Every year HTG holds The Diamond awards, during this award night each winner
selected gets sent away to a beautiful location for three days to relax, have fun and spend time with the other hard-working winners. I remember being blown away at the first Diamond Awards I attended, seeing the winners getting their tickets to Fiji really inspired me. I thought to myself, “I would love to do well and be a diamond too.” I went away after that night and set to work thinking of how I could improve myself. Then January rolled around and the Diamond Awards were on again, this time the winners would be going to Hamilton Island. To my shock and happiness, my name was actually called. It was an affirming moment. Self-improvement is achievement enough but being rewarded for it is the cherry on top.

Skip ahead to a few weeks later, the winners were excitedly trying to get enough sleep on Tuesday night to get up early and make it to the airport on time. Shauni, Monty and I decided we wanted to start our time together earlier. Shauni kindly let us sleep over at her place the night before the trip. She also made us dinner because she is the sweetest person around. Sitting together on the couch, sipping on our wine we excitedly made predictions about how the trip would be. How would we all go sleeping in the same rooms? What do you think the activities will be?

 

Turbulence on the trip

The morning of the Diamond Trip, I was sitting at Shauni’s kitchen table listening to her and Monty assure me that the flight to Hamilton Island would be fine and that I had nothing to fear. Yes, I get a little bit anxious flying. Their words definitely calmed me a little...but I still had to quickly throw up before we hopped in Josh’s car to carpool to the airport. I only mention this story because the flight was one of the worst I’ve been on and there was something comical about it all. The juxtaposition of Shauni and Monty assuring me at the dinner table that the flight would be fine and the plane hitting multiple patches of turbulence and taking about 2 hours to land made me laugh. It was sketchy there for a while but luckily we made it to the island.

Diamond 1

On the ground (which Grant and I nearly kissed) Dani and Elissa met us and draped leis around our necks. The excitement had pretty much peaked by this point and I couldn’t help but smile as I looked around at everyone on the trip. Tim and Paul welcomed us and encouraged us to enjoy the trip and then we were gifted beautiful beach bags filled with multiple items that were essential for an island getaway.

 

Whether the weather be good, whether the weather be bad

Something I did not mention was that Hamilton was pouring with torrential rain brought on by the nearby cyclone. It also rained pretty much non-stop for the three days we were there. Do you think this dampen our spirits? Not at all! During the three days there we spent so much time together traveling in buggies around the island together, drinking, eating, dancing, singing and partying a little too hard. Because of the rain we got to spend time together in a way I don’t think we would have if it was sunny. A few activities had to be cancelled because of the rain and we improvised by meeting up in each other's room and playing games together.

So much happened in the three days that I would take up too much time listing it all, so instead, I wanted to mention some of my highlights:

The second day we all hung out on the deck of Geri, Stevie, Zoe and Shauni’s room and played a massive card game of never have I ever. I laughed so hard a couple of times that tears came out. I also played a fun game of Cards Against Humanity with Grant, Matt, Arie and Qeshone. Grant and I kept picking each other's cards, much to the annoyance of everyone else. What can I say, Grant is funny. That night we all danced around the kitchen and did the limbo under a broom (my back hasn’t been right since). In a moment that will stick for me forever, we all stood together swaying singing “We are the Champions” by Queen.

 

Trip to the island

The third day was amazing, we got to go out on a beautiful catamaran (snacks and drinks included) to a little beach in the Whitsundays. The sun also magically came out for the first time in three days as we arrived at the little inlet. We spent hours frolicking on the sand and the water, played a little beach cricket and checked out the wildlife hanging around. A lot of us also forgot to top up on sunscreen...

It was hard to pack up and realise that we wouldn’t be seeing each other every day. Arriving at Hamilton Airport Tim and Paul had one more surprise for us. We were each given a beautiful gift. I was in shock, they had given us so much already! I opened the box and inside was a pair of beautiful cubic zirconia earrings. It really drove home how much thought and planning had gone into every aspect of the trip.

It was a once in a lifetime experience and I encourage everyone to strive to win the award. Getting to experience a Diamond Trip is special and you come away with lasting connections and great inside jokes #yearofthepig #whereisbryan. There is so much I couldn’t fit in here but I will finish with some photos because they definitely tell it better than I ever could.

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