It’s Not Lilac Season, but I had to start my year with a Lilac Photo
January is starting off in an interesting way for me. This past year, 2013…was a lot of hard work. In the first 4 or 5 months of the year in 2013, I struggled to organize my new life. I had made changes to every area of my life: New home and New Family Structure, New Job, new circle of friends.
By June, I once again shifted into a new Job and a new Career. I had always wanted a career in Travel and so I had finally stumbled across one. I say stumbled because it was nearly accidental! Anyway, the summer was primarily spent focusing on acquiring the skills and training necessary to actually do the job! The Fall brought it’s own new challenges as I had to fight to set up the kids in a new school and get them situated with a school/after-school routine that worked with my new career. Having a job is one thing but what I do is a sort-of “always on” kind of work. Anyway, as January opens, here I sit at home adjusting some flights due to an incoming storm…I am doing this in my pajamas from home. I don’t mind at all because what I do as a Travel Agent is fun and I get to help create these memorable trips and adventures for people. The one I am presently adjusting is a Honeymoon where our guests would be flying out of Boston, staying in LA and then leaving LA to Honolulu to catch a Norwegian Cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. So as you can see, a snowstorm on Friday in Boston could easily ruin a Hawaiian honeymoon cruise on Saturday in Honolulu. This is what we do….we are not heroes, just regular folks (LOL).
So this sets a theme for the 2014 year- a Theme of WORK and DEDICATION to my craft and my art. Writing about what I do, I feel will help me learn more from the process. Sharing it with friends and Readers will only allow others to learn more about what it is that those of us working in the Travel Planning Industry do and provide to clients. Many people still use Travel Agents and Professionals (experts) to plan vacations. I meet new people all the time who come into my Travel Business and ask me my opinion. I give them expert advice because I don’t just dabble in this stuff. I book and plan and create and manage travel and trips ALL day long….45 hours a week (at least). It’s pretty demanding. Everyone from the hotels to the airlines have their own agenda.
I started doing this because I enjoy exploring new places and seeing beautiful scenery as well as experiencing new cultures, foods, languages and customs. Some of my favorite places were in Canada. I mostly package Caribbean All-Inclusive deals for Travelers. Lots of people find this the ideal vacation. The Chains Hotels and Resorts that offer theses types of vacations know what their Guests want and they can deliver. We help connect them. This allows families (like mine) to be in a warm, new climate and be safe and fed while trying new things and bonding with each other. at least, that is the picture I like to cling to in hopes that I am doing something good for people when I help them go to places like these. I love the islands of the Caribbean. Once upon a time, all you heard of was Hawaii. Don’t get me wrong, Hawaii is an outstanding place to visit! I highly recommend it. But not everyone has the time or patience to go so far. From the East Coast, traveling to Hawaii with Time changes is a full day! But there are some closer places to visit that you can get to in half a day. We even have a few that you can get to with a nonstop flight out of a New England Airport.
Price-wise these Island trips are a great value too. It can be hard to picture yourself enjoying these moments of solitude or these moments on a white sand beach, but it is well worth the effort and money it takes to create your dream vacation and I love being a part of it! Another thing I do in my Travel Profession is I manage Wedding and Honeymoon travel. sometimes people are attending a Destination wedding and I help create that travel itinerary. Other times, the Bride and Groom use my help to create the Destination wedding and then their guests contact me to book their part of that experience. It has become very popular to get married this way. Another way that we overlap the wedding industry is by offering brides and Grooms a way to create the honeymoon of their dreams and allow their friends, families and other wedding guests to assist in paying for it. We create a Registry and I manage the registry contributions. When the Couple is ready, we sit down and figure out where they want to go and we put the package together. These are some of my favorite itineraries to create.
Cruises are another area I spend a lot of time with. People love to go on Cruise Ships! Some of our favorite brands of Cruise ships are Royal Caribbean and Avalon Waterways. Cruises leave at all times of the year from ports scattered throughout the various coastal areas of the United States. There is something for everyone, and cruising can be personalized in many ways, so unless you are an expert at booking them, I absolutely recommend talking it over with a Travel Expert first. These can be booked online, but in order to protect consumers, Liberty Travel (my company) offers a “Price Beat Guarantee”, where if you see a great deal out there and you bring it to use we can meet and beat the price and let you book it with a Travel Agent rather than an online site. This offers the Consumer who would normally buy from the internet, and opportunity to work with an actual Travel Professional and get the protection and service we can offer. One of those services is a the 24 hour travel line where our guests can call and get assistance at any hour of the day or night if they need some help.
The world of course, is so much bigger than the Caribbean and the United States. I have been fortunate, if not to travel there myself, to know people and have friends who travel to many parts of the world on a regular basis. I have a friend who visits the Pacific Islands once a year or so. It is always interesting to discuss the islands with him and discover how people there live and think and communicate and work. Europe is another fascinating area that I create travel itineraries for. Yesterday in the office at the end of a somewhat grueling days, an older couple came in and approached an agent and announced “We want to go to the holy Land”! I honestly had to hold back a smile because it was the most unexpected statement I think I had ever heard in the office. And of course…we have a product for that! We have tours, companies that specialize in visiting Jerusalem and other areas considered holy by our adventurist travel guests. We have a match for any wish- anything you can imagine. For me the challenge is in gaining the depth of familiarization with this massive range of potential.
Multi-tasking has become a way of life for me. Not that I am bad at it, because I am not at all bad at it when it comes to being a Home manager. I managed a home and a home-based daycare for a long time. when I get home at the end of a long hard day, I immediately step into home manager mode and I am simultaneously prepping dinner while cleaning the kitchen, unpacking the lunch boxes and backpacks and answering questions about homework assignments. I do this not because I am so full of energy but because if I do not, what will happen is things don’t get done and then chaos ensues. If I don’t clean and cook and reorganize at the end of the day, then kids will not get to bed on time with food in tummy and homework complete and all that. There are many demands on parents. Working Parents don’t get a whole lot of credit for how hard that is. Unless you are one, you may not even know how hard what I just described is. There is no time to write a daily blog or squeeze in an hour at the gym. add a few dogs or cats and a boyfriend to this mix….oh, and laundry…forget it. You better never stop moving or you won’t have a clean uniform to wear for work!
Next there are the friends you need and want and love. There never seems to be enough time. One thing I did to create a bond and a community was I created an online friendship circle where we could all help each other and stay connected with a bit more ease and less stress. We could easily check in with each other. If one friend was struggling, and needed support, they could share their feelings and needs and gain not just the support and understanding of the one person they reached out to, but of 10 other fellow “sisters”…flowers as I call them. This design works most of the time until someone feels neglected and then it can get harder. that feeling of being neglected and feeling lonely on a deep level is something I can relate to quite well and so I have begun working on a piece of writing to talk about this and connect with other people who feel it too. Loneliness can happen to people from any walk of life. Having a husband or lots of friends or fans or kids…none of that is a cure for loneliness. These can mask or hide it sometimes, and then the person who if underneath it just feels more alone than ever.
I happen to feel that the cure for it is a healthy balance of self-love, community and finding the path of your passion in life and doing it. Einstein was the one who said that for a man to experience happiness and satisfaction in life we must attach our passion to an achievement or aspiration and NOT to people. Einstein did not seem to have much faith in human beings. I may have had too much faith in fellow human beings, but since I cannot change who I am, I can only accept myself for my strengths and my weaknesses and make different choices. Those choices may feel a little unnatural but the most important thing is that someone like me learns to tune into the Logical Mind and silence the Emotional Brain a little.
So I hope I can make Einstein proud and I hope this years will be MY year to conquer and overcome some lifelong struggles like my insecurity and my weight and my finances and future planning for my life. I can easily see me gaining mastery in these areas by mid year 2014 and moving on to bigger and better accomplishments in the 2nd half of 2014. I would love to hear about your Resolutions. Feel free to comment.
Love Everyone, and BE Blessed,