I got my first taste of traveling when I was 18 years old, getting the opportunity to go to Italy, Monaco, France and Spain the summer after high school. However, my adventures were far from over.
That winter on break from college I hopped on a plane for the first time by myself to visit my mom’s friends in Germany.
This definitely helped build my confidence abroad as Kassel was not the final destination from Frankfurt on the train I had to get on, leaving me to ask locals in English. This friendly couple helped me get on the right train by asking a train conductor which way to go. I don’t normally advertise trusting strangers but I had no other choice. Little did I know at the time how kind-hearted the German people are!
Did I mention I really didn’t know what the family was going to look like? While I was standing at the train station not knowing what to look for I was greeted with friendly smiles from the family that I would make my own.
I then began my journey to explore the Christmas village in Kassel, found a new home in Scherfede, and fell in love with Warburg, Dusseldorf, and Paderborn.
Fast forward to last year where I became a travel agent. Me? A travel agent? Oh yeah! I now get to share the world with everyone!!
I got to plan trips (although I have a hard time planning my own, sorry Gretel) talk about amazing places, and get people excited every day.
I could make people fall in love with places I have visited and gave them special insight about how to make the trips truly special. However, it was not meant to last.
I couldn’t keep up with learning each and every hotel, giving “special feedback” on a place I have never seen, how to make a trip perfect for a place I researched while I was talking with someone. I couldn’t make the sales, and I fell.
Although I saw the end coming and prepared for it, it was the last meeting with my manager that devastated me.
I tried my best to make sales but always fell short because with the hundreds of resorts, cruises, and airlines, there were always something that I “missed”.
That, I could understand.
It was the stack of paper sitting under her hand that was the trigger.
“These are complaints I have received about how you have been planning trips…”
…and people’s vacations were ruined based off of your recommendations.”
I’m the travel guy…I have my own travel blog….and based off of my recommendations I ruined people’s trips? I left that office a different person, not Kyle the GKexplorer, but Kyle the Failure. The one thing I thought I was good at and I failed people.
I sent someone on their honeymoon to Cancun and even though I have never been to the Caribbean I did my best to research the best hotel for them, asked my “to busy for me” coworkers for help, and when he went down I heard that the weather was terrible. Was he in that pile?
I sent Gretel’s friend and her boyfriend to Las Vegas and recommended where to stay and what to do, was she in that pile as well? How many trips have a ruined?
I told people I was “let go” because I couldn’t make the sales goal, but I neglected to say what my manager told me. That I ruined people’s trips. My authority was stripped from me. I stopped talking about travel completely, didn’t have a right to have a travel blog, didn’t get excited about travel.
I lost my travel agent title at the end of February, it is now May and I am now just talking about it. I thought and thought and thought about what could have been in that pile, and I realized something; That pile included the people that I closed out because they stopped contacting me, the difficult time-consuming trips I had to put on the back burner, the bad weather, the bad service I couldn’t control, the places I have never been.
Talking with Gretel, her friend that went to Vegas, loved the trip I planned for her. She wasn’t in that pile. I didn’t fail her.
Walking around Germany I saw buildings that were destroyed or completely gone, hearing “This was destroyed during (insert war here)” yet they rebuild for a brighter future.
It is time I do the same.
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