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Work and Play

I recently read a terrific article entitled Life On Purpose by Barbara Brown Taylor. The article in Yoga International  is not yet available online, but I recommend you run out and buy a copy. What follows is not by any means a summary of the article, but rather is inspired by it.

As humans, we seek to ascribe meaning to everything. Our vocation and avocations are maybe the most important areas where we want to find meaning in life. We want to know what we do matters. We want what we do to have meaning, to be important beyond a paycheck.

Most travel consultants I know entered the industry for one reason: they loved to travel. Travel is inherently inspirational and I have always contended every external voyage is mirrored internally in our psyche. Some trips are journeys of a lifetime and others lifetime journeys. Your occupation as travel professional is most likely one of of the latter – it’s a life long journey across many years and sessions with clients.

Here’s the secret. Your profession “matters” if you make it matter. When we fill our vocations and avocations with intent, when we act with purpose and with clarity, the sense of meaning is more clear for all to observe, including yourself. When you interact with your clients, when you assist with their travel planning, you are not simply arranging transportation and bedding. You are providing a setting for memories to be made, for bonds to be nourished and for souls to be revitalized. You are assisting your clients to immerse themselves in a matrix where learning, life and interpersonal relationships all combine in a single blended experience.

Sounds like good work if you can get it.

But Ms. Taylor’s article points to a singular problem with doing the work you most love. “When the music you love to play becomes the music you have to play to pay the rent, your heart can suffer from alienation of affection.” Every profession has its critical fail points where burnout is a real danger. Travel planning is certainly no exception.

That’s why your work alone is not enough. You have to play as well. Periodically, you have to leave the clients behind, lock the phone away and take a walk, ride your bike, go camping or, better yet, take a vacation. You remember vacations, right?

We advocate loudly for the necessity of time off for our clients. But when was the last time you traveled for yourself? I’m not even talking about a FAM trip. When was the last time you traveled for the sake of travel? You may remember your need, your desire, for the same benefits you extol to clients.

Don’t forget the importance of travel – not to your clients, but to yourself. You may find yourself better at work when you remember to play. That may be where you have the best chance of glimpsing meaning.

  2 thoughts on “Work and Play

  1. Christine says:

    Great article and great reminder that in order to serve our clients we need to take a “break” vacation for ourselves.

  2. Good entry, good points!

    You mentioned something that I’ve been thinking about for some time: “Most travel consultants I know entered the industry for one reason: they loved to travel.”

    I believe this was true a long time ago–like when I entered the industry in the 70s and before that as well–but somewhere between then and now and the inception of OTAs and Big Box Stores selling package trips, that reason was lost. Selling travel became a real industry and those who lloved to travel got lost in the shuffle.

    Now, I meet agents at industry events and functions who are just getting into the industry after years of working in a completely different field and they say they are getting into travel because they love to travel. This is the right attitude because, let’s face it, most of us won’t get rich doing this.

    It’s the love of travel which helps us “consult” with our clients, which is the most important thing to consider.

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