How did this happen???

So Monday is kind of the one year anniversary of the day that kicked off our entire travel agent/consultant odyssey. And I am going to save that story for Monday or Tuesday. But I did want to mention how we got to a place where last Christmas Eve was even possible.

As many of you know, I have a day job. One that I have been in for about 37 years. I do marketing and sales for a big yearbook printing company. It has been an amazing career and I have loved much of it but I am also getting to the point where I can see the end of that career. I have never been the kind of person who could just sit around and be retired. Can’t imagine playing golf or reading or even taking pictures all day. I would go stir crazy. I need a challenge. Plus, even though Kathleen and I are pretty set for retirement financially, if we go it on our savings and Social Security alone, we will do fine but we won’t be able to travel like we are used to. And we do love to travel.

Over the years I have imagined myself in lots of post-career jobs. Or as Mark (our franchise partner with Expedia) likes to say, “a Funtirement job.” I considered being a tour guide here in Seattle. I know I would love that and I kind of have a gift of gab for it. Thought about doing something with photography. Took an online class on taking corporate portraits and thought that might be pretty good. Heck, I could drive for Uber or Lyft. Or deliver for Amazon. I was truly up in the air about it and I was thinking that it was surely at least 5 years away at this point last year.

But Kathleen was retiring last December 15 (2017) and about four months before that, we received an e-vite from the aforementioned Mark and his lovely wife Kim to join them in exploring the possibility of us becoming travel consultants with Expedia Cruise Ship Centers right here in Redmond. Well, not exactly here in Redmond, but up on Redmond Ridge about 15 minutes away. They had seen our posts about cruising on Facebook and Twitter and had sent us the e-vite. After corresponding a few times with Mark and having a long discussion with Kathleen we decided that we should go ahead and attend a meeting of prospective consultants at the soon-to-open office. That’s right, at that point, the Redmond Cruise Ship Center wasn’t even open yet.

(An aside here: I just asked Kathleen when she thought we had gone to the first meeting at the Agency and she and I both thought it was mid-November. Went back and looked it up and it was Thursday, SEPTEMBER 14!)

We liked what we heard at the meeting and we liked the business plan so we decided that we would consider it down the road. Maybe Kathleen would think about getting involved in March or April of 2018 and I might start doing some training around that time as well and then I would jump in further, sometime in 2020. I mean, I had a full-time business I was running. In the meantime, we thought we would have access to tons of travel info, maybe get some discounts and certainly learn more about one of my favorite parts of traveling—planning it.

We made a verbal commitment to Mark and Kim in early November that we would be going forward but at a very slow pace. When we did that, Mark made a suggestion that we go ahead and get signed up so the training was available to us and so that we could attend the one face-to-face class we needed to do—selling travel insurance. The state requires that if you are selling insurance, you have some training so we signed up and did the insurance class in November. We were fully intending to not get overly involved (beyond the online training) until at least March or April for Kathleen and maybe a year or two down the road for me.

And then we had brunch on Christmas Eve.

To do two things at once is to do neither.” – Publilius Syrus