By the time you read this, I will be in the Land of Fire and Ice, a place where the puffins live; although, being smart, they have already left for the season and are out to sea. I, on the other hand seek out the colder climes and amazing experiences, including the opportunity to take an ATV trip on the Vatnajokull Glacier. My hard work and dedication to my business had paid off and I am making it across the pond, or at least halfway across, to Iceland. It is still Europe, so my streak of getting to Europe at least once a year for the past 14 or 15 years remains intact. This is very important as I am an independent European destination specialist, so any onsite training has a direct and valuable impact on my clients. The fact that this is a quick trip is not an issue, but also has reminded me about how fragile this business can be. I could take a longer trip somewhere else, but I have learned to be more attune to the business environment and not just run off to Europe whenever I want. If business had been better earlier on, I may have made it to Europe earlier and stayed for a longer time. The opportunities certainly presented themselves, but I had to be more careful.
In preparing for this small adventure and being able to make it happen, I have reminded myself about how important it is to stay in touch with my clients. I was concerned that business would fall off going into the shoulder and low seasons; yet by re-connecting with my clients over the past month or so, I have received more and more requests for trips that are considered off season. I have a number of clients traveling in October and November, unlike years past. I have connected with leads through my favorite lead service, Tripology, for clients all over the country that have plans to travel over the holidays and beyond. Others are looking at travel adventures already for next summer, so I am feeling good about the future of travel in general–and my business in particular!The wanderlust found in people will always be there, but it still continues to amaze me during these economic times. I am always concerned about the next economic turndown, as we all are, but I know that with optimism and seeking out new opportunities, business will continue to grow. I am confident of that.
One of the opportunities that I am working on is leading small group tours that I have arranged to Europe using resources and connections which I have developed over the years. I love every opportunity to plan individual and small group adventures; creating the unique adventures for each of my clients, but I want more. I want to create an adventure or two where I have the opportunity to lead 10 to 15 couples over to Europe which becomes a true Wandering Puffin Experience. This is my short term goal. I realize that there are many escorted group tour operators, but I believe there are still niche areas where a small tour can be created to fit some very specific desires of various groups. I am not looking to compete with the big boys, but perhaps use their expertise and resources and couple them with my experience planning travel adventures for a truly unique Wandering Puffin Experience. Of course, certain experiences would overlap with the usual sightseeing, but having a niche upon which I can expand would allow me to bring experiences that are not the norm. Having read others’ experiences in leading groups, I am well aware of the challenges inherent in this type of venture, especially when it comes to creating a unique itinerary that has not been done before. I do not want to re-invent the wheel, but expand upon it and take it in different directions. I want my company to grow and continue to evolve. I took a chance first of all going independent from the agency with whom I worked for 8 ½ years and then 3 years ago decided to start my own company. I believe that this is next step in this evolution.
Safe travels until next time and the return of the Wandering Puffin.
Jamison Bachrach is better known as the Wandering Puffin for the way he likes to travel. Jamison has been in the travel industry for almost 14 years and has been home based for a little more than 2 years and specializes in independent European travel planning, specifically, central and eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia.
Jamison has traveled to over 35 countries, including most of Europe. Wandering Puffin LLC. Is located in Plymouth, MN. Jamison can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 763-244-0669. www.wanderingpuffin.com.