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Postcards from Rwanda

Well it wasn't a postcard, but early this morning, my cell phone pinged with an incoming message. I was greeted with this photo and the following ...

"Well my dear friend, I did it! Thanks to you I had an amazing day I will never forget!"

This client turned friend, wanted me to know that on her second day of Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, she got what she came for. The photo of that beautiful young gorilla, and what it represented, just moved me to tears. It also reminded me once again, why I do what I do.

Although very well traveled, she had been a bit apprehensive about doing this part of the trip alone. She will later join her family for the Safari part, but for now she was going it solo. Would the trekking be too much for her, was it safe, could she keep up? We talked about all of it, but she was determined. And so, with the help of the amazing people at MICATO SAFARIS and several months of planning, we come to this photo, this message, this moment, that I was privileged to have a hand in.

Over my morning coffee, this moment of instant gratification, caused me to reflect a bit about my job and what I do...

As a travel advisor for over 36 years, I came into our industry at a time of great change. Here's the part where I date myself. I learned to write 4-flight airline tickets - yes paper tickets! I used an OAG, OHRG, The Blue Box, and sent faxes to check hotel availability. I kept meticulous notes in paper files and used a typewriter to type all my Rolodex cards. I laugh as I type this knowing, that our younger industry colleagues, have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about! It must all sound so quaint to them!

Indeed, much has changed. Before cell phones, I would rarely hear from a client before coming back from a trip. If you did get a long distance call, it was usually because someone missed their flight, or lost their passport. Nope, I wouldn't hear about their adventures until well after they came home. They would often come to the office toting photo albums, wanting to share and relive all the special moments.

Yes, much HAS changed, but the REASON people travel, their desires to see and do and experience and feel has not changed. Not one bit. If anything, the information superhighway has exposed them to possibilities they weren't even aware of!

And so for us travel advisors, certainly HOW we work and go about our day has changed incredibly. but the WHY is still the same. It's the knowing that we helped create a memory and experience that will stay with them forever. It's that photo, text, email, and even old fashioned note that says, "this is amazing, and you helped make it happen." For me, this morning, it was a picture of a handsome young gorilla, and how he and my client Esther, absolutely, made my day.

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