Jags Singh Sandawalia is the smiliest person I think I know. Having met him a few years ago he always has time to chat, always talks of his family and is a wonderful part of our community here in Queenstown.
Who are you? What’s your story?
I have been told I am the guy with endless amount of energy! I was born and raised on the streets of Bombay. Before learning my passion in tourism I was a budding print journalist in the organized chaos of Bombay. I arrived in here in 2009; Queenstown is home, but am I a local, who knows? What are the criteria to be a local anyway?
Your work, what drives you, what makes it unique to you?
I wake up every day and put my hair product on to sell the dream. I am one of those very few blessed individuals who get to represent one of the most beautiful communities in the world. I am running constantly on the buzz that people around bring to me. Promoting New Zealand tourism is a passion of mine; I love to showcase our home to the world. People and their energy excites me and rally me up for what is to come. In my down time I thump around on a beautiful machine called the Royal Enfield and in winters try to keep both my feet attached to a snowboard, this is key, because this keeps me connected to what I call ‘the dream’.
Tell us more about the Queenstown community you live in, why you’re there, what keeps you there and what you love about it.
Queenstown is a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, race, color and beautiful hearts from around the globe. People come and go and they take a part of Queenstown inked in their minds. Since the day I have been in Queenstown, in times good or tough, it is the people who have carried me forward and appreciated my growth and recognized my efforts. I love the fact that I get to touch many souls in transition and hopefully show them why this is ‘the dream’.
Favourite spot that feels like ‘yours’ and why you go there.
Branches Station, beyond the Skippers Canyon station is my favorite spot in the whole world. It connects me to the adventurous souls that braved it all in search of gold, a life, a dream! When you are out there, there is hardly anybody else you come across and the history and the future connects me to my present.
What do you hope the future looks like for you and Queenstown? How are you investing in your community?
I hope to be one with this place forever. For Queenstown, when I got here I think I became part of a legacy and now it is up to me to keep moving forward and keep the legacy for anybody else that arrives on our doors and wants to live the dream.
I try to put myself out there to any soul that needs guidance in any possible manner and walk with them. I was a student at Queenstown Resort College when I first got here and the leaders there gave me an opportunity to give back to the community. I partake in facilitating a course in Cultural Intelligence. Here; I help my fellow tourism partners understand my culture better so they can connect with them on business and personal level. It gives me great pleasure when people tell me that they think what knowledge I was sharing with them helped them & in return they help me understand their perspective.
Growing Old Gracefully & With a Smile!
All photos supplied by Jags