It’s been a solid two years since my last entry on this ghost of a blog, so I am going to try to start over. It’s been a wonderful time for me (personally) as well for Bon Voyage by Barbour, and I am excited to share some of the experiences and travels I have had over the years. For now, I figured I’d talk about who I am, what got me started and why I’m still operating this travel business after 6 years (I just had my anniversary in September 😁).
I never set out to be a travel agent or run my own business. This wasn’t even on my radar. In high school I fell in love with media, communications and television production. When I enrolled in college that was my desired career path. One semester of film courses at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE), however, showed me that maybe that wasn’t the best move. So I moved on in search of another path. I found it in the world of psychology and instantly became fascinated with human behavior. So much so that I planned to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology in order to become a therapist.
After two years of working and making very little money for the University, I called a former professor for some career guidance. She suggested social work, as I could still be a therapist without all of the extra school and the bear of writing a dissertation. That had never crossed my mind, so I looked into it, applied, and was accepted into the 16 month program. I was going to be a social worker!!!
And so it was. In 2004 I began my social work career and although I was proficient in my job, I never felt the driving passion or excitement that I experienced when I discovered film in back in high school. But I kept going because it was a secure career path.
Security. It has been a crutch.
My social work career afforded me the opportunity to move to Florida, where I remain to this day. I also a landed a sweet government job with amazing salary and benefits. I thought I was set! But I was still lacking passion and felt like I was going through the motions.
Fast forward to 2012. I was planning a 1 year anniversary trip for my husband and me: a 10 day Mediterranean cruise. I put together the entire trip, including booking all of our tours and excursions and flights with an extra stopover in London, and I loved every minute. We had been married an an all-inclusive resort the year prior and my husband could see the excitement that travel gave me. It’s true – I LOVED traveling, giving my friends travel tips, and planning my next trip. He suggested I look into booking travel on the side and I decided to look into it. Why not; I loved travel!!!!
I began my research and found that linking up with a host travel agency, one that allowed me to operate as an Independent Contractor with access to their training, booking tools and credentials, was the best route for me. And there was no push toward recruiting – this was not an MLM. I’ve been with this same agency since the beginning and am so grateful for the tools they’ve provided to help me grow this business!!
I’ll end the narrative there, but I will say that I truly feel that I have tapped into my true passion. Travel makes me excited!! It’s not about the money for me – federal social work jobs pay WELL and I would stick with that if I was completely money-driven. No….I get excited about new cruise ships and learning about resorts and talking to clients about their dream trips. I get a thrill in presenting clients with recommendations that meet their specifications. And when I get that text or email or call or post from a client saying how much they enjoyed their trip, it truly brings me joy. I am finally in my lane, doing what I love and am passionate about!
I titled this post “When Passion Meets Purpose” because I feel that every step I’ve taken thus far has led me to this point. My background in social work and psychology has actually trained me on how to deal with people: how to be a good and effective listener, as well as how to deal with clients when in a crisis. Even how – in the few times it’s happened – to de-escalate an angry client. (Three words I will share now: Buy. Travel. Insurance.) My prior interest in media production will eventually come into play as I further develop the content I post on social media….I just have to retrain myself on all of the technology!
Today I am continuing to grow and allow my past training to help me unite my passion and purpose through Bon Voyage by Barbour. The Caribbean, Mexico, and cruises are what make me tick and what I know best. Alleviating clients of the burden associated with travel planning is why I am here; and you want someone who loves travel actually planning your trips, right? I’ve helped brides plan their ultimate destination wedding, couples plan an unforgettable romantic getaway, family groups travel for a period of reunification and bonding…a little something of everything. Every trip, every group, every client is special and important to me. I’m just so happy that my passion and purpose have conjoined to allow me to help others!