I created the The Travel Coach Network to bridge the gap between travel coaches and travel experts with those who wish to travel better, more effectively, and from experts who best relate to their specific needs. It is also a platform for travelers and companies to find and hire a travel coach who specializes in the niche that they are looking for.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sahara Rose De Vore.
Sahara Rose De Vore is a Travel Coach and founder of The Travel Coach Network™. After receiving a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, she spent over a decade traveling to more than 84 countries by the age of 31. She is the founder and owner of the world’s very first certification program for travel coaches called the Travel Coach Certification Program™. Sahara Rose helps business travelers and corporate employees have more meaningful experiences that improve their wellbeing through her own travel coaching services. She is also a business coach for other travel coaches and entrepreneurs through her various programs, events, and courses. A published author and global speaker, Sahara Rose is passionate about empowering people to take control over their travel experiences and have trips that boost their overall wellbeing and give them the transformative outcomes that they crave. She is a pioneer in the travel coaching industry and has been featured in over 45 media outlets including Forbes, Business Insider, Thrive Global, Yahoo! Finance, Best Company, Corporate Wellness Magazine, USA Today, U.S World News & Report, and Skift. She is also the founder of the #ThriveThroughTravel initiative which inspires people to travel in a way that helps them thrive in all aspects of their life. She was a 2019 nominee by career-changing women in the travel industry for rising female leader, best female coach, and best innovative trailblazer. You can learn more about Sahara Rose and The Travel Coach Network at https://thetravelcoachnetwork.com/
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I grew up as an only child to a single mom. We could hardly afford to keep food in the cabinets, let alone see the world. Therefore, travel seemed so far out of reach for someone like myself. Plus, no one in our family or community was a traveler. Our idea of traveling was family road trips from the north of the U.S to the south Texas to visit my grandmother’s family near Mexico but, I was so young that I only remember bits and pieces of those adventures. I had a wanderlust soul and no idea where it came from.
I have always had an artistic eye so every time that I would see beautiful photos of lush green rainforests and colorful tropical birds in Costa Rica and other incredible places around the world, I was simply in awe. I saw movies with sky-high waterfalls and the most stunning white sand beaches. I knew that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore but, how could I ever make that happen?
Well, I was determined to and I did.
When I graduated over a decade ago from university with a degree in hospitality and tourism management, I was very underwhelmed by the lack of diversity in career options. At the age of 22 I was unsure of the life that I wanted to have and what my passions were. I was struggling with anxiety and bouts of depression and knew that whatever it was that I was going to do with my life, I wanted it to bring me happiness, purpose, and I wanted to make an impact on the lives of others and the world.
I decided to take a very unconventional route and ignore what pressures society and family were placing on me. I booked a one-way ticket to Europe, packed a suitcase, and set off to find the answers that I was looking for.
I wound up falling in love with how much travel was helping and healing me that I spent over a ten years traveling on and off to over 84 countries by the age of 31.
The first half of my worldly adventure was the most difficult. The amount of travel resources, tools, and technology was limited. I remember traveling with a flip phone, paying to use internet wherever I could find a computer, and using a paper map to navigate around new cities.
Throughout the years, I got hands on experience with shifts in the travel industry. Talking with other travelers and having my own experiences, I learned what travelers used, liked, desired, and didn’t like. I also learned what problems, voids, and shortages existed in the travel industry and for travelers. Being a millennial in the mist of the rise of social media, it shown a light on how and why people were traveling as well as the growing desire for more freedom-based jobs.
Despite having a degree in tourism and years of traveling under my belt, I struggled for many years trying to figure out what travel-related career I wanted. I was aware of what existed; travel agents, booking managers, working for a company that paid me to travel for business, becoming a blogger, or growing my social media to become an influencer just to get free trips.
I wanted to do and be some more. I believed that my travel experiences, skills, knowledge, and perspectives were far more valuable and impactful than what I was told I could use them for.
I knew that since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I had to create it myself.
That is when I decided to become a travel coach and specialize in helping business travelers and corporate employees have better and more meaningful travel experiences while bringing a fresh take on wellness travel
I am also pioneering the path for other ambitious and passionate travelers who desire to become certified travel coaches. I founded The Travel Coach Network™ because I wanted a place for travel coaches around the world to connect with other like-minded travel coaches and experts, list their business and niche, and for people and companies to find and hire a travel coach. I designed and accredited the very first travel coach certification program to make their journey easier and clearer as a travel coach and entrepreneur.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
After graduating from a hospitality and tourism program in university and then spending over a decade traveling the globe as a millennial, I was well aware of the types of careers that existed in the travel industry. Nothing felt authentic enough or worth spending my knowledge of travel on. Diving into the online world, I then became aware of what types of digital nomad or ‘freedom-based” jobs existed as well. I was getting tired of seeing the same things being posted about working from anywhere in the world or having a job in travel as an influencer or other already-done-before options.
I wanted to be something greater. I wanted to do something more authentic. I wanted to make more money doing something that I loved with something that I knew a lot about. I wanted to make a bigger impact.
The online coaching industry was talking about business coaches, life coaches, health coaches, and fitness coaches. I wasn’t seeing what felt right to me which was a way to help others through my knowledge, passion, skills, and experience in travel.
That is when I decided to break the mold of what is possible in a travel career and start a travel coaching business. It is a very new niche in the travel industry but is quickly gaining momentum. I recognized this at a very early stage which is what inspired me to create The Travel Coach Network™ (TCN), a place for travel coaches around the world to learn, connect, and grow.
I created the TCN to bridge the gap between travel coaches and travel experts with those who wish to travel better, more effectively, and from experts who best relate to their specific needs. It is also a platform for travelers and companies to find and hire a travel coach who specializes in the niche that they are looking for.
Within the TCN, I designed the world’s very first certification program for travel coaches called the Travel Coach Certification Program™. It is an accredited program by the International Coach Federation (ICF) that not only helps ambitious travelers start and grow a travel coaching business but it also is an all-encompassed program that focuses on the necessities for running an online business plus a community to connect and network with other travel coaches in a private online group.
Travel coaching not only disrupts the travel career or coaching industry but it also causes disruption across many industries. This is due to the need for experts like travel coaches. Every company has employees, employees have paid time off or vacation days to use. With most vacation days usually going to waste or not being used properly, travel coaches can help teach, guide, and empower employees on how to travel on their desired budgets, time frame, and to have the experiences that they need to thrive in both their personal and work-life. Post covid workplace will include more remote work jobs as well. Not everyone is accustomed to working remotely or traveling while working. This is also a place for travel coaches to come in with their expertise on adjustments, culture, and more. Travel coaches can shift the way that travel is viewed for improving wellbeing, boosting work performance, decreasing burnout, and helping companies succeed overall with happier employees, a healthier workplace, and a more creative and productive workforce.
I have always been someone who went against the grain on things. After college I decided to skip the typical corporate route and ignore society’s and family’s expectations and packed a bag to solo travel the globe for a decade. I never gave into jobs just because others were doing them or because they were already proven to be possible or easy. Therefore, being a pioneer in the travel coaching industry and paving a path for other passionate travelers is exactly what I was meant to do.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the silliest things that I did when starting my business was when I launched a new group program and offered a payment plan, I accidently set it as a one-time payment which meant that I had to contact each client each month for that month’s payment until the three months were over. I learned to double check everything before making it available to my audience.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
One of my mentors, Minna Whitman, the Global Knowledge and Collaboration Lead at American Express Global Business Travel, is someone who has helped me tremendously in my business. I connected with Minna through the Global Business Travel Association’s Women in Travel organization because I was seeking someone to help and guide me through my own business journey. My favorite thing about having Minna as a mentor is how open she is to hearing my ideas and helping me break through my mental blocks. She made such an impact on me because she made me feel like my vision mattered and that I mattered. It’s important as a solopreneur to have adequate and genuine support and guidance. I also love hearing about her beautiful location of Nova Scotia, a place that I have always wanted to travel to.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
One of the most successful and most disruptive companies ever is Amazon. Amazon is a great example of a combined positive and not so positive disruption of an industry.
A positive disruption makes people think in a way that is going to provide new opportunities and the betterment of an industry.Amazon changed the way that people do their shopping, allowing people to simply place an order online for practically anything that they need and then receive it at their doorstep without ever having to leave their home. This brings convenience, it saves time, and it lowers stress levels of running one more errand or having to go out in public. Consumers love Amazon for these reasons. The way that Amazon changed the commerce world is a game-changer and can be seen as a positive disruption.
At the same time, Amazon is also a good example of a not so positive disruption as well. It’s not so good to disrupt an industry in a way that is going to bring negative energy and influence over it. With the rise in ecommerce and Amazon came the downfall of brick and mortar stores. These stores and companies provided jobs for millions of people. There are now empty shopping malls and buildings where stores once stood. Companies must compete with online competitors like Amazon in order to stay afloat but most of them fail. Amazon isn’t loved by everyone. Not everyone prefers to shop online, not everyone wants to have an online business or job, and not everyone wants huge companies like Amazon to have so much control.
As industries evolve, innovation and disruption is inevitable.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- My mentor, David Meltzer’s, mentor is Gary V. He shared something that Gary V told him that really resonated with me. Gary told him that if you think you’re putting out too much content, put out more. As an online business owner, posting content is important but it’s easy to feel like you are annoying people with how often you post. Truth is, not everyone will see what you post every day plus, the people who aren’t your ideal clients or your supporters don’t need to be in your audience anyways.
- David Meltzer, one of my mentors, always says to “be more interested than interesting”. People tend to try to impress or share their thoughts because they want to prove that they are capable or to convince someone of something. Instead, one of the best ways to really get to know your ideal clients or get the promotion or job that you want is to be more interested by asking questions, doing research, and simply just listening.
- Another mentor of mine, Minna Whitman, told me how important it is to simplify the user experience. Although this sounds like an obvious to know and do, it’s easy to overcomplicate things. As a business owner, you might be overly excited and try to fit everything in one spot, or include every idea that you have, or give too many pieces of information. The user experience is what is most important. Keep things simple. Whether that is for a website, program, or any experience that a consumer has with your business. Simplify things.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
I am so excited for the future of my business. My platform is going to evolve into something that has never been done before. It will be a prime go-to place for travelers to change how and why they travel and it will provide opportunities for travel coaches to be hired and for companies to partner with my TCN. I will also infiltrate the travel agent industry with my signature travel coach approach and change how travel is viewed in business travel and the corporate world as well. My vision is big but my heart and passion is even bigger.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Where do I even begin? Although it is 2020, there is still an imbalance between how men and women are viewed in leadership roles. Some of the biggest challenges faced by women disruptors that aren’t typically faced by men are credibility and being taken seriously. It seems that women need to prove themselves more than men do. What is her background? What are her credentials? What has she accomplished? Even when that is established, it’s still a matter of women being taken seriously enough. Is she as capable as a man is for this opportunity or role? Does she know as much? Will she take control well enough? Will she be as confident?
I love seeing more women in leadership and power positions, especially within the travel and hospitality industries. Those are two male dominated industries but seeing more and more women stand on stages, become decision-makers, and be in control, is inspiring for women entrepreneurs across all fields.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I remember sitting on a plane flying from Thailand to India in the mist of my aimless solo backpacking journey. Beside me sat a man in a business suit. We sparked conversation and he asked me why I was heading to India. I told him that I had always wanted to visit India but I had no specific reason for going other than I was just traveling for fun. I told him that I was just in Thailand for a month and shared some of my beautiful adventures with him. He said that he had been traveling for business for several years but never experienced anything like I had. He then expressed how envious he was of my life. I couldn’t believe it. There I sat, a dirty backpacking girl in her early 20’s with no direction or structure in life yet and this man in a business suit was telling me that he was envious of my life and wanted to do what I was doing. This was someone who had everything perfect on paper. He had a wife, family, great-paying corporate job, and traveled for business but, he was not happy with his life. This is when I knew that there must be another way for business travelers to have more meaningful experiences than what they were having. I knew how healing, joyous, and impactful having actual experiences around the world had on the mind, body, and the soul that it was obvious that there was a missing piece to this man’s life. This experience of mine made me think about the change that I would one day try to make in the business travel industry and for travelers in general.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It is part of my mission to inspire people to use travel as a way to thrive in their personal and work life. My movement is called the #ThriveThroughTravel initiative and represents the idea that travel can be used to help people do and be their best in all aspects of their life, work, and wellbeing.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite “life lesson quote” is “everything happens when it’s meant to happen”. The reason that this quote really hits home for me is because it proved to be consistent throughout my entire travel and business journey.
I was never one to have a clear idea on what my passions or my career path was. Even after graduating with a degree in tourism, I still had no clue what I want to do with my life. This sparked my desire to see the world. I began traveling before the fancy travel apps, resources, blogs, and tools that now exist. This forced me to see travel in a different and more skillful point of view. I learned many challenges and really got to see what travelers liked, wanted, used, and didn’t like about the travel industry. My age also came in handy because as a millennial, I had a perspective and experience with the rise in social media and digital nomad jobs than other generations. I was still struggling for many years trying to figure out what my dream career path and my purpose was. I knew that there must be a more meaningful way for me to put my travel knowledge and skills to better and a more lucrative use. I chose to continue to travel and learn even more about the travel industry in the meantime.
When I turned 30, I told myself that it was time to put on my thinking cap and figure out what I wanted to do in life. I knew that since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I had to create it myself. By that time, social media was more evolved, the online world was booming, and there were unlimited amounts of platforms to learn how to start and grow an online business. It was also when I discovered the surge in the online coaching industry and everything just clicked. I wanted to become a travel coach.
If I was born at a different time in life, if I began my journey around the world earlier or later in life, or if I never pushed myself to keep on waiting, learning, and experiencing even more about travel, I know that I would not have created what I created in business. I was meant to be challenged. I was meant to be the pioneer that I am. I was meant to create my business exactly when I did.
That’s why everything happens when it’s mean to happen. So, be patient, trust the universe, and believe in your own journey.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!