I believe that travelers should experience their destinations as opposed to merely seeing them, and that is why I became a travel agent. Hello everyone! I am Pam Hallberg, travel consultant, entrepreneur, CEO and jack of all trades for my business, Hallberg Travel & Tours. It’s incredibly humbling to be able to share my professional experiences throughout the year as one of the five writers for the Travel Agent Diaries column. If all goes according to plan, I might be able to share some 2013 travel experiences with you as well.
Most of us got into this business through our passion for travel and I am no exception. I’ve left my footprints and cruise ship wakes all over North America, Europe and the Caribbean. Traveling is fun, but for me and quite possibly for many of you, traveling is transforming. Andrew Zimmern, celebrity on the Travel Channel and fellow Minnesotan, says, “I like who I am when I’m traveling better than the person I am when I wake up every morning in my own house.” I get this, and I think this is how the passion for travel begins. As another travel blogger, Katherine Lonsdorf, further explains, “There’s something about the way I approach a new day when I’m somewhere else, with a kind of childlike wonder and excitement, that doesn’t always translate into my everyday life.” So, here are the roots of my desire to work in the travel industry and my “experience it all” child-like travel philosophy. I strive to promote this philosophy to my clients and in my marketing efforts. At the bottom of most of my correspondence you will find my favorite travel quote: “A tourist sees a destination, a traveler experiences it.”
In addition to traveling, my other passions are planning, organizing, technology, reading, food and wine. (Not necessarily in that order!) Before becoming an agent in 2005, I was a professional librarian for 23 years. My library career was focused on the lesser known world of business libraries rather than the public and academic libraries that most people think of, but the point remains that chaos is not my friend. The organizing, planning, reading and technology were all a part of my librarian life and now are all key aspects of my travel professional life. I love being able to put these passions to use to plan a perfect travel experience for my clients. Now the disclaimer; even the best laid travel plans can run afoul, and chaos can and does result. Admittedly, most of my clients handle this chaos better than I do. But I’m happy to report that my travel self, miraculously, is not quite as devastated by chaos as my at-home self. Another aspect of the transforming power of travel!
Usually, I work from my home office in Minnesota, but I also work from my second home in Florida where my husband and I go to escape the winter cold for a few weeks every year. Technology has been invaluable for me in creating a portable and functional work environment and I’m always on the lookout for new gadgets and ideas.
Although I’m all alone in my office, I often feel like I have “people.” I have been using Nexion as my host agency for eight years, and I can receive support from the Nexion staff and other Nexion agents no matter where my office is located.
Now I need to explain how the passion for food and wine fits into this picture. Over the past two years I’ve developed a niche in culinary, food and wine focused tours and cruises, and have added a tagline to my business name: “Creating Tasteful Travel Experiences.” I have led one group wine cruise and have arranged wine themed land tours which I hope to share more about in the coming months.
Already, I have enjoyed reading the diary entries of the other agents and look forward to following their progress and hearing their stories this year. I plan to share my successes and failures (yikes!) in these pages and I am hoping this will be a good lesson in discipline, thoughtfulness and creativity for me. I am especially looking forward to hearing your comments and ideas, so please don’t be bashful about pressing the “comment” button. Most of all, I hope this will be a fun experience for all of us!
Pam Hallberg is a travel consultant who enjoys arranging food and wine themed tours and cruises. She owns her own home-based business, Hallberg Travel & Tours: Creating Tasteful Travel Experiences.