Please join me Tuesday, August 11 at 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Central to explore Bella Italy. While sipping Tuscan wines, Valentina from See Italy will update us about visiting Italy when we can, for a safe taste of authentic Italy. I hope to see you - click the link below to RSVP for the evening, and thank you!
JAMAICA opened its borders to international travelers on June 15. So why, on June 16th, were there 30 people stranded at the Miami airport, denied boarding onto their ticketed flight to Montego Bay? Because they didn’t know about a newly implemented Travel Authorization form, a medical clearance that must be applied for online prior to travel, that is collected by the airport staff BEFORE passengers may board planes bound for Jamaica.
Why did I start off my article with that discouraging story? Because it’s- a great example of why using a professional travel advisor is MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER, as travel begins to rebound post-COVID-19. If those 30 disappointed passengers who were left behind at the airport had booked through their trusted advisor, they would have been informed of the new requirement, and given the information necessary to apply for and print the new Authorization form well before departure. It’s among the many services we provide!
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. So, here are my top 5 reasons why you need a professional travel advisor as a trusted partner when you are ready to travel:
The coronavirus situation changes daily, but there are moments when a post-COVID-19 future begins to take shape amidst the turmoil. Although we may be ready to imagine what it would be like to socialize as usual or to board a plane for a much-needed vacation, that doesn't mean that the post-COVID world will be the same. Travel will be different than what we've grown accustomed to, and the changes that the travel industry has already begun to implement may be here to stay.
Before we can speculate on the future, let us first examine our current situation. Political leaders have felt pressure to restart the economy. Consequently, most states have developed phased reentry plans, and are monitoring infection rates to identify the resurgence of the virus quickly. Some public recreational spaces have opened with limitations, and companies in the hospitality and tourism sector have developed rigorous cleaning routines.
Despite some progress in implementing social distancing and upgraded cleaning protocols, the US still has much to do to control the virus and minimize the scope of its impact on our day to day routine. The EU recently announced that its member states would not be admitting US citizens, for the time being, a decision the EU will review every two weeks.
Those of us fortunate enough to be working from home during quarantine look forward to returning to a state of normalcy.
And "normalcy" includes the desire to travel.
Not immediately, and not the same way - but wanderlust is returning.
Google Trends Search Term Data
To illustrate this returning demand, we've consulted Google Trends, a tool that shows the popularity of a search term relative to total search volume in a given time frame. For ease of comparison, Google converts search volume into an index ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the highest possible interest for a given term. You can compare trends over time or analyze the popularity of search terms to one another. Below, we've done both.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso
The quote above is attributed to Pablo Picasso. I came across it as a framed print in a dental office and it stopped me in my tracks. You see, in my business I work with brilliant entrepreneurial mentors, and critical to the success of one's business is understanding what sets one apart from others - in other words, one's Brilliance.
I will admit I've struggled with figuring out my brilliance, yes, I have a passion for travel, yes, I like to help busy people create memories that will last a lifetime - but let's get real - I'd wager every travel advisor can honestly claim these reasons for being in this business. But during a conversation over a leisurely dinner, with a travel colleague I'd just met in person after many online collaborations - it struck me - my brilliance is helping people do something for the first time.
So what does this mean? To me, it means I'm here to help you experience things that are new to you - to do things for the first time. From getting your first passport - to taking your first cruise - to taking your first river cruise - to your first hop across the pond - to coming face to face with magnificent beings as the elephants pictured above - and someday, traveling for the first time post-COVID - I will here to help you do something for the first time.
In closing, I came across another Picasso quote which seems entirely fitting: "Everything you can imagine is real." And somewhere on this beautiful blue planet that's our home, it's likely true - so think about it and remember it is my privilege to help you do it - for the first time.
This week as the US celebrates July 4th, I'm featuring a guest author, Kevin Vo of Premier Wellness Travel. Rich and I are observing the holiday at home; we have been using our grill - a lot - and today are going to be grilling ribs with a side of scalloped potatoes from Kent Rollins' new cookbook. We miss being able to see our family and friends, and look forward to when it's safe to get together and greet each other with a hug.
Happy 4th of July to you all,
It's not too late to sign up or order the wine for these upcoming events - click the button below for information
Today we pause and reflect on the fathers in our lives. Pictured above is my dad with me and my sisters. As the firstborn of my dad's 4 daughters, on Father's Day, my dad always thanks me for making him a dad.
My passion for travel was inherited from my parents. As a child and young man, my dad's travel experiences were limited to visits to his family - traveling from Chicago to Milwaukee to visit his mom's relatives, or to Richmond, Indiana to visit his grandfather. (He did participate in a historical American event - his family hitchhiked from Chicago to Washington, D.C. as part of the "Bonus Army" when he was a toddler.) Drafted during the Korean Conflict - my father was deployed to France, serving as a clerk-typist to a unit of architects and engineers. Being stationed in Europe was a life-changing experience for him, and he took advantage of every day of furlough to explore the continent. After his discharge, he returned home to Chicago, and met my mom while they both worked for Lions International. At the time, my mother was planning to enter the convent; she was visiting relatives in Mexico on what she called her farewell tour when she ran into my dad on a Guadalajara sidewalk. "What are you doing here?" she asked him - and he responded that he had been moved by her descriptions of Mexico's beauty, and wanted to see it for himself. The rest, as they say, is history - and I can honestly say that I owe my very existence to my father's curiosity about the world, sparked by his travel experiences.
As we continue to navigate these unique times, I for one am hopeful that by Father's Day next year, we will once again be able to enrich our lives by exploring more of the world.
Happy Father's Day!
Save The Dates
During July, I'll be hosting three virtual wine and travel nights, featuring wines from South Africa, France and Italy. I'll be partnering with a bay area wine merchant, from whom you can order the wines we'll be tasting - as well as travel partners with expertise in each of those countries. The ZOOM calls will be at 5 PM Pacific, 8 PM Eastern, on three Thursdays - July 8, July 15 and July 22 - details will be released shortly. I hope you will join us for these physically distanced but very social events.
From Joan's Kitchen
If you missed my live demo of how to make my mother's non-traditional Gazpacho, never fear - here's the link for the video. To request the recipe, click the button below the video. And on Monday June 22 at 2 PM Pacific, 5 PM Eastern and 4 PM Central, I'll be in the kitchen again - this time, making a Mexican Shrimp Cocktail! tune in to my personal page on Facebook, to follow along.
What's a Wanderlist?
I am very fortunate to be affiliated with Virtuso, which describes themselves like this: "Virtuoso is the leading global network of agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel, with more than 20,000 advisors. We partner with over 1,800 of the world’s best companies such as hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more. Our advisors use their personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft bespoke trips for clients, including unique experiences, special values, complimentary perks, VIP treatment and rare access." Since mid-March, Virtuoso has been incredibly supportive to its membership community of travel entrepreneurs, and they've recently announced the rollout of the Virtuoso Wanderlist - a digital tool to explore destinations around the world, as well as unique and specialized things to do in those destinations. I've linked a PDF with more information - and it would be my pleasure to share a complimentary link to this tool with you! -If you're interested, just reply to this email to let me know. We will be able to travel again - and creating your own Wanderlist will encourage you to learn and dream about -and anticipate - where you may want to travel when we can.
A very wise and thoughtful colleague, Kathleen Sullivan of Anthology Travel, recently published this article. It's so well done that I'm sharing almost verbatim (with permission, of course!) I hope that you'll find this helpful.
A few thoughts on travel for the summer/fall of 2020:
I know we all just want to get the heck out of Dodge, but there are some things to keep in mind.
Develop from the negatives, and if all else fails, take another shot.
I really like this quote - literally it gives logical advice for photographers - but this is good advice for life, too. We truly can learn and grow from every single experience. For me, among the key lessons learned during our current situation is the importance of family and friends, and to remember to appreciate and savor all the truly amazing things that we are privileged to be able to do.
During this Memorial Day Weekend I would also like to take a moment and recognized with gratitude all those who have served our country. In our family, my grandfather and both of Rich's grandfathers were deployed during World War I, and Rich's father was deployed during World War II. My Uncle Bill enlisted during World War II; my father served during the Korean Conflict, but was very fortunate to be deployed in France, and my Uncle Jim served in the Air Force. During our travels we have had the privilege of visiting American cemeteries in Normandy, Maastricht and Anzio - doing so is a very sobering experience as you acknowledge so many who gave their lives to preserve freedom.
How do you feel about cooking? Do you absolutely love it, do you have a kitchen only because it came with the house - or are you somewhere in between these two extremes? Personally, I really enjoy preparing food - but it can be hard to come up with tasty dishes that the whole family will love. With so many people having fun with home cooking, I thought it would be good to have a taste-test challenge, featuring Chocolate Lava Cake.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.