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  • Felicia

Little Miss Travel Advisor

Little Miss Travel Advisor

About one year ago, my mom sat at my kitchen table in Hawaii surrounded by two laptops, a monitor, a stack of loose papers, and a cup of coffee (okay, the whole pot) crafting what eventually became Memories On the Move Travel. While I am tempted to make fun of the fact that she started out writing all of her notes on an old Hannah Montana notebook from my 4th grade school year, to do so would only detract from the fact that this business is the culmination of decades of commitment and passion. My mom’s journey from being the everything woman to being a travel advisor is remarkable, and I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat. In honor of National Travel Advisors Day, one year of business for MOTM, and Mother’s Day, I figured it was appropriate to give you a behind the scenes look at how Judi became little Miss Travel Advisor.


Her website does an excellent job laying out the inspiration and experiences that led her to create Memories On the Move, but in my opinion, it fails to capture just how dedicated she was and is to making that vision a reality. That kind of devotion can only be understood by anecdotes, the same way that the significance of our travels can only be understood by the memories we take from them. So, in a way, me telling this story is an ode to the vision of Memories On the Move. Still, this post remains true to the promise of this blog because it is real and unfiltered and human. 


My mom knew what she wanted this business to be for years before it came to fruition. She wanted to show people that they could live their dreams no matter the obstacles that stood in the way. However, she is also a perfectionist (which unfortunately appears to be hereditary) and took forever to get started because she couldn’t figure out the right name. For months, everyone in my family was jotting down name suggestions and googling for copyrights anytime my mom was in the room. Everything we came up with was either too long, not personal enough, or taken. There were a few times that we tried to talk my mom into just starting the business plan and worrying about the name later, but to her this was unacceptable. The business part always had to come second to the message of inspiration that she wanted to convey, and that was what the name represented.


This idea was one that followed us into several phases of business development. Seasoned professionals in the industry recommended that my mom launch her website as soon as it had all of the essential information, regardless of the overall aesthetic. The rationale was simple, the longer your website is up, the more opportunities people have to find you, the better it is for the business. Naturally, my mom didn’t want to do this. She didn’t care about the business, she cared about how her website made people feel. The colors had to be perfect, the photos had to be hand selected, the copy had to be intentional and inspiring, and the message had to be clear: if you want your dreams to be put first, then Judi is the woman for the job. Her website was a true labor of love, and it was one that challenged her in more ways than one. 


For context, my mom does not have a background in anything computer related. As a matter of fact, she tried her hardest to make our family as unplugged as possible growing up, so I feel perfectly comfortable criticizing her tech skills because I know mine aren’t much better. Nonetheless, she somehow managed to teach herself not only how to build a website and a digital business, but she put in the hours to learn how to do it to her level of acceptable. In the months it took her to build her website, it became routine to hear yelling from her office as she begged her computer to just do what she wanted it to do. We would often go to bed and wake up only to find her asleep on the couch with her laptop still half open because she worked so late that she was too tired to climb the stairs to bed. At the beginning, she must’ve put in at least two extra hours daily to deal with technical difficulties. On more than one occasion we tried to talk her into taking it a little easier, but she would always respond, “I really want to throw my computer across the room, but I still really love this job.”

It isn’t often that you get to watch your parents act like a giddy little kid, so seeing my mom through this experience has been a treat. Within less than a week of posting her website, she had her first client. I remember it vividly because she was helping me move at the time and so we were in a hotel room in Virginia when she got the email. The look was first shock, then fear, then joy, then determination. She was so excited, I’m pretty sure she drew up the whole itinerary in less than 48 hours. More than that, she emailed what seemed to be everyone she knew in the industry to ask questions and ensure that she was able to provide the absolute best service to her client. Like a broken record, this same flurry of emotions occurred for every new client for months. Except, with each new client came more shock, because she couldn’t believe that her new business was worthy of that much attention. That kind of reaction is emblematic of someone who cares more about helping people than being personally successful.


As I watched my mom take on client after client, destination after destination, I realized that in her mind this wasn’t a business at all, it was a purpose. She sees the job of Travel Advisor not as a means to an end but as the end itself. It is a privilege for her to be a part of realizing people’s dreams. That is why it is so hard for me to get her to charge a reasonable fee for the extensive services she provides. I feel like every time she gets a new client and starts rambling about how excited she is to build the itinerary, I ask if she charged them the planning fee only for her to get quiet and say, “not yet”. She is willing to burn the candle at every end to be everything for her clients with little mind to the value of her efforts. In the year that she has been open, she hasn’t taken a day off, said “no” to a client, or turned down an opportunity to learn how to be better. No joke, my mom declines my calls at least twice a week because she is sitting in on another webinar or attending another event to learn everything she can about the industry. My favorite part about it is the sound of pure joy in her voice when she makes a new friend or finds a new mentor.

That joy not only helps people take the leap needed to live their dream vacation, but it is contagious and inspiring. If my mom can leave a career of 30 years, start a business, learn new skills, and do it successfully and happily at (I’m not typing her age but you get the point) years old, then what reason do any of us have to hesitate in taking a leap in our own lives?


And in case there were any doubts, no, she isn’t paying me. I’m not getting extra Christmas presents for writing this, and brownie points aren’t worth much in a family that prides itself on “the world doesn’t owe you anything” ideology. As all children do, I simply think my mom is a marvel and after years of her carting me around to all of my extracurriculars, I love watching her live her dreams. An invitation to join her on a familiarization trip would be nice though! Just kidding (maybe)!




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