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5 Life Lessons With Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO of Aqua Expeditions

More life lessons from some of the industries leading names.





 Finding your “Why”

I believe that knowing your “Why” is an essential first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you love living. Once you know your “Why”, you’ll have the courage to take the critical steps to stay ahead of your game, face challenges, stay self-motivated and find solutions.

I knew I wanted to take guests to the Pacaya Samira Nature Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon as soon as I took my first trip in 2006. I felt that calling as soon as I entered a black water lagoon teeming with egrets, black collard hawks and hoatzins. The mirrored forest captured me instantly, and I knew I wanted to share this experience with other discerning travellers. The challenge was how to get guests there without having to endure the trials I had to, and once I could get my team onboard, we were all set.

For me, it is that purpose that gets me up in the morning and drives me every day. My “Why” is to create and deliver unique and authentic once-in-a-lifetime experiences so that our guests take home enriching memories to cherish for a lifetime.


Stay positive

After 11 years at the helm of Aqua, I have definitely endured many hard days and sleepless nights. I have gone through some of my most trying days ever as a person. There is one trait that gets me through those dark moments – staying positive. As things constantly change, you have to always be on the ball, a step ahead to make sure you stay ahead of the competition. Having an incredible support system also helps to give you the strength and energy to continue.


Passion and Perseverance

Successful entrepreneurs have grit, more than just book smarts or top schools and CV-perfect work experiences. Success comes to those that work hard and those that have grit. To me, it means doing your job well; it requires passion, devotion, but also simply some hard work. I think that determination and perseverance are very important attributes for success. Staying focused and determined to reach your goals, even in challenging times, is key to accomplish set objectives.



Seek out talent

People are the most important aspect in my business. They are our strongest asset. It’s the most prominent aspect from the guest experience that come across in all our guest comment cards and feedback. As soon as you embark on an Aqua Expeditions cruise, you feel welcome. It’s my amazing team who create that. The key is to find trustworthy, dedicated, and passionate people in your organisation who share your motivation and drive.


Build a Work-life Balance

Finding a balance in life between work and private life is key to long-term success. Life is not a sprint but a marathon. Family is my most important anchor and will always be my biggest support underpinning my success with Aqua Expeditions. Making time to be with my wife for an operation or accompanying my children personally to their university in Europe is important to me. Making time for myself, whether it is a workout or a short trip with my family, is the best way to recharge my batteries. Whether you do meditation, travel, or workout, find what calms and centres you, and surround yourself with the people that matter to you. Let me end by saying that I would not be where I am today without the support and love of my wife Birgit and my three children, Daria, Massimo and Alessia.