Go to as many places as you can.
You can always make more money.
You can't always make more memories.”
Memories. That's what we all have and what we will cherish the most as we go through life. And some of the best memories are created through travel experiences. Whether it's an annual family vacation to someplace new each year, or a return to a familiar place, the travel experiences with family and friends is what brings us together sharing exclusive moments in time forever captured through memories.
Whenever someone asks me what I do for a living, I proudly tell people that I am a travel agent. By selling travel itself, I am helping families and individuals make the leap from turning ideas, dreams, and wishes into action, experiences and unforgettable memories that will be with them forever.
I was once in a time during my life where I wanted to wait. Wait until the kids were older to travel. Wait until I could afford a vacation. Wait until we had time off to take a vacation. But as you experience certain life experiences that alter your reality, it forces you to realize how short life really is, and that there is no reason to wait. Life is meant to be lived. In the moment and in the present as much as you can because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
I'm sure many people think that a travel agent books travel. It's true. We can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, transfers, excursions and so much more. But it's the so much more that I don't think people realize what that can encompass. We are dream makers, magic makers, and memory makers as well. And we pour ourselves, our heart and our soul into many of our clients' trips and travel plans to ensure the magic happens. That they travel with ease, and make unforgettable memories.
Last fall, our agency was hosting its first annual business conference in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for Canadian travel agents. With the crazy hurricane season of 2017, our own trips were on the verge of being significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma and we were not sure if our travel plans were permitted to continue. Ultimately, our travel plans were not affected and were able to continue with our travels. A small group of us travelling together were profoundly impacted by the devastating damage from the hurricanes and while we were fortunate to continue our travels, we wanted to do something impactful for the local community where we were visiting.
With 72 hours before our departure to Punta Cana, I set out to collect some school supplies and basic toiletry and pharmacy items that I could bring with me in my luggage. I figured I could fill up a whole suitcase so I put out a general request to family and friends for any extra supplies they may have lying around that I could take with me. I would pick them up and pack them in my suitcase.
Meeting up with other agents in our agency, each person brought with them their own collection of supplies gathered within a week's time frame. In one week, over 60 individuals were able to collect a full SUV car load of much need and valued supplies for Pack for a Purpose to give a local community organization.
The response from the local community was incredibly heartwarming as they were so shocked by our generosity. The impact that we made on that community alone is one that will stay with me forever. And continues to fuel my desire to do more, always.
"Thank you for all your donations. As you can see, we brought them to people who suffered a lot because of Hurricane Maria. Many children and families wanted us to thank you in their name. Please share this with everyone in your group who have been so kind to donate."
I am incredibly grateful for the experience, and that my children were also an integral part of this experience to see that our "little" efforts we made to collect supplies and bring them with us can have such a "huge" impact!
If you are interested in travelling with impact and volunteer opportunities abroad during your trip, let me know how I can help! It is through this experience realizing that each individual person can make an impact prompted me to become a Good Travels Advisor, to connect with other travel suppliers who are aligned with similar goals and visions. Together, we can all make a difference!