I am asked often, “Oh so you are a travel agent, do you get to travel a lot?”
Until recently, I would minimize the amount of travel I do. I wanted people to understand that being a travel advisor is more than just visiting destinations, it is about researching the best fits for my clients, working diligently to develop relationships to benefit my clients and educating myself on the important issues in travel. I am a professional after all…
But then, I realized I was taking all of the romance out of my job…..that I was minimizing the best part – the part of discovering a destination, exploring new horizons, finding those cute little hole-in-the-wall restaurants and seeing the world through different eyes. Travel is what I do…..it breathes life into my soul and enriches my life. Travel for me is exactly what it is to you—vibrant, romantic, relaxing, adventuresome…
The question begs to be asked: Why would you hire someone who doesn’t travel to help you plan yours? Why would you trust your memories to someone who hasn’t educated themselves in the art of travel? Why gamble your vacation budget on internet photos and reviews from people you don’t know and will never speak to again?
Your travel advisor should be able to walk you through airports – both foreign and domestic and give you advice on how to best prepare for and navigate security, Customs and Immigration and other airport hassles. A good travel advisor will be skilled in using a wide variety of transportation – trains, planes, boats and automobiles along with the metro system. As an advisor, I seek to travel as my clients travel so I can best prepare them—taking the metro in Paris, driving in Tuscany, riding the ferry across the Chunnel, and walking the streets of Rome.
I take the time to drive a speedboat along the coast of Mexico, swim with the dolphins, shop for ceramics and taste Brunello in Italy, dine alongside Buddhist monks in China, and consume copious amounts of rum in Jamaica. I test hotel restaurants, look for monkeys on suspension bridges in Costa Rica and stand among the stingrays in Grand Cayman—all in the name of discovering the best experiences for my clients.
I know the frustration of being lost (oh do I ever!) and the exhilaration of getting from point A to point B without one single wrong turn. I know that train travel also involves schlepping your own luggage in Europe and that you can check a shipping box of wine on the plane (provided it is the correct type of box).
Travel is not just about physically showing up, it’s about showing up emotionally, spiritually and experientially. The Art of Travel is refined over time—time and experience creates a travel artist—let me modify that a bit—-time and great experiences create a travel artist.
From now on, when people ask me if I get to travel a lot for my job, I will smile my biggest smile and say, “Yes! Let me share my adventures with you!”