It’s hard for me to pick favorites.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like this year has literally flown by.
I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I have always known that about myself, and it was further confirmed when I took a multitude of tests after I retired from being an athlete that were supposed to help guide me into my next career. It told me I was driven, self-motivated, unafraid of taking risks, resourceful, don’t need to actually get paid to work my tail off… and on and on.
I took that entrepreneurial spirit and paired it with my love for travel for two very important reasons. The first is pretty obvious — I am passionate about travel and love helping others experience more of the world in an authentic way. Planning and organizing is a skill set, and I pair it with my knack for understanding the desires of others and finding great joy in seeing their dreams come to life. The second reason that lights me up as well, is that it is a business I can build that allows me to have location freedom.
Over the past week, continued tragedy has hit our world. There hardly seem enough hashtags to keep up with all of the horrific events taking place around the globe and in our own backyards.
It’s pretty frightening, isn’t it?
I happened to catch the story of what occurred in Nice, France right as it was unfolding. I know people who live there. I recall my own vacation in Nice, walking the same streets that were now making dark history. I have clients who vacationed there only weeks ago. It hit close to home.
While events such as this one can very easily make us feel like it’s not safe to go anywhere these days, I don’t believe we should give them the power to prevent us from carrying on with our lives.
Four years ago I moved away from San Diego after I retired as an athlete and was heading into a new career field. I had gotten hired as a pharmaceutical sales rep with an LA territory, and my life was taking a pivot. It was not a huge move— San Diego to Los Angeles hardly qualifies as a big change. But the overall look of my life was a complete makeover.
I was bummed to be leaving San Diego, but it wasn’t long before life in LA started to grow on me again. I had friends and family nearby, there were great restaurants and cool, hipster coffee shops on every other corner. I also had a ton of awesome boutique workout studios to choose from for all my new civilian workouts, and began to take advantage of all the great things that make LA an awesome place to live (from the opinions of everyone who doesn’t hate LA).
My vacation to Belize last year ended up being such delightful surprise. It was one of those destinations that had lived off my radar until just before I decided to go there. It now ranks as one of my highest recommended destinations for people looking for some adventure when they travel, and want the opportunity to see and do some pretty amazing things.
I love when I have the opportunity to fit in both adventure and relaxing in the same vacation. I planned that trip with the intention to get a little out of my comfort zone, and make some incredible memories. But, like most of my vacations, I also really wanted some time to relax and unplug… and stare at some gorgeous blue water.
Probably my all-time favorite activity was something called the Actun Tunichil Muknal. The “ATM Cave Tour” is a must-do for anyone visiting Belize, if you have the physical capacity to do it. You hike a couple miles through the rainforest before swimming into a cave, where at times your feet don’t touch the bottom. You make your way to the back of the cave, taking twists and turns, swimming through water, and doing some legit rock climbing, all with the assistance of a specialty guide.
At times you find yourself in varying degrees of complete darkness where it is not possible to even see your hand in front of your face. In the end though, is a scene straight from National Geographic. There are untouched and incredibly preserved Mayan artifacts and remains from 1400 years ago that you are able to see up close right in their natural environment where they were discovered. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience!
There are no cameras allowed during that tour, so you will have to take my word on how awesome it is. Here are a few pictures I can show you though, of some of the highlights of my trip to Belize.
I love planning all types of trips, but you will see my excitement level up another notch, if you want to plan a trip to one of my favorite places. So, if a trip to Belize is possibly in your future, contact me and watch how excited someone can get over a trip they aren’t taking!
P.S. check out my blog featuring the properties I stayed at during my trip here!
This past weekend, my family went on a little adventure. My brother was flying in from Colorado, and we were all going to meet up at my uncle’s wedding up in the mountains near Big Bear. At the last minute though, we decided it would be fun to find a cabin and spend the weekend all under one roof.
It is a rare occurrence for all of us to be together, and it reminded me how important it is to fight for time like this with your loved ones. We all get so busy and wrapped up in life, that the simple act of carving out this time to just be, is priceless.
When you are used to living alone though, a couple of days with the whole family under one roof and just one bathroom can get you a case of cabin fever. By the time Sunday morning rolled around, my brother woke up early for a solo run, and I headed off to hike on my own, because what’s the point of being in nature if you can’t get a little solitude. We then came back and took my niece and nephew on a hike with us, and they’ve now decided hiking is one of their favorite activities. My nephew even claims he is an expert rock climber.
It was a weekend spent with a lot of laughs, eating pizza, cooking breakfast, watching movies, playing games, and hiking together. My niece and nephew have decided we should probably try and move here permanently, that’s how much they enjoyed themselves.
Getaways are my favorite. I enjoy being able to push “pause” on the daily hustle and grind, and simply recalibrate. The next time you have the opportunity to bond with your loved ones, and I encourage you to take those few days to just enjoy the company of those dearest to you. You won’t be sorry.
The best type of credit cards are the ones that give you something in return. If you love to travel, or even if you are planning an important trip in the near future, it makes a lot of sense to choose a credit card that can help you and provide you with some additional perks.
I used to use an airline specific credit card. When you fly a considerable amount of miles each year, obtaining status on one airline gives you some amazing perks, and it makes sense that your credit card work with you towards that end. I no longer fly over 100,000 miles a year, so I use a credit card now that works better with my wanderlust spirit and gives me incredible flexibility to use my rewards in the ways that work best for me.
Today, I’m sharing my credit card of choice and the reasons why I love it. It may not be what’s best for you, but it would certainly behoove you to give this decision some thought and make sure you are using a card that gives you the best bang as you spend!
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Flexible: Use points for airline tickets, hotels, and pretty much everything travel related. You can fly on any airline, book any hotel, etc. Book through them or any travel platform you’d like. My advice- through a travel professional like me!!! :)
- No international transaction fees: If you do travel internationally, this is important. Make sure your card has this feature.
- Great signup bonus: 40,000 miles for signing up, which is like $400 in free travel money.
- 2 for 1: You earn 2 miles for every $1 spent. I like that math.
- Purchase Eraser: This is my favorite feature. When you have a charge on your credit card related to travel, you can simply use your rewards points to erase it. And it doesn’t matter if you’d paid the balance already or not, it’s just a credit to your account.
- *Visa Signature Bonuses: If you qualify, the additional benefits include 24/7 concierge services, complimentary upgrades, travel accident insurance, rental car insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and roadside assistance.
On a slightly narcissistic level, my card also is a great travel conversation starter, because I have it personalized with a great shot of the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, with me perched on the edge of a cliff.
Not all cards are created equal. I’m not giving you a rundown of every card out there, because that’s not my specialty. But I did my research for this card and know from experience that it is a good one. Depending on your personal needs (and your credit score!), find what will work best for you.
I am currently in paradise. For the next two weeks you will find me exploring and making memories, Indonesian style. I consider this a work/play trip. Yes, I am here to relax, make amazing memories, have authentic experiences, spend quality time with a dear friend, and celebrate my birthday. But I am also here to learn more about this destination for any special clients I may have in the future that want to experience some of this paradise for themselves.
So, please follow along the next couple of weeks as I update on my own personal adventures. I hope that it inspires you and gets you excited about your next journey. Contact me for help in that process. I am an expert in relaxing/making memories/having authentic experiences/spending time with friends/celebrating birthdays...just to name a few! And after these next two weeks, I will have another awesome destination under my belt to reinforce that.
You can’t go on a Road Trip with just anyone. I won’t need to convince you of this if you have ever tried to go on one with the wrong person. The person who doesn’t listen to the same music as you, believes that there is an actual prize for arriving at the destination in the shortest amount of time possible and won’t stop along the way, and who hasn’t mastered the right balance of chatting and silence.
So, when my friend of over 15 years asked if I would be game to take a short road trip back to Tucson to visit our Alma Mater and some of our favorite people this past weekend, I knew I could say yes without too much thought. We sang along to the same cheesy pop songs, stopped at least every two hours because we both have extremely small bladders, picked our favorite places to have an amazing meal along the way, and caught up on all the talking and sharing that is hard to find time for in the busyness of everyday life.
Nikkie is my partner. We have gone from teammates in college traveling to track meets, to young women traveling the country exploring new cities together, to the type of lifelong friends who promise to do annual girls trips in an exotic beach location with a never ending supply of unmbrella’d drinks. She’s actually managed to keep this promise multiple times, even with four kids and a hubby at home!
Obviously I love to travel, explore, and go places both near and far. I have been so grateful to do the handful of trips I have with her because they always deepen our friendship and strengthen our bond. In a few months she is moving to Africa for 3 years and so somehow I need to figure out how to make a journey out there so we can continue our shenanigans on a different continent.
Do you have a friend you love to travel with and matches up with you in all the right ways?
I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I have always known that about myself, and it was further confirmed when I took a multitude of tests after I retired from being an athlete that were supposed to help guide me into my next career. It told me I was driven, self-motivated, unafraid of taking risks, resourceful, don’t need to actually get paid to work my tail off… and on and on. So, instead I headed straight into pharmaceutical sales, which is like corporate america on steroids. It took me less than 2 years to realize that as comforting as it is having money just appear in your bank account Every. Two. Weeks., it just wasn’t me.
I want to create.. help people in my own way.. work on my terms.. take big risks.. and I don’t want to always do it from “the office” (read- my desk/kitchen table/couch/window seat). I’ve discovered that the beauty of having the majority of my business be online, is that all I really need to work is my computer and some half decent wifi. I can easily plan your trip to Guatemala and set up your tour through ancient ruins while I am discovering the best place to go wine tasting in the south of France, while actually being in France — or sitting at my favorite coffee shop in LA.
Just last week, one of my client's who is a wildly successful business owner summed up perfectly how she meshes together her business life and personal life. She finds a way to bring out the best opportunities within her own unique parameters:
"The beauty of being an entrepreneur is the ability to locate an office anywhere in the world. If there's wifi, there's endless possibilities. I love mixing business and personal travel because it embodies the best of both worlds. Working is a necessity, but doing it while sipping on bubbly seated next to a pool makes all the difference!”
I want you to really consider this mindset if you are a small business owner that does a lot of your work online. So often we are the type of people that believe we can never take time off to travel because there is always so much to do, stay on top of, and get done. For most of us, there is no such thing as getting our work done between 9 to 5 and then having 3 weeks paid vacation that you can take whenever your heart desires, simply by requesting it. But I don’t believe that should stop you from seeing the world. It’s certainly not going to stop me. Sure, I am building my business around travel, so it behooves me to continue to do important market research. But I also believe that I can combine these two parts of my life in a way that is going to ultimately bring me the most joy, and I believe others can too simply by being intentional. We live in a day and age that makes our world so small, so take advantage of that by not limiting yourself to staying in that one corner of your office/dining room/work area. I promise you I can find you a much better backdrop!
For the last few days I’ve been in Charlotte, North Carolina at a conference with fellow Travel Professionals. We stayed at the beautiful Ballantyne Hotel, and for two days I immersed myself in learning and growing and basically figuring out how I can be better at what I do and service my clients to the best of my ability.
In today’s day and age, being a traditional “Travel Agent” can seem pretty obsolete. No longer is that the vehicle people must go through if they want to take a vacation or book an airline ticket, as it was in years past. In fact, if you ask me what it is I do, I won’t even use that moniker, even though it would probably be what most people would associate with my profession. I call myself a Travel Professional and what I do is use my expertise to create unique and custom travel experiences. Within that, you get a travel planner, advisor, and concierge all rolled up into one. And yes, I actually book the travel, as a travel agent would. But if all I did was book travel, I would basically be a mini-expedia, with .00000000001% of the budget and no cool commercials to let anyone know I exist. There really wouldn't be a point.
Creating custom vacation experiences that focus on the individual and their unique desires takes a personal touch. A search engine isn’t going to do a great job at finding the best place to stay for you, the most interesting adventures that fits the nature of your trip, and the amazing off-the-beaten path excursions that you are looking for. And believe me… the internet certainly won’t care that much if you enjoy yourself and have the time of your life. I do that.
So, yes I book travel just like a travel agent. Just like any other website on the internet that will let you make a reservation on your own. However, that is not all I do. I create travel experiences designed specifically for you because I do my best to understand exactly what it is that you are looking for, and then deliver that. It’s all of my expertise shared with people who trust me with their valuable leisure time and believe that I will work on your behalf and do my absolute best to ensure they have the most amazing experiences, in a way that makes it as easy and stress free as possible. When was the last time Expedia promised you that?
A few years ago I retired from a career that I was wholeheartedly passionate about. More than that… it WAS my passion. For 10 years I dedicated my life to being the best athlete I could be in the sport of Track and Field. That life is something I am truly grateful for. I had the opportunity to compete, travel the world, and wake up every day knowing I was following my passion and able to call that a career.
One of the things I always share with people when they ask what it was I loved about that career is the part about seeing the world. It is truly one of the blessings about participating in a sport that competes all over the globe. After visiting 6 continents and competing in over 30 different countries, it’s easy to get a hunger and appreciation for what the world has to offer and the many amazing places that are out there for us to experience.
Over the last couple of years I have thought long and hard about what else I am passionate about that I can make a career out of. I now know that this is it. I am a Travel Professional. I want to spend my time, energy, and resources helping people achieve their best travel experiences because that is what I know, that is what I love, and that is what I’m good at. I have seen so much of the world and I hope that never ends because it brings me a lot of joy. If I can share that joy with others, and help them create memories of their own they can cherish, then that’s one career I know is perfect for me.
The world is full of amazing places... you should go, and I should plan it.
Life is full of transition. You get somewhere, you stay there for a little while, and then right when you start to get comfortable, something inside of you is pushing you in a different direction. Nudging you towards something you should be doing, even when you don't really quite understand it. That's pretty much been my experience when it comes to my career path.
For years I did something I loved to do and had the chance to travel the world as a professional athlete, but then it came time to transition out. So, I took my skill set and my very unique sounding resume and made my way to Corporate America and started doing something else. It was something I could do, but not necessarily something I loved to do. After a while I began to feel that nudge. It was pushing me to get uncomfortable and start doing something I wanted to do-- something I felt passionate about. I have a love for travel, a heart for people, and a desire to help make their dreams come to life. I figured there has to be a way to make that into a career so that's what I'm doing. Today I announced my new career and the new path I am headed down. It's scary.. in a good way.