JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Singer and Travel Agent – always finding more similarities.

2 Comments

So I’ve been thinking a bit again on how my two careers have more in common than I ever would have thought – for better and for worse. I’ve also been reminded at the same time that it’s really good that I enjoy the act of learning and research.

As I mentioned in some earlier blog posts, singing and being a travel agent are similar in the amount of time one must put into the work. In the same way I would research and prepare for a new role in a show, I must research and prepare when putting together trips for my clients. One just can’t throw something together and hope that it goes well. Details are important. Certain elements must be developed and personalized. Even though I know every resort, park, and restaurant in Disney World, I don’t have the same level of expertise when it comes to other locations. So when a client inquires about going somewhere else besides Disney, I’m more than happy to jump into the research pond and dive deep into all the information that is out there in order to get my clients the best trip possible. That often requires hours of research. And fortunately, I really do enjoy learning. I was always good in school and thrived in a learning environment. Heck, I was a full-time student until age 25, as I pretty much went straight to grad school to earn my Master’s degree right after I finished my Bachelor’s degree. (Honestly, if money were no object, I really think I could have been a full-time student for the rest of my life, soaking up as much information as I possibly could.)

Singers work endlessly on interpretation (musical and dramatic) and must do extensive research when it comes to developing a character for an opera or musical. And often in opera, we are performing in foreign languages, so we must spend a great deal of time in translation so that we can be dramatically believable – even in a language that is not truly our own. We research the time periods and societal trends of the eras in which our characters live. We learn about historical figures that effected the inspirations for the works we perform. And we spend countless hours memorizing music and dialogue.

And as singers, we frequently are doing a great deal of this work just to prepare for auditions; auditions in which we put ourselves and our talents out there in hopes of gaining employment. And since there are more singers than jobs, we must also deal with a great deal of rejection. In the beginning of the career, this is a difficult skill to learn – coping with all the rejection. But you start to kind of get used to it. (Haha!)

I’m realizing that once again, I am finding very strong similarities in the travel business. You can spend hours and hours researching destinations, only to never hear from said client again. Or they take your research and book on their own. Or they remember they have a family member who is a travel agent and they want to book through them. Suddenly, I’m having to learn to deal with a new form of rejection – one that I don’t think I was fully prepared to experience. (Well, one that I didn’t really know existed until now.) I’m kind of re-experiencing how rejection felt in my early days of singing, and am having to learn how to not take it personally.

But I’m hoping that in the same way I learned to ‘deal with’ rejection in the singing business, I will learn that it is also a part of the travel business, and that it is just par for the course. At least I’m hoping. *raising eyebrows in a hopeful smile*

And at least at the end of the day, I’ve become a more educated and smarter person for all the work – in singing and in travel!

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

2 thoughts on “Singer and Travel Agent – always finding more similarities.

  1. Hi Jen,
    I think the difference in being turned down for a role and having someone take all your hard work and then book their own trip is the dishonesty of the latter. That kind of unethical behavior must be REALLY hard to take. I admire your ability to set it aside and press on.
    :0)
    Jane

  2. The type of rejection you’re describing is common in business. Remember, “it’s not personal; it’s business.” I have spent a lot of time addressing potential clients’ questions by e-mail or phone, only to never hear from them again. I wouldn’t call it dishonest or unethical–it’s just the price of doing business. After all, haven’t YOU ever called a company or asked questions about a product, only to decide against making the purchase later on? That’s your right as a consumer. It’s the same with these folks.

    I myself just did this to a company. I wanted to plant some cypress trees along my porch. A rep from a local nursery came out to my house and took a look at the site, and gave his recommendations. Two days later, a person at his office forwarded his estimate to me: $400 per tree! That’s way more than I could afford. Then, we found out that Dan Schantz had the trees for only $25 each (of course you have to plant them yourself). So I never called the nursery back, even though that rep had gone to all that effort of coming out to my house. Is that dishonest or unethical of me? I don’t think so. I just decided that that purchase was not right for me.

    On the flip side, I also recently fielded an e-mail query from a stay-at-home veteran who wanted to know what equipment he needed to digitize his Betamax tapes himself. There was NOTHING in his request that was going to lead to a job for me. But I gave him some tips on equipment and stores anyway. A week later, he e-mailed back and said that after he researched it further, he wouldn’t be able to afford the equipment–and now wants me to just do the transfer work. Would I have gotten that job if I hadn’t helped him when I didn’t have to? Nope!

    You have to expect to help potential customers who won’t actually buy from you. It’s just the way it is. And you never know when one of these “lost” customers will come back to you in the future for an actual paying job (or send a referral your way), because they remember how you helped them for free.

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