Becoming a travel agent is a lot of work. It’s not just a matter of loving to travel (though that does help), it’s also a messy cocktail of research, advertising, marketing, networking, around the clock customer service, and praying to the Gods that everything goes smoothly when a client is about to travel.
This is by no means a ‘rockstar’ career choice. In fact, I challenge you to name even one famous travel agent. No? Don’t worry. Until I started down this path I couldn’t either. And while it may seem obvious that not all jobs are going to have those huge names heading the pack, it does make it more difficult to carry on if you don’t have role models to look up to.
We need that reassurance that we can be successful in our career, and that there are no limits if we keep our heads high and pursue our goals hard enough. It’s not only important that we see this in physical form, but also that we entertain the idea enough that we are able to envision ourselves in a similar position.
Like a good book. We want to hear about someone who started where we are and through hard work and a series of unlikely plot twists, rose to overcome the challenges they faced in the beginning. Of course, there needs to be great character development, some sort of major obstacle blocking out path, and a wonky team of supportive friends who don’t get nearly enough credit. But in the end, you should be able to look back and say, hey, they did it! That could be me!
Jaclyn Sienna India
One of the people in the travel industry who has really built a name for herself over the last several years, and one whom I admire, is Jaclyn Sienna India. Jaclyn is the founder and CEO of Sienna Charles- a luxury travel company that for that has been providing their customers with unparalleled custom experiences for more than a decade.
Jaclyn is an inspiration for someone like me who saw the opportunity to do something big and took it, and it’s clear to see how well it paid off in the end. Like me, she focuses on giving clients an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience, down to every last detail. Sienna Charles has designed experiences for the world’s biggest power players ranging from past presidents to financial CEOs… Being that I specialize in Private Travel, you can see how this is someone I aspire to be like.
Like any great travel planner, her expertise comes from first-hand experience and tons of research. Starting out, Jaclyn left her job at a restaurant in Philly and spent 4 years traveling the world to scout out the most luxurious destinations to offer her clients. This also enabled her to create very tailored trips with personalized recommendations. Since the beginning, her brand, Sienna Charles, has only worked with creating ultra-lux vacations with high-touch service, never wavering from the objective. As her list of clients began to grow, so did her company. Sienna Charles is now one of the most successful luxury travel agencies in the world and Jaclyn continues to seek out unique experiences for her clients.
If you are thinking ‘wow! I want to be just like her when I grow up!’ Umm, ya… me too! And it’s stories like this that remind us of what is possible. Being able to see someone in the same field not only succeed, but really achieve their dreams is what we need to remember on the days we wake up and feel defeated… and there are a lot of those days.
But we need to remember that everyone has those days- that’s normal. That’s part of the growing process. We need to use those days to reflect, recenter ourselves, and learn. Where would Jaclyn be today if she let the hard days overshadow the good ones? And this isn’t just true for travel, this is how we need to view all aspects of life.
This right here is a good life lesson, friends. Take heed.
Yes, it’s a slow growth process for a travel agent and a business owner. Every time we make a decision we need to be asking ourselves if we are doing this just to do it, or if it is truly in the best interest of our business. The work is hard and fast but comes hard and slow. Thank God I love what I do. Every day I am learning things I didn’t know and trying to become even more of an expert in my field, so that someday I, like Jaclyn, can say that I am living my dream.
‘Sarah Wilson’– the next big name in travel!
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