A week before we got married, my husband Andy Pesky opened a travel company. Our honeymoon was one day in Atlantic City, but we’ve made up for it a thousand-fold. In our 40 years of marriage, my husband and I have visited 132 countries, and sent clients to almost all of them!
When we got married, I was a teacher, and still enjoy the educational aspects of being a travel agent. I started working in the agency part-time and quickly made it my career. I love traveling and people, and it’s very satisfying to learn about my clients and then use my knowledge to help people plan the trips of their dreams. Often I end up knowing what my clients will like better than they do.
For example, one of my regular clients just asked me to make hotel reservations for a six-week stay in the Canadian Rockies. Having sent her and her husband to Paris, Rome and other cities and planned their sightseeing, I knew the kinds of things they like to do. I was surprised at their choice and asked what they wanted to do there. “My husband says this is his lifelong dream.” I could tell they hadn’t thought it through. By laying out a day-by-day itinerary, I showed them how the trip could feel and helped them plan a trip they’ll love.
One of the fun trips I planned was a 90th birthday celebration. Every year, this gentleman takes his four kids and his grandkids—about 30 in all—on a bucket list vacation. This year, it was Venice. They stayed at the Belmond Cipriani Venice, which is lovely. For a special evening, I asked if he could give me a budget and let me create a surprise. I asked for each traveler’s height and waist measurements without telling them why. Then, I ordered beautiful 18th-century costumes that the hotel delivered on the night of the party. They were transported by boat to a ballroom, decorated in the style of the 18th century where they learned traditional dances. I arranged for a professional videographer to film it all. It was a great surprise and felt very special!
A destination that many people are asking for these days is Japan. I think they are drawn to it because it is stable and removed from the crazy news cycles. And while very exotic culturally, it’s also a welcoming culture, known for being safe, clean and hospitable. You can stay in Ryokans, traditional inns that are often family owned and operated and offer a taste of Japanese life. You may sleep on a futon laid out on a tatami (straw mat) floor and be invited to soak in an “onsen,” akin to a hot tub. Attending a Sumo wrestling match and home visits with English-speaking hosts are also ways to connect with the culture.
I love to help people discover the wonders of travel, wherever they lead. Tell me your travel dreams, and I will make them come true.