One of the tiers of the Epperly Travel business model has been that of transparency – so, readers, I’ll be completely transparent with you: toward the end of last year, I began feeling a certain sense of fatigue that comes with any job over time. As a travel consultant, that feeling of burnout was especially disheartening. I’m brought to life by the passion I have for planning our client’s vacations, so how in the world could I find myself tottering on the edge of a breaking point?
I was a year into launching a new company, mentoring several brand new agents, and maintaining a book of business that had grown more than my wildest dreams. I’d imagine that we’ve all been there – at a stage where we can’t even think of taking on any more. Thanks to the encouragement from those closest to me, I dedicated 2016 to learning how to work smarter not harder.
For this season I brought on my incredible assistant full time (Kelsey is superwoman. End of story.) and I learned how to appropriately value our services, all of which led me to a place of a renewed sense of confidence and excitement over coming to work every day. Working in tandem with Kelsey, we developed ways to build stronger relationships with our clients and incorporate elements of WOW throughout their trips. This has become the beating heart of our business – and even made it onto the set of 4 core values that we’ve defined as Epperly Travel’s standards of operating:
- We are grateful
- We create fun and celebrate constantly
- We genuinely invest in our people
- We believe in the value we add
Finally, finally I feel like I’ve gotten us to a place where I can again leverage passion and creativity as a travel constant, as well as a spot where I can build healthier relationships with those around me, striving in turn to serve as a better and more open leader to the Epperly Travel team. This growth has, hopefully, been an evident shift in our business to our clients and industry partners alike.
Still, one thing has been missing: when I first started into the industry, I had a thirst for sharing my stories through writing. When I allowed myself to be consumed with busyness, writing this blog became a chore. I was so caught up in the stress and tension that I allowed control my day to day that I couldn’t live in an openhearted way to even begin to capture the beauty and joy that travel can bring to us. Now, though, I’m ready to share those stories.
Just last month I was in Cape Cod for the first time with my family – and I think that’s where I reached this moment of realization. I was worn down physically, mentally and emotionally – as I have been so many times when my sweet parents have had to “patch me back up” – when an incoming emergency had me all bent out of shape.
As we came close to the end of the day, I was so distracted on my phone that I caused us to miss our turn on the way to dinner. Instead of veering right, we kept on driving until the road ended at a lighthouse. My parents parked to go take a photo while I stayed in the car and attempted to put out the fire – it was not my finest hour, as the other person on the end of the phone could probably tell you (that would be Kelsey). As soon as I got off the phone, I thundered out of the car like a little storm cloud and saw my parents looking in awe across the bay at a beach full of hundreds of seals.
If you know my mother at all, you’ll know that she is the world’s biggest animal lover – and any opportunity she has to see new animals in their natural habitats puts her over the moon. She’d been looking for seals this entire trip and all it took was a wrong turn to get us there. Watching her light up – and subsequently scrounge through her purse for 25 cents to look through the viewfinder – is a moment I’ll never forget from the trip.
“I can’t believe you almost missed this!” she yelled over the noise of the seals’ honking. I stood with my family and watched the seals flap around and occasionally clunk across the beach. I let my little storm cloud fizzle out and I thought to myself, I can’t believe I almost missed it, either.
My best travel tips? Stop worshipping at the altar of busyness as an excuse against taking that getaway with your family – that’s time you can never get back. Don’t overschedule yourself to a point where you can’t relish the unexpected – these are the moments that turn into memories. And finally, don’t become so consumed in your day to day that you can’t create fun and celebrate constantly. That’s why we’re focusing on this now as a business and why you’ll be hearing more from me about trips from the past year, as well as upcoming getaways.
I can’t wait to see where this new season takes us – it’s our goal, as it always has been, to build lasting trust and relationships with those we do business with and I do hope that the values we’re implementing even more mindfully allow us to do that for you.
Our team at Epperly Travel is so looking forward to helping you #getawayfromhere, even if it’s just living vicariously through the stories we share.