The Travel Sisters Network had to file our taxes for the first time this month. It was a simple affair - I can transparently report we did not make any profits in 2022. You might think we are down about that, but you would be wrong. Because quick financial gain is not the goal of the TSN - building a community of women who can confidently travel together IS. And we are making great strides on that front - more on that in a minute!
There was a time we feared that once we made the Travel Sister Network concept public it could be quickly copied in other markets. That was when we thought a website would be the main driver of the network. Seems kind of silly now.
The main driver of the network is the CONNECTIONS that happen because of trips, Zooms, Meet-ups . . . all those connections are built on the same INTENTION - we want to go places! Anyone who wants to start a network like this has to be willing to commit to doing the spadework of building those connections, over time, without any guarantee of monetary gain. It suddenly seems a lot less “stealable”, right? Lol. Lucky for us, we are more than a year into that work and just as enthusiastic as ever. Joy is happening. Possibilities are blooming. And big trips are right around the corner!
This past week was a great indication of how things are manifesting on the ground. Nine of us are heading to Greece in 6 weeks and I spent a good amount of time making sure I had mastered the specialty dining options on Norwegian. I quickly realized we needed to work together fast to secure reservations for all of us who didn’t want to do specialty dining alone! And we did! Through our email group I sent out the call; within a day we all had a place at a shared table so we can all enjoy specialty dining together. Add to that how we mapped offshore excursions and extra tours and everyone has had an opportunity to craft their vacation to their liking, be it one with a lot of “me” time or one with constant togetherness- or something in between.
I also booked a trip for a Travel Sister to do a solo trip. You might be wondering how that could further our mission - we’re about traveling together, right? She found a tour with a group that pays travel agents commission for booking. While she could easily book the trip herself, she realized if she let us do it the commission could help the network cover some of our fixed costs. Same with the hotel, travel insurance, etc. In the end, the commissions from that solo trip will cover the cost of renting the clubhouse for our in person gathering May 20th! She’s the third Travel Sister that has helped “lift” the network by letting us book their personal travel! In the end, that helps grow the network and makes it more likely each of us can find the perfect Travel Sisters for the next trip we have our eye on.
A third example is different from the last one - it brought no money in but lots of joy, and having a dedicated agent on the job allows a little bandwidth for those kinds of efforts! One of our Travel Sisters went out on a limb and rented an apartment in NYC for a month in October. We agreed I would float the idea out in a network-wide email and see if we could find Travel Sisters who might want to rotate in for a week or more. It’s been so fun following up, connecting folks, hearing about how those conversations have planted a seed that is flowering. It will be so fun to think of them gallivanting around NYC this fall!
It occurs to me I am “burying the lead” by not discussing the fact that our in-person gathering at Duke Gardens this Saturday was AMAZING and our in person meeting in March at the clubhouse was EVEN MORE AMAZING?! So many women came to the clubhouse and we had such a great time?! So much food, such great “organized mingling” and conversation . . . we are definitely doing that again in May!
Duke Gardens allowed us to bask in the beauty of nature and meet a new friend at Duke Chapel - Oscar the Chapel Housekeeper. Oh the stories he could tell! At the end of our time together in Duke Gardens a number of us had settled on a picnic blanket to craft some luggage “poms.” I finally realized that just about everyone there was enrolled to go to Morocco in about a year. A whole year out we are together and having fun! Imagine the peace and excitement we will be feeling next March as we pack to head out. I can hardly wait already?!
Thanks to the investment of everyone, we may not be rich on our taxes, but we are feeling very rich in hope and optimism! Anything built on that foundation cannot be a losing proposition! Let’s keep going!
Hope to see you soon - thanks for reading along!