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Podcast Episode 33

with Sahara Rose De Vore (The Travel Coach Network)

Interview with Sahara Rose De Vore 

Sahara Rose De Vore is a Travel and Business Coach @sahararosethetravelcoach. She is the founder of The Travel Coach Network and the creator of the world’s first certification program for travel coaches. Sahara Rose spent a decade travelling the globe to over 84 countries by the time that she was 31. After believing that there had to be more to a travel career than blogging and bookings, Sahara Rose became a pioneer in the travel coaching industry. She educates, empowers, inspires, and helps ambitious women travellers from all around the world bring to life their own meaningful travel-focused businesses.  As a travel coach, she is helping to shift how travel is seen and used in business travel and the workplace.  Sahara Rose is a published author, a speaker, and has been seen in various media outlets including Thrive Global, Forbes Yahoo! Finance, USA Today, Business Insider, and U.S News & World Report for her expertise. Sahara Rose was a 2019 nominee by career-changing women in the travel industry for a rising female leader, best female coach, and best innovative trailblazer.

Sahara Rose De Vore
INTERVIEW NOTES

Katerina: Hi, Sahara Rose.

Sahara: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

Katerina: Well, thank you for coming on this podcast. So, yeah, I guess the first question I want to ask is how did you become a travel coach? What inspired you?

Sahara: Yeah. That is such a common question that I get because travel coach is such a new word in the travel industry. But my story begins, I believe, more so in my third year of university. I decided to enrol in a hospitality and tourism program. And at that time, I hadn’t really travelled anywhere. I’m an only child to a single mum so we travelled, you know, within the US but not too much abroad. And at that time, I was also a broke college student. So being able to travel to far lands seems so far out of reach for someone like myself.

But my third year university, I enrolled in the programme and it was the very first day of our class, international tourism class. We kind of went around the room and everyone introduced themselves and how many countries they’ve been to. And I was hearing everyone talk about these big numbers from five countries, 10 countries, 15, or more. And I was in such awe. I realised that there were a lot of students that were foreign exchange students in that course who were from Europe. So I hadn’t realised how easy it was to go from country to country in a continent like Europe where the countries are connected to each other. And so I was like, wow, I want to do something like that. But at the same time, I’m in my head, I’m like, how am I going to do that? I have no money. Like, I’m struggling to pay my rent and, you know?

And plus, I was like, well, all those thoughts went through my head too. Do I need to travel with someone? Like, is it going to be safe for me and all those kinds of questions? So, when I graduated in 2010 with my degree in hospitality and tourism management, I was like a typical 22-year-old where I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had this piece of paper with this you know, degree. And when I looked into the travel and hospitality industry, nothing resonated with what I actually wanted to do. Nothing moved me, made me feel passionate about it. People were saying just work for our company that pays you to travel and that way, you can travel for free for business and I was, yeah, but I want to be able to actually see countries.

So I took a very unconventional route. And I decided to pack a backpack, a suitcase, and I bought a one-way ticket to Europe, to Ireland. And I had no idea when I was going to come back. My idea was about a month and a half to stay there. And just to kind of figure my life and figure out what I wanted and who I wanted to be. And I ended up falling in love with travel. And I spent the next 10 years, decade, travelling on and off to over 84 countries by myself. And people always ask me how did I do that, you know, money-wise. When I was in college, in that first day of class, I made it a point to myself that I needed to, if I wanted to have that goal or dream to travel, I was going to have to figure that out somehow and make it happen for myself. So, I decided to change my mindset when it came to money, to finances. And I worked more jobs, I spent less money, and I just managed my money better. So that’s essentially how I was able to afford my travels. But through the 10 years of travelling, I was still struggling with figuring out what is my passion for the career.

I was, I always say I travelled, I was really lucky to travel during that specific decade, because I was in the midst of, you know, before travel technology and the advancements that there are now, I travelled with a flip phone that didn’t turn on and I travelled with a paper map that I had to walk around with, navigate. But then I was also in the midst of, you know, the growing of social media and technology and the internet and got to see like, what it meant to be a digital nomad and like, the rise of like working in online business and all of that. So I just had a really unique perspective on the travel industry, hospitality industry and the online world of business. So, I when I, about two years ago, realised that, you know, if I can’t find a career that I’m really passionate about, I didn’t want to be a blogger, didn’t want to be a travel agent, all the careers that people like, well, these already exist so just do one of those in the travel industry.

I went to work on the internet and I said, okay, I’m gonna try to figure out what kind of career I want to have, what kind of business do I want to create cuz I can’t find it myself. And I saw that online coaching world was really on the rise. And something clicked in me and it made sense. I’m gonna put two and two together and be a travel coach. I never saw anyone who was a travel coach. I never saw the word ‘travel coach’. Something just hit me and I said I’d get to travel coaching and when I decided to start my travel coaching business, I very early on realised that because there was no one in the industry doing it, and I had people coming to me asking me questions of like how are you doing that, you know, that might be something I’m interested in, I decided to kind of take it on my own wing and pioneer path in the travel coaching industry and that’s kind of what led me to what I do now. 

Katerina: Yeah, no, it was great but so can you just explain to me, what do travel coaches do? I mean in the last four years, I haven’t travelled much, I’ll tell you because I’ve got a little one. And the first trip to France was a bit of a disaster when we went to the restaurant and we had to hold the mussels. French folks were just looking at us like, what are these people doing in a fancy restaurant with a five-month-old baby? But again, I guess that was it. And literally, we wanted to go to Spain in May and because of COVID, everything was cancelled. But what do travel coaches do? I mean what type of, you know, service do they offer? 

Sahara: Yeah, so that’s a really great question. I realised that there are a couple different definitions in the industry. So the definition under my business, which is the travel coach network, our definition is, well, a travel coach is very broad. It’s just like a life coach or a health coach where they can focus on so many different areas of expertise. And it really stems from the coaches personal interest, experiences, and our area of expertise. So, for instance, some of the travel coaches, there’s so many but they can help with like, for your situation, you can go to a travel coach who has experience of travelling as a parent with a little one and say, oh, you know what, um, you know, what are the benefits of travelling with a child.

Or, you know, what does it do. And it’s, a travel coach focuses more on putting the power into the hands of the traveller versus a travel agent who takes control over the experiences and does the planning and booking and everything for you. They have the skills and knowledge and expertise. The travel coach is a coach. They pull out of the client what kind of experiences do you need to have in order to have the mental, physical overall wellness experiences and transformations that you’re looking to have. Because when we think on a deeper level, everyone travels for so many different reasons whether we acknowledge it or not. So oftentimes, we can return in the same mindset or state of our life, because we weren’t travelling intentionally.

So a travel coach is there to help you say, look, what are you, why do you really want to travel? What are you looking to get out of it? And if you want to have more control of your travel experiences, a travel coach could, if they choose to, focus on these areas — on budgeting and finance, on planning, on the mindset and empowerment, the confidence to helping someone overcome fears and worries and anxieties, whether it’s about being alone or safety or anything like that. And what inspired me to become a travel coach was, since I travelled for so long by myself, for years I had so many people asking me whether online or friends and family or in the workplace, hey, like, how are you doing that? How are you affording it? How are you safe? Are you ever scared? What was the country like? I’m envious of your lifestyle, you know, all these different questions. And I love sharing that information. I love empowering people and say, you don’t have to spend a fortune to go on a travel experience or you can do that yourself and find great deals, and you can, you know, travel to a place that’s remote like Ohrid in Macedonia which, you know, I took a journal and sat and self-reflected and it really taught me a lot about, you know, nature and myself and what I wanted out of life.

So there’s so much power behind travel, but sometimes not everyone is a travel expert. We don’t know how to get those outcomes, results or benefits that so many years of studies prove that travel can provide. There are decades of studies showing the mental, physical, physiological health benefits of travel as well as the work performance benefits of travel, whether that’s including the benefits of experiences, transformation, human interaction culture, hearing new languages dialects, gaining new skills, there are so many benefits. But not everyone knows that information so it’s up to the coach to help the client understand what they are looking for and therefore, how can I best provide you the tools, resources, encouragement, support to be able to obtain that. 

Katerina: Yeah. No, I mean, interesting and thanks for explaining. I guess a lot of listeners, they will, just cuz just as I was that, okay I’m so glad to talk to someone because it’s something, I learn new things all the time and thanks for explaining there are travel coaches. But definitely, it appears that you found your passion. My next question is that, you know, when you start the business, it’s important that you find that passion. But how can people find that passion? 

Sahara: Yeah, that’s, I love that question because it’s really easy to take the simple route in life or to do what society or family expects of you or wants, what you’re supposed to do. And that often brings people to a roadblock in life because their mind hit a spot where they’re not feeling fulfilled. They’re not really passionate about what they’re doing. And so to be able to find that is you have to ask yourself and listen to your gut, listen to your heart and say, what do I want out of life? What is going to make me so happy to wake up every morning to be able to do?

When I was working so many random jobs, which I enjoy each of them to be able to afford my travels, I always made sure I did jobs like babysitting, restaurant work, and I’m working in events and sporting events because I like to fill my, I never wanted to do anything I was not happy doing. But at the same time, I was not, I knew that wasn’t gonna be long term for me. I didn’t want to wake up every day to another schedule someone else set for me or abide by someone else’s rules and regulations. Or, if I just didn’t feel well for a day hoping someone covers my ship. I wanted to have ownership over my own schedule. So that looks different for everybody so asking yourself what is it that you want your life to look like, and then going back and saying, what do I enjoy doing? What are, what am I good at? What do people come to me for? What am I interested in? And blocking out the noise of what others tell you you’re good at or others telling you that you should do. Because as humans, we love to please people especially if they’re our loved ones. 

Katerina: Especially women. Women love pleasing people.

Sahara: Yeah. And so many, especially young people, like to please their parents or live up to there, even cultural expectations or society’s expectations. And so when I knew that most likely my next step after graduating university wasn’t climbing the corporate ladder and to get a good title and a good salary and, you know, have someone, you know, whatever that looked like. I knew in my heart, I didn’t want that. And even though I didn’t know what I wanted, I knew that there was a whole world out there of people and experiences that would help direct me towards that. And so just being able to take time and self reflect.

Maybe that looks like making a list of all your past experiences and what you actually enjoy doing out of all those. Did you like event planning? Did you like organising something? Did you like being around people, do not like being around people? How does it feel to help people? How do you like to help people? And, you know, becoming an entrepreneur, it’s not for everybody. And so asking yourself like, do you want those responsibilities? Can you handle that rollercoaster of owning your own business and starting a business is going to look like? Do you have it in you to keep on going on those days where you are not feeling very successful or not feeling like you hit your, your goal for the month or whatever that might be. Are you able to push through that? Are you willing to invest in your growth financially, timewise and energy-wise? Can you do that for your family? Can you do that for yourself? These are all questions for people to ask themselves. And some might check off these boxes and some might be like, nope, nope, nope. Okay, I’m good like, I’m good at the job I have or I need someone to give me structure and tell me what to do for my work or whatever that looks like. 

Katerina: But what do you do when you have moments like this one? You just, oh, you know, I haven’t hit the growth target or whatever. Or, you know, you just feel like you’re not progressing in certain tasks? What do you do? What’s your strategy? 

Sahara: Yeah, well, I don’t even really know how to explain it other than I believe so much in my vision and my mission and what I’m capable of. I’ve always been someone who said I don’t know how to do something, I’ll figure it out. I figured out how to explore travelling around the world at such a young age, like I can always figure it out and along the way you learn lessons. And anytime you hit a roadblock or make a mistake or something happens, instead of getting down on myself, I always use that as a learning lesson. So, and then I applied that to my business. So, if I feel like my business isn’t getting to where I’m supposed to be at this stage, I’d eliminate any expectations, any comparisons to any other business or entrepreneur, because this is my journey, and this is my business. And also I’m building something that is fresh. A fresh idea to an industry that is so big and to the coaching industry as well. So, it takes time to build a business. So many people think that you build a business and boom, you’re successful. You got tons of money.  

Katerina: Yeah, overnight success just takes about seven years. 

Sahara: Yeah. So if you see those things on the internet that say like, if you’re gonna buy this programme, you’re gonna make 30K in the next month. And so I mean, everyone’s journey is different. Everyone starts in their business at a different level. Someone might have more connections in networking. Some might have more skills in advancement. Some might be starting completely from scratch like I did. I went to the school YouTube to learn how to start a business, you know? It’s just the fundamentals of starting a business and then on top of that, how to start a travel booking business. So, if you believe enough in yourself and your own vision for what you’re doing, and you accept that, give yourself that time and just learn something from every single thing you do.

So if there’s a day that I’m feeling like, oh, I just don’t feel aligned with things, which never happens to me because I’m so aligned with what I do, but of course I have my days where I’m just like, overwhelmed. Sometimes I allow myself that day off. Or I allow myself to do just like, one thing that day. One task that day. Because your mental and your overall well being is very important as well as an entrepreneur. So being able to accept and like, listen to yourself and say like, what do I need today? If I’m not 100% into this, like why am I feeling that way and what do I feel better so tomorrow’s a fresh new day and I can tackle my goals. That happens, you know? So finding a rhythm that works for yourself. But just believing in your own capabilities is so important.  

Katerina: Yeah. It’s great advice. Trust your gut. And women can do that. I mean we have some kind of intuition, right? But you know you mentioned you’ve been travelling for 10 years on your own. Did you not have any fear when you went to all these different countries because it’s quite risky to be, you know, to travel solo to some of those countries. So, what was going through your mind? 

Sahara: Yeah, so that actually, like very well is well connected to what we were just talking about, listening to your gut and listening, following your intuition. So, I went to, I’ve been, I tend to travel to countries that are either underdeveloped or developing countries. I feel like I get a lot more out of them by experiences and culture and learning new strengths and weaknesses of myself and just really teaches me a lot versus going to established big cities and stuff. Um, so, of course, well, I’ve honestly never felt personally afraid. I have been, I don’t say lucky that I’ve never had anything bad happen to me because luck is you have to put intent and effort into getting some sort of luck. It’s like winning the lottery. You can’t win the lottery if you’ve never bought a ticket. So for me, I’ve always been hyper-aware of my surroundings.

I’ve always made sure to listen to my gut like if I’m in a place, I try to not arrive in a place that I felt, I thought was probably not going to be the safest to arrive at night. Or to be at an airport at night leaving in a taxi or maybe the taxis there are not that safe. So I would always try to find, reach an accommodation and see what’s the safest way to get to you at this time of day or night and what do you recommend. So if that meant I had to spend a little bit more for them to come to pick me up and make sure I got back safe at midnight, then I will pay a little bit more. And so I always try to just listen to my gut. If I got to places where I, as much as I love people, I have anxiety. Which is one of the reasons, which is strange, that caused me to want to travel. I wanted to help find new ways to cope and learn about myself with my anxiety, but there’s countries where there’s just a lot of people and that makes me very anxious. My personal space is kind of like, you know, it’s a cultural thing. So my personal space gets invaded, but I have to learn to adjust to that culture. But also keep myself within a place where I’m mentally and physically okay. So that might mean I’m going to book a private room versus a shared hospital room. Maybe that looks like I’m going to get, you know, private shuttles to pick me up to and from a place. Maybe that means I’m going to stick with a group of new friends I met versus walk around by myself. So I make these conscious decisions based on how I’m feeling.

As a female, I wasn’t one to really drink or party or go out, even if it is a cultural thing in the destination I’m in. I don’t want to put myself into those situations. Um, and, you know, that can be really tough for a lot of, especially younger people who travel, because it’s part of travelling. It’s meeting people and having drinks. And that’s totally okay if you put yourself into an environment and a group of people that you can trust and you can also monitor, like trust yourself and monitor that you’re going to not get to a place where you aren’t going to be able to have control over what’s happening to you. And so just listening to my gut, making conscious decisions, being very aware of where my belongings are.

If I’m on a busy street, like a touristy area, then, or a marketplace, I love outdoor markets, local markets, I have a string backpack and I’ll just flip it to the front of me. And so just all my valuables are there. So I’m never like pickpocketed or no one behind me taking anything or stuff like that. I don’t leave anything anywhere. Like my passport or wallet or extra money where I can take you control over what’s going on with it. So in the 10 years and 84 countries, I’ve never had anything taken, stolen, lost, bad happen to me. I’ve definitely heard so many horror stories from other travellers.

But there’s always that something in there where I’m like, you see that mistake like, why did you go to the ATM at three in the morning by yourself outdoors in Amsterdam and you’re intoxicated. Like, why did you pull your whole wad of cash out in your taxi in Colombia like to pay the driver? You know, just stuff like that. People learn but because I’ve always lived by myself and, I live in Chicago which is a big city. I worked in the hospitality industry so I was leaving a big city at three in the morning to travel on a bus to go… so I’ve always kind of developed these things to be aware of my surroundings, to know where my valuables are, to not wear my earphones with music on that I can’t hear someone behind me. I apply all that to when I was travelling. 

Katerina: Yeah, but I’m so surprised to hear that, you know, you mentioned you had some anxiety as you went to those places. It is like almost putting yourself in situations and there is this thing, is exposure. You know when you expose yourself to… and you slowly kind of became more resilient towards, you know, that fear and actually made yourself stronger as a result. But no, it’s incredible. I mean I don’t know if I could do something like this.

Sahara: It’s not for everybody. It’s not.  

Katerina: It’s not for everybody, definitely. 

Sahara: And it’s more also of a personality thing so it’s always been in my personality to do things that get me out of my comfort zone. For instance, I competed in a national beauty pageant here, one year in 2012 and that was something completely out of my norm or comfort zone. But the opportunity came, and I, that is terrifying for somebody to be on stage too, you know, do whatever we have to do. And I took it on and I said, I want to see how I am in it, you know, and the same thing with starting a business. That’s extremely intimidating, especially a new niche in the travel industry as a travel coach, you know? Someone could easily be like, nope doesn’t exist, not gonna happen, instead of me, I’m like, well, I’m gonna build this to make it a thing, to give a platform for other people who want something similar.

So, I’ve always made a choice to see, I like to see how capable I am to accomplish, to do things. I don’t always succeed by any means, I didn’t win the pageant, but I always like to just, you know, I feel like it’s so much more of a learning lesson for yourself, to see what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are and just to try new things cause you’re always learning something new in so many different situations.  

Katerina: Yeah, yeah. So you started Travel Coach Network in 2018? 

Sahara: Yep.  

Katerina: Yep. So it’s been around, you know, you’ve been running this for a couple of years. So, what was the greatest sort of challenge running your own business in the last couple of years? 

Sahara: Well, for me, one of the biggest challenges is that it’s a new niche, a new kind of, a newer idea. So it wasn’t that I would, I couldn’t just create something and sell it. I’d educate first. So, that’s a lot harder when it comes to business or products of any sort. Because you need that educational phase of what is it, what does this mean, you know? So many people say I never knew that something like this existed. So I had to get that marketing, that awareness, that educational phase out there, which I’m always in. But then, when I felt ready, I created the very world’s very first certification programme for travel coaches. So it’s like steps that people can take or and that I can take.

My business, educational, what does that mean? How can it be applied? And then for me, the other thing that’s super difficult is that I run actually two businesses at the same time that I created. The Travel Coach Network for travel coaches and travel entrepreneurs and my certification programme. And the other half is me as a travel coach. I specialise in business travel and corporate wellness so I have that whole area of introducing and infiltrating myself as a capitalist with my fresh ideas into a huge industry all right in business travel in the corporate world. So, it’s very challenging on both ends. But I do them both at the same time. 

Katerina: Because you mentioned transformational coach. Is it also related to travel? 

Sahara: A transformational coach? 

Katerina: Yeah. 

Sahara: A transformational coach can be applied to so many different things, not necessarily travel experiences. You might hear the term transformative travel, which is different from a transformational coach. So transformational coaches can help people in any phase of their life with any sort of issues. A travel coach can integrate transformation through travel experiences. So there’s a difference there.  

Katerina: Okay. Okay, thanks for explaining. So in your view, what is the biggest mistake starting entrepreneurs make? 

Sahara: Yeah, there’s so many. One would be listening to everything out there that tells you to buy all the flashy stuff, buy this, buy that, use this, use that. Listen to this person, listen to that person and it gets completely overwhelming. Or they end up spending way too much money and they’re like, I can’t do this. 

Katerina: I think it’s called ‘shiny syndrome’. Shiny Object Syndrome. 

Sahara: Shiny Object Syndrome. Yeah, absolutely. And I think we’re all guilty of it at some point in our business. But there comes a point where you have to learn how to close off a lot of that noise. So, if that looks like unfollowing a specific person on social media or unfollowing a certain business that you found yourself comparing yourself to, or if that meant, you know, not accessing a certain platform because you’re bombarded with too much information and just staying hyper-focused on one project. It might look like that. It might look like creating our tighter stricter budget for yourself and saying okay I have no more room, so I’m not going to look at any other offers or anything else that comes my way.

So, you have to figure out what that looks like for yourself. And then the other thing that entrepreneurs in the beginning really struggle with is just having the competence or expecting results too soon. Because a lot of it comes from that shiny object syndrome where I said, you’ll see offers saying, you know, hit your first 10K month, hit your first 30K month, like, buy this programme, you’re going to make this much money or I made $500,000 in the past, you know, in 2019. Like, by this programme, I’m gonna show you the way. So, there’s no one answer to anything in business. And a lot of that stuff is just really repetitive but everything works differently for every entrepreneur.

So you can’t, you just can’t do all of it into your business, whether it’s funnels or, you know, what kind of offers you structure. If you try to combine everything that everyone says is the best answer out there, that solution, you’re going to end up with nothing because it’s so overwhelming. So it’s just trying a couple new things and just trial and error. See what works. Every audience is different, every ideal client is different.

So see how your audience responds on what kind of platforms does your audience hang out on? What kind of language does your audience need? Like, what kind of words you use to draw them? How do you attract them to you? What kind of vibe does your audience want? That’s completely different from another type of entrepreneur’s audience. But you won’t know that until you put yourself out there. So, so many entrepreneurs are waiting for that perfect moment when things look a hundred per cent ready, whether that’s your website or your offer or whatever that you’re waiting to make perfect.

It’s never gonna be perfect. If there was, if you had something that was perfect and then you started your business, you are shooting yourself in the foot because you are doing yourself such a disservice. Because a part of having a successful business is allowing for the evolution of your business. Your ideas are going to change or evolve. If you look at any of the big companies out there like Amazon and Facebook, what they are now is not what they were when they started, by any means. So if they, if those owners, the founders have that idea, and was linear with it, they would be right where they started. They wouldn’t be those giants that they are today. So it’s, but they wouldn’t know how to get where they are today until they started somewhere and listened to their audience, made changes, listened again, made changes.

And over time, your ideas evolve and that’s the same thing for any type of entrepreneur. That’s how I started. I thought I was only gonna be a travel coach. And I was only gonna help people travel how I travelled as a solo female traveller. I listened to people saying, what is a travel coach? I didn’t know it existed. There’s no platform for anyone out there. Then I made changes. I said I want to take my business travel expertise to another level, you know? I have an interest in business travel, I’m going to learn about that industry. So just evolving and learning different things. Not putting yourself into a box is really key for your business.  

Katerina: Yeah, I guess you’ve just answered my other question. How do you stay on top of things as a founder? So basically you just almost like doing micro pivoting, right, of the business depending on the business need and the feedback you get from the customers, right? 

Sahara: Yeah, you always want to, you won’t know, listening to what your audience or your client wants is so much more powerful and beneficial than just trying to come up with something from scratch. Listen to their needs. Listen to what they want. And that’s the same thing that happened during COVID. So many entrepreneurs listened to what their audience needed during this time and provided a solution. I did the same thing. I knew that there were many people who are not going to be interested in my travel board certification programme or becoming a travel coach because the travel industry was uncertain, especially a lot more a few months ago.

So I threw a free online event. And it was a ‘Women Thrive Through Travel’ mastermind because I said, everyone is kind of, their mindsets are in the dumps about travel. So whether they’re an entrepreneur or they’re in the travel space or wellness space and they just like to travel, I’m going to hold a free online event. I had over like 130 women around the world, all around the world join. And then over 300 reached out and replied. And afterwards, I had people reaching out saying I really like that. Do you have another way to work with you or do you have something more advanced or do you have something for someone who’s not necessarily a travel coach? So that’s what inspired me to create my female travel entrepreneur elite group which are women in different levels of any sort of hospitality business. For me, to become a better… 

Katerina: I started you a little bit. Can you just repeat your last sentence? 

Sahara: Yeah, so I created the Elite Female Travel Entrepreneur insider circle. So, doing that allowed me to become a better coach, a better business owner, a smarter business owner, and to get me through also the months of COVID, but also to learn the next stepping stones and offers that I create for my audience and to learn more about who exactly is in my audience.  

Katerina: Yeah, no thanks for explaining this. This actually was kind of, I wanted to ask you about the whole COVID situation because I’m just looking at some news article published actually end of August from Travel Weekly and they’re, basically what they’re saying that the global travel demand will fall 57% in 2020 and international tourism won’t reach 2019 levels again until 2024, according to the latest forecast from Oxford Economics. So how does this make you feel? Because obviously, you’ve built a business right around this whole, you know, travel, you know, sort of the industry, and yet we, and touch wood, we’re not going to be in the second wave, with the third wave, but who knows. It’s so, everything is so uncertain at the moment so how does it make you feel? What’s your strategy? Like you already kind of mentioned, you know, pivoting slightly. But how do you feel about this sort of forecast about travel? 

Sahara: It’s a very relevant topic right now, but those are just predictions. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like. And in reality, my perspective, I’ve always had such hope for the travel industry because as human beings, we are innate travellers. It is in our blood to travel and the travel industry is so resilient if you look at all the past things that impacted the travel industry. Also, so much of the world is dependent on tourism for their economies.

And so I’ve been very involved in a lot of conversations like this, especially in the business travel world. Yes, there are so many uncertainties right now. But every day is changing. The information changes every day and I think it really depends more on, not necessarily what’s been happening in the travel industry but what’s going to happen with the virus, coronavirus itself. That’s what people are waiting to hear about, not whether because that was applied to the travel. But at the same time when you think about it, bookings for like, Airbnb, I read are higher now than in a long time. Solo adventures, solo travellers are on the rise.

I read some articles, also from Travel Weekly, of a kayaking company who never focus on solo trips before or skyrocketing with their solo tourists. So there’s different industries or different parts of the industry that are going to be fluctuating and shifting. Just like any industry, the travel industry is going to be shifted. It’s going to change. But I believe in so many people that I know in the travel industry and experts and business owners also believe that it’s going to be for the better. And why we think that is because when this goes back to what I kind of mentioned before, we travel for so many different reasons. Travel’s healing. Travel is beneficial to our mental well being, physical well being. There’s just so much to tell us which is why you already hear people saying I can’t wait to go on vacation. I can’t wait to go getaway.

So how travel is going to be shifted, from my perspective, is going to be with a huge apposite on purpose and intention. And on well being. So what that means is that people are going to have to actually have a reason to get out of their comfort zone, to get on a plane to travel somewhere, to get into the car and take a road trip with our family, and more so it’s because what are they looking to get out of this. Maybe that you know, what better time to start thinking about travelling than when we’ve cooped up our homes for months around the same people or away from everyone struggling, you know, stressing out about finances, about jobs, about what they want to do with your life. So many people had revelations during the lockdown. And you know, I didn’t, I hadn’t, you know, whether they were laid off from a job, they quit, or they’re not going back or they’re just not happy going back and saying, this is time for me.

So many people invested in themselves. They bought programmes, they took online, you know, virtual classes, they whatever was, whatever it was about whether professionally, wellness wise to make changes. So that’s going to stick post-COVID. So that’s going to apply to people’s overall lifestyles. So people are going to want to either, figure out how they can incorporate more travel, can they work remotely some somewhere else, how can they use the stress and the mental strain that’s been on them during these past few months, how can they reconnect with family members during this like, they’ve been away from them.

So there are so many different reasons. So it’s kind of like a twofold. One, we’re itching to get away and travel at the same time. We’re kind of just waiting to see like, what’s going on with the virus, but at the same time, saying, what can I do now. So like I said, local domestic travel is already picking up, solo adventures, or family travel,  road trips for the weekend. So those are parts of the industry that you will see a lot higher. There’s already talks about the cruise line coming back. So, there’s so much possibility and hope in the industry. And people, since I’m in the business travel industry as a travel coach and sitting on webinars and events and stuff, companies don’t wait to get to work. Like we, in any business don’t sit and wait until the travel industry bounces back. Like I’ve heard so many people interested in getting into the travel industry. Get to work now and make those pivots. That now you are going to be a leader when the travel is back to its new norm. And they are ahead of the game. You’re heavy competition, you’ve made changes to, you know, what you believe in, for the wellness of travel, the purpose of travel, you intend to travel for business, you know? What does that all look like? So it all kind of connects with what I was talking about with the benefits that travel, the power that travel has on us as humans and in our professional life.  

Katerina: Yeah. It’s good to hear your optimism because either you read some papers by saying, National Geographic publish something saying that you know the impact of COVID is like six or seven times greater than 911 attacks or something like that but then again, every you know, and it is a threat, right, for the industry but, you know, every time one that is a threat, there is also an opportunity to pivot and find new ways to serve the market like you said through the look of maybe travel, solo traveller. So it’s great to hear your optimism and I guess it’s, you know, entrepreneurs have to be optimistic, right? 

Sahara: If you believe in what you do, then you have to be optimistic. If you allow that negativity to seep in and allows you to take over, you know not getting work done or changing to do something else and you weren’t meant to do what you’re doing in the first place than if you don’t believe in it. And of course, facts are facts. We’re waiting for, you know, more data on the virus, but this is a prime opportunity for the travel industry and hospitality industry to redefine what it means to have an experience. Redefine what it means for personalization and redefine what it means for people to or why people travel and how people travel. So, that’s a lot of the bud that I’ve seen in the travel industry which just reassures my optimism about it. But of course, there are so many different sides to it. We’re still kind of waiting to see what’s going on with the virus itself, but the travel industry is not going to go anywhere. And if anything was to be said, it’s going to be better in the future, whether that’s one year from now, two or whenever.  

Katerina: Yeah, definitely. So if you were to teach one lesson to start entrepreneurs, people who perhaps lost their jobs and decided to have a go at entrepreneurship, what would be your lesson to those people? 

Sahara: Yeah, I would just say to like what I mentioned before, do that in a reflection and ask yourself, what is it that you want to do? What would make you happy doing every single day? What are you interested in doing and what you’re good at? What do you want to learn to? And get to work, open up your computer, go to Google and start researching things in that niche, whatever it might be. Whether it’s parenting, whether it’s the wellness industry, whether it’s, you know, there’s just so many different options of how you can, what kind of business you can create these days but it’s up to you to be creative and to get out of your comfort zone and just learn.

There’s so much information on the internet on whether it’s business and research and online forums and social media. Listen to conversations. Listen to what people are talking about, listen to people’s needs, reach out and build relationships, and just have conversations with people and say well, why do you feel that way? Or, you know, if it’s a niche or industry that you might be interested in, see what’s going on in that industry. Read articles and what’s going on. I always, in my certification programme, I always, always tell my members, do your research. And what I mean by that is, listen to articles, listen to Facebook groups in travel or wellness or women travellers or whatever it might be that their niche is in and create a solution. Find commonalities of topics being talked about or problems that there are and create a solution for them. And try something you don’t know. Offer something for free. Offer free sessions or create a free resource or, you know, just tell people what you’re thinking about and ask them what they think about it. So there’s always little baby steps at the start, but no one is going to tell you what you should create and what you should do within yourself. You have to sit down with yourself and just start brainstorming. Go to the internet and start researching.  

Katerina: Yeah. No, thank you. Thank you for that. And perhaps maybe the last word just to wrap up to female entrepreneurs because this is our audience.  

Sahara: What is the question? 

Katerina: Just the final, sort of, word to female entrepreneurs. 

Sahara: Yeah. I love that. Just, just go for it. Whatever you feel like you want to do, just go for it. Don’t listen to anybody else. Don’t listen to anyone saying, no, you’re going to get a million dollars before you get a yes. Don’t wait for anyone to give you approval for anything or to agree with your ideas. Your family doesn’t need to understand what your vision is. Your friends don’t need to understand what your vision is. No one does except for yourself. So, find the support, whether that’s a group of women, a community programme, a coach and mentor the support that you need, ask for help and invest in yourself and just take it day by day. But as long as you believe in yourself, you can honestly make anything happen for your business, for your own life. No one’s going to do it for you but yourself.  

Katerina: Sahara Rose, thank you so much for coming and sharing this with our audience. I’m sure they’ll find a lot of helpful tips and advice for their business. Thank you so much for coming and good luck with everything and I’m sure you’ll be, your business will prosper.  

Sahara: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. And thank you so much for having me on the podcast and if anyone needs me, visit thetravelcoachnetwork.com or Sahara Rose, The Travel Coach on social media, on Instagram or Facebook. But thank you so much. I had a really great time and I can’t wait for your listeners to hear what they think about our chat.  

Katerina: Yeah, definitely. I’ll put the link to you all your social media in the podcast notes so yeah, our listeners will be able to check you out.  

Sahara: Thank you so much.  

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