It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago my days were filled flying cross country, interviewing surgeons, touring hospitals and worrying about increasing case volume so we could maximize our bottom line and make our shareholders happy. I actually had a great job and I made good money! But it wasn’t making me fell fulfilled. I felt like I was running in a hamster wheel… chasing my tail… living a perpetual “Groundhog Day” where each day just blurred into the next. So, I did what I see more and more mid-thirties “mid life crisis” sufferers doing these days. I QUIT! No, it wasn’t like the epic F*ck scene from “Office Space” 😊 I gave more than enough notice and took a leap of faith that everything would just fall into place. I had managed to stuff away a few acorns and I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to pursue a career in my first LOVE… Travel!
I have always loved to visit new places and meet new people but my passion for travel really emerged as I “backpacked” across six continents and 17 countries trying to heal my heart from a failed marriage. Yes, yes I know… how “Eat, Pray, Love” of me. But I truly believe I had lost myself and traveling, escaping from everything that had consumed my life for over a decade, was the only way I could find myself again.
Sooooo, now how do I turn this into a profession? Did someone say Travel Agent? Do those still exist? Why, yes they do. And now I am one 😊 Of course the field has changed drastically thanks to the internet but believe it or not the once dying profession of a Travel Agent is making a drastic comeback. Now, thanks again to the internet with its ten million travel websites, fake reviews and tricky photography, planning a vacation has become a cumbersome crapshoot! You might get lucky and chose an amazing resort with fabulous beaches and delish cuisine. Or you might pick the whammy and spend your five-day vacation in a mediocre destination with disgruntled staff and Golden Coral buffet style restaurants.
Wouldn’t you rather have the guidance of a Travel Professional who is up to speed on what’s new in travel, looks at flights and researches resorts daily and has actually been to many of the resorts or destinations your considering visiting? Well to me this is a no brainer, but when you consider the fact that we provide all of our expertise at no additional cost to you, then it seems you would have to be a lil cray-cray not to have us guide you. Almost done with the sales pitch… We get paid the same as Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak and all the other .com’s but we do the leg work for you an we’re there to support you “when-if” things go wrong!
Ok, back to my Journey. So now I’m a travel agent… well I was still really “in training” at this point, but I start to make bookings for my friends, my family and of course myself. I’m studying about all of the different cruise lines, resort chains, flight booking options and trying to find my niche. There truly is a ton of info to absorb and while it’s not like studying for a finance mid-term it is still a lot of work. I’m working for myself now and I’m loving the freedom but I’m starting to miss having personal interaction. My connection to the world has been almost completely limited to my cell phone, my email and the occasional webinar. I love working in my PJ’s but I quickly realize that I need some face to face interaction on a regular basis. I know I’m on the right path to building the life that will give me the flexibility and stability I desire, I just need to add something more… And then just like that, the “something more” thing falls in my lap!
I was chatting on the phone with a friend I made a few months before on a trip to Mexico City to help rejuvenate an elementary school and she starts telling me about her upcoming trip to Morocco to become a Yoga Teacher. This was truly one of those ah-ha moments for me! The light bulb started glowing brightly right above my head. I didn’t mention this earlier but part of my “Eat, Pray, Love” journey included doing Yoga in each of my destinations. I’ve practiced Yoga off and on for over a decade, but I always wanted to take my practice to a deep place and what better way to dive in than a 200 hr intensive teacher training on a beach in Morocco. Best of all I could keep working on travel bookings while I get certified… so I thought :)
So, I contacted the teachers and signed up the next day. I was a little behind in the “pre-studies,” so I got to work right away. We had about 6 weeks of work leading up to our arrival at the training, so I started to beef up my yoga practice, going at least every other day. It’s hard to explain the amount of work that went into prepping for the training, but it consumed my “free” time almost completely. I was training and studying for travel during the day and then reading, reflecting, writing and practicing for Yoga in the evenings. I was almost caught up by the time I arrived in Morocco and I thought I was ready to rock this training!!!
But I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into…