Include more travel into your lifestyle whether that is to travel solo, to work on a relationship, to gain creativity and motivation, or to find your own balance. It’s important to include travel into your lifestyle to any degree that suits your lifestyle and desires. Taking time to yourself on a trip and find the answers in life that you seek, going on a vacation to improve a relationship, getting inspired and breaking a creative mental block, or finding your balance between your work and self-care, everyone travels for their own unique reasons. What is yours? Many people put travel on the back burner or they hand over their entire travel control to someone else which prevents them from ever benefiting from the myriad of wellbeing benefits that travel can have on the mind, body, and the soul.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sahara Rose De Vore.
Sahara Rose De Vore is an Intuitive Wellness Travel Coach and the founder of The Travel Coach Network. She applies her signature Travel Coach Approach in her Thrive Through Travel Initiative to help companies improve their corporate wellness and business travel programs. After spending a decade traveling to over 84 countries, she uses her passion and deep understanding of travel to help others thrive in life and the workplace. She is a speaker for the Global Business Travel Association and the Assistant Director of the Global Workplace Wellness Summit 2020.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Growing up an only child to a single mom, I kept to myself often. I lived in a world within my introverted self yet, a piece of me was curious to see what else existed out there in this big ole’ world. We didn’t have much money, just enough to have food on the table for dinner every night. My mom struggled to provide me with everything that I ever needed in which I learned early on not to ask for much.
When I opened magazines and watched movies, I saw these beautiful places around the world that made me awe struck. I envisioned myself in those places floating in the crystal blue sea, exploring in the lush green jungle, wandering throughout a golden temple, and boating to remote islands but, I wasn’t rich. I always had the notion that only rich people traveled the world and could live a life of such wanderlust so I kept my travel dreams in journal, never to actually take seriously.
I was never the type of person who knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. I didn’t know what my career path was unlike most of my friends and classmates. I wasn’t laser-focused on studies to be a doctor, nurse, teacher, engineer, or lawyer. I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I just knew that I wanted to do something different, something great, and something that made me happy. What that was, I had no clue.
It wasn’t until my third year of university when I decided to act on my lust for travel. I enrolled in a hospitality and tourism program to figure what I wanted to do with my life. Envious of the travel experiences of the foreign exchange students in my class and my professor’s long list of countries he had visited, I made a promise to myself that I was going to figure out a way to turn my travel dreams in my travel reality.
Problem was, I was a broke college student struggling to pay my $1,000 a month rent. I didn’t care though. Upon graduating, I had hoped to find a job that suited my travel goals but, unfortunately I didn’t. In 2010, the travel and hospitality industry wasn’t as generous for employees looking for remote or extensive travel opportunities like companies are offering now. I refused to give in to society and family pressure to figure out my life path after receiving my degree. Something in me felt empty. I felt lost and confused. I needed answers. To what? I didn’t know but, I was going to figure it out. I struggled for years with severe anxiety and bouts of depression. I wanted more out of life and I believed that travel would help me heal.
I decided to pack a bag and set off to explore the world to find whatever it was in life that I was looking for. Being an introvert and dealing with an anxiety disorder, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was terrified yet excited. I gave myself time to figure things out and off I went.
Not only was I seeing parts of the world that I had only dreamed of but, I was learning a lot about myself, what I wanted out of life, what kind of lifestyle I want, why others traveled, what traveling meant to myself and to other people, what trends stuck and which failed, what travel-related innovation was popular and what wasn’t, what people wanted out of a career, and what companies were failing to offer in terms of suiting people’s travel desires. My eyes were opened to the power that travel had on people’s mind, body, and soul. Through the thousands of conversations that I held in my journey, I realized that everyone travels for a different reason, a deeper and more personal reason, whether they recognized that or not.
I spent over a year researching the mental, physical, and physiological healing benefits that travel had as well as the benefits that effective travel had on the workplace through creativity, connection, productivity, company culture, and more.
I wanted to find a way to use all that I knew and loved about traveling and the industry and pave a path for myself that aligned my passion for travel and my love of helping others. That’s when I dove head first into starting a business as a travel coach. I founded The Travel Coach Network and developed my own Travel Coach Approach framework to help companies change the way that they used and viewed travel to improve wellbeing in and out of the workplace and in business travel.
It is my mission to help others change their perspective on travel and use it as a tool to help them thrive in wellness and the workplace through my Thrive Through Travel Initiative.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Within the first year of starting my business, I was invited to be a guest speaker for the Global Workplace Wellness virtual summit. The founder of the summit really liked my vibe and my mission for improving corporate wellness through my Thrive Through Travel Initiative that she offered me to be her assistant director and co-coordinator of the Global Workplace Wellness live summit in 2020. It is a massive role that is extremely exciting but stands out to me because it stemmed from her interest in my unique approach that I developed from my personal experiences, passion, and perspective.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
By far the biggest mistake that I made when first starting my business was to not stay focused. I had, and still do have, many exciting ideas that I found myself not giving my all to just one project. I was stretching myself thin across all projects and not yielding their full potential because I wasn’t giving 100%. I learned that I need to narrow my main projects and give them my all if I want to see the results that I envision for them. When you try to do too much, you wind up doing nothing, so choose what is most important and give it your full attention and effort.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
One of my very first mentors was David Meltzer. Although he comes from the sporting world as the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, I was drawn to his messaging when I stumbled upon him on social media. I related to his stories, his failures, and his authenticity. He stands out among all others as his thoughts stem from his personal life experiences and lessons. One of the things that has impressed me most about Dave is that he had it all in life and failed miserably before building himself and his life to what it is now. His story is incredibly inspiring and a great example that you can learn from everything in your life and you can make of your life what you want of it. I also find it really generous and inspiring that Dave always is willing to help anyone. He provides his contact information and makes time to answer people’s questions. He is a prime example of leadership and mentorship at its finest. A big take away from Dave’s approach to that you are never too busy to help anybody and asking for help while also being of service to people are some of the best things that you can do for yourself.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Most people love to travel, whether that is abroad to another country for a few weeks or a weekend roadtrip a few hours away. Everyone travels for different reasons and reasons deeper than just a simple vacation. Travel is powerful which is why people turn to it at various times in their life. For celebrations, breakthroughs, soul searching, lowering stress levels, healing from a traumatic life event, death, or a breakup, improving a relationship with a partner, friend, parent, or a child, finding your life purpose or your passions, focusing on self-care, among many other purpose-driven reasons.
There are years of studies and research done that prove the mental, physical, and physiological health benefits that travel can provide yet most people and companies are not utilizing travel for a deeper sense of wellness. From improving mental health, boosting physical wellbeing, stimulating your cognition, and a long list of other wellness benefits, travel can help people thrive in both their personal and professional lives but only when done intuitively.
I developed my Travel Coach Approach framework which includes human connection, personalization, empowerment, mindset, and other main focal points to help people gain a better understanding of their own desire for travel and how to obtain the transformative experiences that they need to apply to their personal and work life so they can thrive at their highest potential.
I believe so deeply that travel helps people in incredible ways. When people do the inner work and identify their personal wants, needs, obstacles, and stresses and they become more involved in their travel planning, they can have the type of experience that they need to transform their life and have the work-life balance and achievements that they crave. From reconnecting with yourself to getting that promotion that you want in the workplace, traveling mindfully can help you get there.
I believe that there is so much room for growth in the travel and hospitality industries in terms of how travel is used for wellbeing both in and out of the workplace which is why I am in love with the work that I do. It is my mission to disrupt the travel industry and shift how companies utilize travel for corporate wellness, business travel, and traveler experiences.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Use your vacation days and paid time off effectively. It’s easy to get caught up in a heavy workload and forget to use your vacation days or you just simply decide to stay home instead. The majority of people don’t use most or all of their vacation days which is causing them to miss out on the opportunity to improve their overall wellbeing. Being stuck in your work routine, forgetting to request off, failing to plan for a trip, or even carrying your workload and stress with out on your travels are amplifying burnout. Travel has the ability to help you lower stress and anxiety levels, provides you with time to reflect and soul-search, keep your mind and body active, boost your immune system, and improve your wellbeing in many other proven ways. Make sure that you request off far enough in advance, get clarity on your company’s travel policy, be involved in your travel planning, ask yourself why you want to get away and what kind of experiences do you need to improve your wellbeing, personal life, and work-life, and go somewhere, not just at home.
- Take control over your travel planning and your budget. Studies show that the wellness benefits of traveling begins at in the planning phase. It’s important to be involved with the planning process because it gets your happiness hormones and endorphins going before the trip even begins. I understand that not everyone is a travel expert but the internet is saturated with great travel tools and resources to help you plan on any budget and time frame. Ask your employer what kind of travel support and resources they provide, if any, or seek out a travel coach who can help guide you on your travel mindset and empower you to take charge and go on an experience that benefits you in the ways that you need. Financial health is also key to improving overall health. Making sure that you are setting aside money every month towards a trip can help alleviate the financial stress that many people have when taking a vacation. Instead of hiring a travel agent and spending more than your budget can afford, take control over your travels and make sure that it suits your wellness and financial needs.
- Choose a workplace that encourages and supports travel. Many people fail to use all of their vacation days or don’t use them accordingly because of the lack of support and encouragement from their employer. Being afraid of how wanting to go on a vacation will make you look, being too overwhelmed with a heavy workload, financial stress, fear of being replaced or demoted, and other reasons that hold employees back from asking to use their time off, is a big problem in company culture. It’s essential to have a workplace that encourages and supports all employees, including management, to use all of their vacation days and paid time off. Having a management team and corporate structure that understand the importance of travel and the wellbeing benefits is important for a happy, healthy, and productive workplace.
- Tune into your wellbeing and identify where your struggles, obstacles, problems, and fears stem from and use travel mindfully to address or improve them. Traveling intuitively is key to achieving the wellness and workplace benefits of travel. Traveling intuitively means to look within yourself during the planning phase of your trip and ask yourself, what is causing you to want to get away? Where are your stresses stemming from? What might be holding you back from taking or fully enjoying your trip? What personal mental or overall health issues do you deal with? What would your ideal life and lifestyle look like upon returning from your trip? Answering these types of questions will better help your trip planning process as it will help you decide on where to go (do you need to go somewhere warm or by a beach to relax or do you want a lively place to meet new people and engage, wherever local and cultural, or a more touristy place), when to go (how much time do you need on this trip), who to go with (alone, with a loved one, with your partner), how do you get there (do you need reflection or conversation time in a long car ride, do you need to stay on a budget and use local transportation, or are you going to fly), and what kind of activities do you need to do on this trip to get you the wellness results and transformative outcomes that you need (go for walks in nature, reduce inflamed joints in the salty sea, sit beside a peaceful lake to think, spend time with animals, laugh and meet with new people, get inspired by history or architecture, or go off of the beaten path and have a soulful journey). When you travel, always travel intuitively and mindfully because travel is powerful but it’s up to you to tap into its highest abilities.
- Include more travel into your lifestyle whether that is to travel solo, to work on a relationship, to gain creativity and motivation, or to find your own balance. It’s important to include travel into your lifestyle to any degree that suits your lifestyle and desires. Taking time to yourself on a trip and find the answers in life that you seek, going on a vacation to improve a relationship, getting inspired and breaking a creative mental block, or finding your balance between your work and self-care, everyone travels for their own unique reasons. What is yours? Many people put travel on the back burner or they hand over their entire travel control to someone else which prevents them from ever benefiting from the myriad of wellbeing benefits that travel can have on the mind, body, and the soul.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Mymovement is the Thrive Through Travel Initiative which embodies the understanding that travel has the power to help people thrive mentally, physically, spiritually, personally, and professionally. People already travel for deep and personal reasons including to heal or to find answers to questions that they can’t fully form yet but, travel isn’t being used, thought of, or acknowledged as a way to help people thrive in wellness and the workplace, causing people to miss out on fully achieving the powerful benefits that travel has proven to provide. My movement would include all companies embracing travel in the workplace as a key ingredient to employee wellbeing and growth, business travel shifting gears and including deeper experiences to improve wellness, travel agencies and travel brands establishing deeper connections with consumers and addressing their individual transformative experiences, and people overall prioritizing travel as a way to boost mental health, improve company culture, battle burnout, and helping people thrive in love, life, and the workplace. We all travel for a purpose, it’s just time to talk about it.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- You can’t do it all alone. I have always done everyone on my own and had to figure things out but there comes a point in business where you need to learn to delegate. It was hard for me to hand over control in areas of my business but the more that I was holding off on doing so, the more overwhelmed with everything going on got. I needed to realize the importance of building a team that you love and trust and focus my time and energy on what was most important for me to keep growing.
- Don’t be afraid to invest. I grew up in a lower-income household and I come from a background of a budget backpacker so letting go of money was difficult for me, especially when income isn’t where you want it to be when starting off. I needed to quickly learn how important it was to not only invest in my business but also in myself. I realized that when I finally learned to let go and to trust the process and invested, I always got a return which enabled me to grow even more. Invest in mentors, coaches, personal growth, your mindset, a team, networking, and your business overall. It’s one of the best things that I did even though it was one of the hardest to. Investing doesn’t only mean financially though. Be sure to invest your time and energy into your business to nurture and grow it as you envision.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. When I first started out in my business, I quickly found myself comparing my success and growth to that of others. What I realized that I was doing was hindering myself from reaching my truest potential because I was giving time and emotional energy to what others were doing. That’s when I decided to regain my power and my focus and trust in my own journey.
- Trust in your own journey and process. Everyone’s process is different. You don’t know everyone’s truth, only what you see put out there, yet you compare yourself to them. Take your power back and believe in your own process. When I regained my focus on myself and my own business, things began to take off! Everything is meant to happen when it happens, how it happens for you. Embrace your journey.
- There isn’t just one way to scale to success. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the noise on the internet on using this, buying that, this is how to do it, everyone does that but, do what works best for you. Just because something works for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Listen to your heart and stay authentic. Don’t be afraid of trying and failing until you find what is best for you.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is what initiated my travel journey in the first place and had a huge influence on my business mission. Despite the rise in wellness programs, there continues to be a burnout epidemic that seems to keep increasing. Mental health is something that everyone deals with to some degree and is a different journey for everyone. There are years of studies that show the mental health benefits that travel can provide which reassured my personal beliefs in the mental wellbeing power of travel. Helping to decrease stress, reducing or managing anxiety, realigning with your inner being, taking time to self-reflect, finding your personal purpose and passions in life, connecting to other human beings, stimulating your cognitive abilities, boosting your happiness hormones and endorphins, sparking creative ideas, introducing you to new sights, sounds, and feelings, improving your emotional stability, making you more aware and more compassionate, boosting your self confidence and establishing values and morals, among many other mental health benefits of travel. It is part of my mission to make travel a key ingredient to improving mental health, combating burnout, and helping people thrive mentally.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights!