"Good timber does not grow with ease / The stronger wind, the stronger trees"
– Douglas Malloch
Congratulations - to me! Last week I won the 2020 Travel Advisor of the Year award from ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) at their annual Global Live conference! The explanation from the ASTA.org website is that the award is “given to a travel advisor who has gone the extra mile in the last 12 months to provide exceptional service for a client in a new and creative way that goes above and beyond the normal course of business.” How great is that?!
There's actually a little more to the story. Because 2020 has been such a crazy year, ASTA extended this award to ALL its member advisors for the first time in its history. Since early 2020, diligent and deeply caring travel advisors across the country have worked tirelessly to halt, cancel, rebook, and refund every trip we had on the books, which saved our clients countless hours on hold with airlines and tour operators as we protected their travel investments - and sanity! As international borders closed, you may recall horror stories of the pitiable people who booked trips with Costco or Expedia then got stranded unable to reach a live person on the phone, lost thousands of dollars in rebooking and change fees, and learned too late about the value of working with a professional travel advisor. It's so fitting that every ASTA advisor member receive an award this year!
Over 2,300 travel professionals attended ASTA Global Live, and I was a first time attendee. Since it falls so soon after Virtuoso Travel Week, I've been too fried in the past from that enormous event to attend ASTA's conference. Since both conferences were virtual this year, I was able to take them both in from the comfort of home, and I even got more out of them this way since all the content was recorded and remains available on demand. I got all the latest information from suppliers and tourism boards around the globe while having a lot of fun too.
My favorite guest speaker at ASTA Global Live was travel writer Rick Steves, who's been reflecting on why he travels. First, he said, he was having fun checking off his bucket list items. Then, it was about being inspired by the sights, like the Sistine Chapel. Finally, he travels now to get out of his comfort zone and to fly home with a broader perspective. He talked about maturing from tourist to traveler to pilgrim. Now he says he's savoring new experiences at home like dancing to concerts on TV and playing piano in the dark. He's been exploring sights closer to his own backyard, dusting off old passions, and finding postcards from his first backpacking trips. He oiled up his old trumpet. He's been reminded how there's more to life than increasing speed, how we all need each other; he looks differently at service workers now. Coming back to normalcy will be incremental. "Patience is not an American forte, but lately it's my middle name," he said. His goal is to continue to embrace life with a traveler's spirit. "Life is good, and there's still plenty to be thankful for."
Rick explained so well how I feel about travel and these times we're in. Did his sentiments resonate with you too? We all believe in the value of travel. And I'm honored to serve as your personal Travel Advisor of the Year, every year!
I creatively customize luxury travel highlighting local arts and culture, history, and cuisine for intellectually curious clients longing to feel deeply inspired by exciting destinations, culinary delights, and authentic cultural experiences on a life-changing, joyful journey of discovery.
Danielle Dybiec, Founder and President of Nine Muses Travel