The more I think about it, the more I miss travel. To the point that it pits my soul. I remember getting on the plane to Sweden and I was in 7th heaven. Its as if my body and spirit were in line. Nothing in life puts a bigger smile on my face.
I think it started when I was kid and my fathers damn travel agency. Damn you dad. I still have a book i made for him in 2nd grade and its a picture of me standing in front of the travel agency. I have a goofy smile on my face and for those of you that know me now, you will recognize it, because it rears its ugly (or cuteness) at this age often.
It was my second grade class at Park Dale Lane in a galaxy far far away, in an age, well lets just say before cell phones, instagram and snappie. We had a bring your parent to school day, however, my dad arranged for a field trip. We went to his office. He showed all my classmates around and showed them the computers and they were all fascinated.
He told them what he did and how it was that they were able to travel on a plane, train, or boat. After his speech, he took all the kids to right aid and bought them a single scoop ice cream. In one day I became the hero of the day. I remember kids talking about it for weeks. It left a major mark on me.
Fast forward to 1992. I have finished my Associates Degree in college and had just started my Bachelors in business at the University of West Florida. I was working lots of hours plus picked up hours at the movie theatre and my schedule was jam packed. I was run down and not very enthused. I remember the rainy day I got a call from my dad checking in on me and I told him I was miserable. He said, "I may have the remedy for you". He asked me to come home and open a travel agency with him. I told him to give me a few weeks to think about it. He told me to take until the end of the month.
After lots of thoughts and calculations, I finally decided to take the plunge and move home and help him with his new endeavor. I said goodbye to my florida friends and drove home in a Uhaul and within a week, we began building his dream agency. We finished everything in under a month and began to file the ARC application to become an agency. It was arduous and slow, but so worth it.
I got to spend almost 2 years building a business from the ground up. I met amazing people, booked some great trips for people, and got to work with a legend in the business. He taught me so much in such a short period of time, there were times I thought my head was going to explode. My dad knew all the tricks and if I found a cheap fare, he normally found it cheaper. I remember a july day when a client came in and was looking for an emergency ticket to Amsterdam leaving the next day. My dad was out and I had started research into wholesalers (they would buy seats at a MUCH discounted price). I made a few calls and saved this guy like 60% over what he would have paid. My dad came in to help close the sale and let the guy know it was fully legit. 20 minutes later, the client is hugging my father and I and thanking us for such a wonderful service we offered and that he had been everywhere trying to save some money. When he walked out, I remember my dad saying, "You done good kid, you done real good"
Apparently that client liked us and had connections and got us lots of business. He helped us get the three largest casinos corporate business along the coast. We became the exclusive agent for all three casinos and even worked in some travel packages for prizes. It was good for business. I traveled as much as I could. I got to go to DC for free on US Air because my dad sold so much business on US air in one quarter. A few months later I won a trip to Mexico city. I took advantage of as many of the trips as I could.
2 years went by and I decided to go back to school. I needed to finish my degree and my dad really wanted me to, as I would be the first in the family to get my degree (of all my cousins). It was a tough thing to leave because I know my dad really loved having me there. After several years, my dad struggled with the business. Commissions got cut, I got a job in Denver in travel (when its in, it stays in the blood). My dad continued to struggle and remain relevant and eventually after giving his life to a profession that he loved, 42 years worth, He passed away.
Years have come and gone and I have remained true to his words to me..."above all else travel and see the world". I miss him daily. I miss his inspiration and humor. In 2009 I had a channeling of him as my best bud Noah and I climbed Corcovado...it was as if I was in his body back in 1978 taking photos. In 2015, I went to india, chasing his footsteps. I got a pic in front of the Taj Mahal similar to what he had done. When I don't travel I feel complacent and a bit stale. I love getting on a plane and meeting new people. Its a drug that I never want to give up.
I know that this next journey, wherever I go, I want to be involved with the airlines. I want to work for the business that put awe in my eyes every time I went to the airport. For me it isn't about the money now, its about doing what I have wanted to do since the 2nd grade. From now on, its about pursuing that passion. Who knows where this next journey will take me, but I breathe it in as if it is the fresh morning air. As I always say, live it like its your last day. Breathe it like its your last breath and make people smile along the way.
Until next time...