Like a lot of people my age, I recently received my first pair of hearing aids. Apparently, my ability to lip-read and mentally fill-in the missing bits had developed unconsciously over the years, masking the extent of my loss. Eventually I could no longer compensate and I am now the owner of two behind-the-ear life changers.
As the audiologist had warned me, the first day was overwhelming. I was suddenly awash in chaotic cacophony coming from all directions. I developed a headache, couldn’t focus, got dizzy, and felt nauseous.
It was also magnificent! Jingling keys, rustling paper, mouse-clicks, birds in the trees, and even the whoosh-whoosh of my pant legs were all sounds I had forgotten, or heard as muffled and flat.
I used to be a professional musician, but had gradually listened to less and less music. Now I know why. When those hearing aids were switched on and I heard the full spectrum of music again, I had an unexpectedly emotional reaction.
There were also newly rediscovered annoyances that had been escaping my attention. My toilet has a very loud flush with an irritating whine as the tank fills. My running shoes are extremely squeaky. A woman I’ve been chatting with for years at the gym makes a seriously unflattering noise while doing her crunches. Perhaps she always did.
Yes, the audiologist told me all this would happen. Even in his office I marvelled at the crisp clickety-clack of his keyboard, and the sudden clarity of his voice. He was pleasantly professional, but had obviously heard it all a thousand times before.
It’s not his fault. I understand, and I’m not complaining. All day every day he listens to people like me. I’m sure it’s the same series of interactions over and over again.
During my first visit I was skeptical, defensive and price-focused. After the test and consultation I was in denial and suffering from sticker-shock (they cost as much as a nice cruise).
Months later, after I had wasted countless hours on the Internet looking for alternatives, I finally returned and ordered the devices he had recommended.
When they arrived, he put them in my ears, and magic happened. I heard magic. He heard audiogram results working, as they should. I wanted to share the magic. He wanted me to sign an invoice.
He was professional, efficient, and did his job perfectly. His transaction was complete. For me, it was not a transaction; it was a miracle.
What does this have to do with travel? Everything! Let’s turn this around a bit shall we?
All day, every day, travel consultants speak with people who are initially skeptical, possibly defensive, and often price-focused.
Many will precede and follow your consultations with countless hours wasted on the Internet looking for alternatives. Some will return and buy a cruise that costs as much as a nice pair of hearing aids. Then, the magic will happen.
Will you hear it? Will you feel it? Can you share the experience with them? Will they remember the cruise, but forget about you? The choice is yours.
Yes, you sell cruises, tours, resorts, and more all day, every day. But in reality, you are changing people’s lives. You are helping them to see, hear and experience new things and rediscover those they’ve forgotten.
You’re helping to rekindle romances, bring families together, bridge gaps between cultures, and build global understanding. There is a story behind every trip. Some are ordinary, some are remarkable, and some are miracles you may never know about.
There is magic in what you do. Like my hearing, it can fade a little over time. It’s still there, even if you can’t hear it.
Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.