When I’m asked what I do for a living, my reply typically meets with beaming, engaging comments such as “I’ve always wanted to do that!” or sunny destination queries. As the travel industry has morphed into the current plethora of web-based booking channels, observations predictably include how anyone could do the same thing online and who would pay fees for that? At one time, I was stumped. Defensive. Almost apologetic. Ask me now and pull up a chair… so begins my latest short story based on a personal journey from young adventurer to (ahem) mature explorer. Early on, I became a champ at jumping fences, getting lost and (usually) returned by neighbors, going exactly where I was told not to. From toddler through adulthood, curiosity was and remains my compass. What else was there but to join the travel industry? A few decades later, I find myself actually making a living as…let’s see, so many catchy monikers! Dream designer. Travel guru. Adventure guide. Actually, I just enjoy making other people happy. What better way then getting excited along with them by mapping out and coordinating trip details?
Travel makes the imaginary real. How often we read about Venice or listen to someone’s recent trip to Phuket beaches and imagine what it would be like to experience it for ourselves. I decided long ago I wasn’t waiting around for a trip to present itself, I would make it happen. As a teenager, I saved money for my first airplane trip to St. Louis. Getting hooked straightaway, I learned I could fly for free working for an airline so I moved to Dallas and began working for Braniff at age 25. Now here I am a seasoned travel advisor, customizing multi cultural trips from Europe to South Africa and beyond while taking in a few sights myself. While I wouldn’t trade my professional life with anyone, looking back, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. I’ve been called upon to help travelers find lost passports, people and pets. Wildcat European and Asian airline strikes, the Haiti earthquake, Southeast Asia tsunami, a multitude of human decisions and natural disasters have impacted and stranded my clients with thousands of others. Such seismic events not only paralyze travelers but loved ones at home with whom I communicate news and attempt to reassure, most notably, the horror of 9/11. But that’s a story for another time.
Right now, I’m focused on the next adventure: Western Canada. Love love LOVE Vancouver! Before our cruise departs end of September, hubby Eric and I are spending a few days prior spelunking every part of this jewel. We were there about 15 years ago, time to get reacquainted with this Eco-conscious, affable, sporty, picturesque city. After that, back to Aruba, our favorite Caribbean beach paradise, for our annual “read and rot” vacay.
Where have your mental wanderings taken you? Make it happen. What are you waiting for?
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton