This post has been in my drafts for the last 6 weeks. Over those weeks, I've been keeping a secret. More importantly, I've been working HARD on this secret. Today, I'm finally letting you in on it.
You guys all know how much moving to Germany and living abroad changed my life, right? I mean, I wrote a whole blog about it. Experiencing expat life and, more importantly, getting to travel all over Europe, created a passion for travel in me that I haven't been able to shake. Leaving Germany and life filled with consistent travel was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I grew to be so attached to the way we jaunted off every other weekend, the way we always had trips to look forward to. Coming back to America and beginning a new chapter (including purchasing a new home and getting our sweet pup back), while insanely wonderful, also jolted me. I had quite a few rough days over the 5 months that we've been home, to say the very least. D and I often reminisce about our former life as we navigate the challenges of our new life. In doing so, I expressed my need to get back into the working world. Before moving abroad, I worked as a Nutritionist with a government supplemental food program. In Germany, my career was put on hold because of the lack of job opportunities on base. Then, my blog turned into a way for me to stay super busy and make a little side hustle to fund our travels. It also opened doors for me to be submerged in the travel aspects of social media and marketing. Running this blog full time was perfect for the situation we were in abroad and I LOVED the freedom of working from home and having a schedule that allowed me to be around for D and to fill our days with so much travel. Now that we've "returned to reality" (as I like to say), I knew I needed more than the blog to keep me busy.
I also knew that if I were to begin working again, I didn't want to return to the world of nutrition. That job WORE ME OUT...mentally and emotionally. And I was far from passionate about it. In fact, I quite hated it. Brainstorming with D before we moved home, we tossed around a lot of ideas for my future career...but one thing kept sticking out in my mind. Whatever I did, I knew I wanted it to have something to do with travel. Really, I NEEDED it to have something to do with travel. My sanity was at stake here. ;) A few friends kept mentioning how awesome I would be as a travel agent. Having planned dozens and dozens of trips (all different travel types, vacation sizes, and destinations), their comments really started to make me think. I had the credentials, I had the passport stamps, and I had the passion for travel...it was almost a no-brainer. Soon after we got settled into our new Florida home (and after many long conversations with D, counsel with loved ones, and never-ending prayers), I began the process of starting my travel agent career!
In beginning this crazy new endeavor, I had no idea where to start. I did my due diligence and researched my butt off for weeks. Did I want to work for a brick and mortar travel agency or would becoming a home-based independent travel agent be more my speed? Knowing I still craved the flexibility of creating my own hours and wanting to still be able to run this fun blog o' mine, the home-based option felt comfortable to me. I was excited about the idea of being my own boss, but I knew I still needed help to make that dream happen. That's when I found the amazing host agency of Destinations to Explore--a well-established, highly touted Florida-based host agency that houses a number of independent travel agents all across America. Working through a host agency is basically means for ongoing support (operational, marketing, sales, etc.), clout, and guidance. I like to think of them as my AMAZING mentors x 10...because they do so much more than guide me in building my new business. I'm constantly surrounded by travel professionals who know the business and are passionate about travel and helping others. In other words, I hit the host agency jackpot! Anywho, in the beginning of October, I signed on with DTE and began the process of building my new home-based travel agent business. EEEK! Since then, I've been working hard learning the travel agent ropes, training for various travel vendors, building marketing plans, networking lists, and preparing my heart to start this new endeavor. This whole thing scares me out of my mind, but I'm also overwhelmed with excitement. And typically, if things both terrify you and excite you, they're worth diving into.
So, with all of that long winded story being said, today marks the official launch of Road Less Traveled Vacations! YAY!! In keeping with my blog's branding and hoping to feed off my current internet presence (hey, hey, blog world!), the name 'Road Less Traveled Vacations' seemed like it HAD to happen (work smarter, not harder is my new life motto). My SUPER talented cousin created the fun logo you see below (thanks, Linds!) and I couldn't be more in love with it. Just for clarification, if you see me talk about Destinations to Explore or Destinations in Florida and promote things through them, it's because my new business and my host agency go hand in hand. It's a Papa Bear/Baby Bear-type relationship. :)
This is where all the fun begins, guys. This is where your vacation dreams can be turned into a reality. This is where I take all the guesswork and headache out of your travel planning and make the entire process from the second you choose a destination all the way to the "WELCOME HOME!" a total breeze. I'm here to be that ace in your back pocket. Your one-stop shop for vacation deals, booking, and continued support throughout your ENTIRE vacation. And if crap hits the fan while you're on that dream vacay, I'm your fixer. Tired of battling vacation comparison sites for deals? I'm your deal maker. Not sure where to start? I've got the expertise to point you in the right direction. Aside from all-inclusive Caribbean vacations, cruises, USA travel, and exotic destinations all over the world (to name a few), here's just some of the vendors I'm certified to build dream vacations for:
Disney College of Knowledge Graduate (meaning I'm your Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney's Aulani Hawaii resort, & Adventures by Disney hookup!)
Sea World Parks & Entertainment Specialist
Orlando Vacation Expert Specialist
Celebrity Cruises 5 Star Certified
Royal Caribbean Cruises WOW! Expert
But the vacation building doesn't stop there...I'm THRILLED to be able to book dream EUROPEAN vacations & cruises for those looking to explore one of my most favorite continents in the world! I've been talking about amazing cities all over Europe for years, so if you've ever wanted to take your wanderlust to reality or ever emailed me asking advice on how to plan your Europe vacation, you should probably give me a call! ;) I'm ready to design the perfect European getaway you'll be bragging about for years to come! Did I mention my services are FREE?? Yep, F-R-E-E!!
Have I convinced you? Then what are you waiting for! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your FREE VACATION QUOTE! And if you'd like to get my monthly newsletter filled to the brim with great deals, exciting destination profiles, and loads of information on current travel promotions, then click the button below and fill out the form! Don't forget to "LIKE" the Road Less Traveled Vacations Facebook page to have travel deals, info, and giveaways (yes, giveaways!) come straight to your FB feed! In addition, I'll be adding a tab to my blog navigation bar dedicated to Road Less Traveled Vacations. I'll be posting weekly travel deals and promotions there, so feel free to bookmark it and check back often! Lastly, be on the lookout for news on my Referral Program, so when you spread the word about Road Less Traveled Vacations and your friends book vacation packages, you get PAID! No, really! Tell your mom, grandma, friends, and enemies (I help them too, sorry). ;)
WHEW! That's my long-winded spiel. Sorry about that. But it is essentially why I've been a little more silent on the blog and very, very busy secretly planning this new (and exciting) business for our family. It's been a labor of love, so I hope you all will bear with me as I navigate balancing both this space and my new career. And as always, thanks SO VERY MUCH for your continued support! You guys are a large part of the reason this dream business has come to fruition for our family, so I can't forget to thank you for the encouragement you given me over the years. I am feeling very grateful this holiday season...for new opportunities, for our new life in Florida, and for the amazing things to come in 2015! Let's get traveling, friends!