Well, no excuses other than life and biz took me over. Getting back to booking vs. canceling with all the challenges that are existing in many industries across the globe has been a bit taxing. But, all is good at AAYT and we are definitely thriving.
It was a very full couple years of travel for me. I intentionally made decisions for the budget to take trips that would benefit the biz and most importantly my clients.
2021 - We had what we have termed a Family Honeymoon (I gave Ian and Alex the Master) at our timeshare in St. John. Conferences - Charleston, Florida, Chicago and Vegas. Sedona, AZ to tour wellness properties and marvel at the red rocks up close. BIG TRIP Croatia, I literally could do pages and pages and since I am so tardy on my Newsletter I won't but - to date, it is my favorite country. I fell deeply deeply in love. Dubrovnik, Split, the Adriatic water and their very special islands - geez, just all of it. Headed back in 2024 - GO WITH ME! Get in touch for more details! Salt Lake City to Denver with Rocky Mountaineer was spectacular. Disney pixie dust always sprinkled into my travels.
2022 - Virgin Voyages Caribbean with prone to seasick Rob who did "not" get seasick on this new state of the art vessel. Definitely an experience, great food and funky vibe. Two times, yea, crazy, on Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, once with a friend and once with Wesley - this is simply a City at Sea! Queretaro Mexico for a retreat with some amazing Travel Advisors and mentors, such a special town! I was really impressed with my navigating of a non tourist area and will go back, this part of Mexico is very special. BIG TRIP ASTA River Cruise Conference Budapest. The opportunity to tour and eat on almost all of the river cruise lines in Europe was a first for our industry. I am so grateful I was able to attend. Czech Tourism trip prior and an Avalon Danube cruise after. Just wonderful! Turks and Caicos for Agent On The Rise was the highlight of my professional career to date - I still cannot believe I qualified and I attended with the most amazing advanced advisors and suppliers I am now proud to call friends. Community over Competition. My host agency Travel Planners International and consortia Signature Travel Network were the best choices in a sea of choices. Florida Keys, Maui, Rocky Mountaineer Canada and a special California trip filled in the rest of the year. One more trip in a couple weeks will be a Viking Christmas Markets Cruise.
Wow when I type this out it is overwhelming, but makes me feel so great about my agency, its future and how I will help you with our most precious gift when spent on travel - our time. We often say in our industry - travel is one thing, vacation is another and although it may be hard to believe, none of my travels were vacations. Not for a second am I saying anything other than just that fact. I love love my industry and even during a pandemic and tourism challenges, my clients and my colleagues keep me moving. If I made it over the last couple of years, I'm here for the duration, bring it on!
Okay - so wow, I haven't added a Blog to my Website since June 2019!?!? I truly had no idea it had been that long, felt too long, but NOT that long! Being a blogger is not my goal or a thing, but I do want to keep up on my Website and have it be relevant and current. I have made additions and deletions no less than 50 times over these incredible months, but haven't posted anything on the site that directly speaks to a visitor. Well today is that day.
Over these 19 months - the first section of time I was very busy booking travel, providing the customer service, training, learning how to own and run a business and navigating life as a travel entrepreneur. So, that makes sense for the nine months before travel shut down. I was so grateful I was with my friend Kris at Disneyland literally days before it closed up, I would be a little more crazy had that not been the case. However, that is the last time I saw my family and dear lifeline friends in California.
Meet my cousins, they are amazing! They are a HUGE reason why I took off on this adventure of turning my PASSION INTO A PROFESSION. Their support, encouragement, agency naming help and so on means the world to me.
Searching the travel deals during the entire weekend of Thanksgiving, I found a pre construction sale for Sonesta All Inclusive, two properties, Ocean Point and Maho Beach in St. Maarten as they were embarking a Searbourn cruise from that port. We secured a swim up pool for one stay, a Travel Agent perk I was able to provide. Note this property is also gated. I even booked them before confirming with them as I knew they would love the properties and the upgraded deals that I was able to secure. What a benefit to "truly know" my clients. All Inclusive travel wasn't really their style, but they were impressed. Of course, drinks with The Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane (Starship if you didn't know they are anything else) in the bar was also a highlight. I didn't plan that one though :o)
So when I talk to young couples with kids, I shared even before becoming a Travel Agent, that there is no better use of your money than traveling with your kids. You have years and years to travel with your spouse, but only so many to travel with your kids. Those years where they want to be with you, they want to throw a ball around with you, they laugh at and with you. Hours and hours of what I call "the BEST Disney line time" where everyone is trapped waiting for an attraction. Sports, school, girlfriends/ boyfriends, they all replace this season or at least make it more challenging.
Suck it up, every second, make sure you budget for these "life list" experiences you don't even realize now are going to pass quickly. We will never have the actual possessions in life that fill this space, so take advantage of it as long as you can. Plan trips, give them as a gift at Christmas, pay on them for months and then pack and go! No kiddo is too little to reflect the elation and joy of a Disney character or a Hawaiian sunset through their eyes and then experienced by their parents and captured in a photo. Travel my friends and let me help!