10 December 2012

Angela, Travel Agent

Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.

Today's interview is with my friend, Angela.

Angela and her kids
"My husband is a medical device guy and is a regional manager for 21 states.
He is a busy guy and we don't have one family photo together, I swear!"

Where do you live?
I live in New England with my 4 children and my husband.

New England!

I am originally a Utah native and have lived in several different spots in the country.  We have spent three years in Iowa, yep right in the middle of a corn field.  We interned as young college students in Kansas City at Hallmark Cards (My Husband) and in Washington DC on capitol Hill and we have spent the last 11 years on the East coast.

I served a 1.5 year mission to Osaka, Japan when I was 21 and it was one of the choicest highlights of my life.

Angela in Japan.
When I was younger, I always wanted to live on the East coast, so when we got the chance...I talked my husband into a promotion and we moved from the midwest blindly and have never looked back!  We love everything it has to offer, the rich culture, the beach, the big cities, and the country life.  I doubt I will ever move from here.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
Oh boy, this is a tough question because I am a jack of all trades....master of none!  

I love to shoot photography and even went for professional for two years as a photo journalist before realizing that I didn’t love my hobby as much making money out of it, so I returned back to amateur status and can feel the love again.  Here are a couple of fun shots I took from a distance!

I am a techie....I often can be found on my Apple computer creating something.

I am a creative organizer...that doesn’t mean my house is OCD organized, but I have the ability to create and organize projects with ease. 

I love musical theater...I can’t sing a note, but I can buy a ticket and watch a performance like no other.  I have a slew of playbills from Broadway and the West End in London hanging in my entry way. 

I love sculpture and it is always my favorite part of any museum or trip!  I dream of having a sculpture garden!

Photo: Italy near the Old Roman Forum
What is your current profession? 
I am a full time stay at home mom, I homeschool my kids when they reach middle school (5th grade on and some kids have stayed home all the way through high school and others have gone back.)  Basically, I have never had a day off in my life.  Some days I dream of being the mom who goes to the gym every morning....other days I realize life goes by so quickly...relish every single second.

What did you did before staying home?
My whole life has been the travel business.  I grew up in a family that owned a travel agency.  I have worked there since I was 14.  I did a BS in Geography/Travel and Tourism from BYU and MS in Geography.  I taught at BYU for 6 years and in the NH community college system for another 2 years.  Geography and Travel and Tourism teaching was a spin off from the travel agency.  The travel agency industry fell apart in the early 90’s and I thought I was doomed, but I am still riding the wave.

Photo: Venice, Italy 2012
My father and I still own an agency that we have had for twenty years called TRIPS Inc.  www.tripsandships.com (I still book travel on the side of raising my kids full time and a couple of times a year.... I travel to amazing places with our clients.  I just returned from 23 days in Europe with 50 people.)

Photo: Paris at the Louvre

For outreach, our family has a small non-profit foundation, Color My World,  that has provided disaster relief to people all over the world.  www.colormyworldkids.org  I direct the foundation and let my kids run it.  It has been an excellent opportunity for humanitarian outreach.  I wish I had the skills to raise millions of dollars to change the lives of millions of people in the world....still trying to figure that one out.  My long term goal is humanitarian work....just trying to figure out how to make my house payment and live in Africa at the same time.

Photo: Costa Rica Mission Trip, My son, Chase with the natives.
If it were up to me...I would have shipped the whole family to Guatemala or some remote location to raise them....but I have yet to convince my husband! :)

What made you choose that line of work?
I love to travel and I have been so many places in the world.  I wanted to raise my kids with that same experience, so I started homeschooling them to provide them with opportunities to go for extended periods of time.  

I didn’t like my job so much in college because it was stressful, but now after circulating through a couple of different career paths trying to find what I love, I have circled back to the thing I started with and that is the travel business.  It is my passion and I basically will never repair or replace anything in my house if it means giving up my travel budget :)  This isn’t a full time salary for me either, my parents let me work when I want and how I want.  My job really is raising children.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
“How do you stay in business? Doesn’t everyone book on the internet?”  I say “Sure the agency business has changed...we are tour and cruise business.  Their is still a market for what we do!  I know all of the tricks of the trade.”

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
I am going to answer this a little different and just write what I really want to say...I would tell people to be their best self.  Reach deep inside themselves to find out what motivates them and then go out and achieve it.  Find what you are good at, put others first and see the power within go to work.  Raise strong families and be a good person!  Demonstrate integrity and develop moral values.
Finally, there is something to learn from everyone.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?

I would choose the same thing again and that is really motherhood and family.  My life has been so enriched raising children and I believe I have gained my best skills from being home. The innovation that comes from motherhood is empowering.  Everything good in my life comes from the result of trying to raise a strong family!

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