it's absolutely gorgeous. It would have been one of the first I ordered, so I was VERY excited! Also in the tin was the Fancy Flower punch, a couple of markers and an ink pad, pack of the mini library clips (love those!) and Regals Collection buttons. These were for us to bring to the Make & Take session on Friday.
Day 3 – Friday
Today was the day I've been waiting for (well, they all are really) where we did our official swapping and Make & Take Session. All the award achievers made the most beautiful creations, and I can't wait to show my stamp club girls and share them at upcoming workshops. They are just stunning!
I'd love to show you the Make & Takes, but I can't just yet. I will soon though :)
We all had a giggle and took silly photos…
Here are the RED girls
And me, Shelli (the CEO & co-founder of Stampin' Up!) and Maureen Crameri (my downline).
We went swimming in the afternoon at one of the beautiful pools here on the island, followed by a walk on the beach. A group of us went to Ramono's italian restaurant for dinner and cocktails and it was a great chance to get to know the girls better.
I was amazed to find a lovely clutch waiting for us as the pillow gift – it perfectly matches our bag tags and inside is fabric that matches some upcoming Designer Series Paper! How cool is that?
Day 4 – Saturday
This was our free day, so Jason and I started the day by having breakfast with koalas at Hamilton Island's Wildlife Park (just a short stroll from the hotel).
We took the circuit bus around the island, visited the shops and art gallery and took in some of the breathtaking scenery.
There was a lot of anticipation for our farewell dinner – all we knew was that we had to bring a drivers licence and had to meet up at 4.15pm. It was such a hoot to find that we were going on a Buggy Rally! It was a cross between Amazing Race, a quiz, a treasure hunt and a car rally (except in golf carts).
Along the way we found Aaron (our Australian Business Manager), Dave Bough (from the Home Office in Utah, USA), and Emma (NZ Business Manager), who were at some of the checkpoints and gave us all sorts of Stampin' Up! goodies.
The final clue was unjumbling letter stamps to work out where we were going to dinner… and the answer was: the Yacht Club.
The dinner was amazing and we had lots of laughs and chats on our table with Emma and Shaun (NZ), Linda Higgins and her downline and good friend Cheryl.
We all planned to do some Karaoke at the Tavern but a band was playing instead, so went back to the lounge in the hotel and had cocktails until very late, chatting the night away with friends.
Our pillow gift that night was the matching bag to go with the clutch and bag tags that we'd received earlier!
Day 5 – Sunday (time to go home)
Our flight home wasn't until the afternoon so we had a good chance to relax and make the most of the last few hours of 28 degree weather (was shocked to find out we'd had snow back home in Ballarat/Creswick this week).
We travelled most of the afternoon and evening, finally getting home at 11pm. Good to be home and back with the kids but it has been the most wonderful trip. I've made some lovely new friends, and got to know old friends even better. I'm so incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to go on this trip, and am grateful every day for my wonderful team of demonstrators, customers, my special stamp club girls, and every one who has supported me and travelled this road with me. Thank you so much! I would love to have the opportunity to do this again one day, hopefully with even more team members! I feel very lucky to have been an incentive trip award achiever, especially when I was only doing what I love.
Hope you've enjoyed reading through this epic diary entry, and that the demonstrators out there who are reading this will feel inspired to earn the trip too. It really is worth it.
P.S. If you've managed to get to the end of this post, well done! If you can spare a minute, leave me a comment to say hello.