I have been in the travel industry for 30 years. During this time I have earned my CTIE Certificate (Certified Travel Industry Executive) and I have served on many travel industry advisory boards, including Travel + Leisure magazine, Marriott Luxury brands (formally Starwood & Ritz Carlton), Rosewood, Four Seasons Resorts & Hotels, Delta Airlines, Classic Vacations, Taj Hotels and Palaces, and Tauck Tours. My experience and participation in the travel industry allows me to provide many benefits to our entire staff of travel consultants. We currently have locations in Woodland Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Modesto, in addition to a multitude of home-based agents throughout the United States.
As President of Plaza Travel I enjoy supporting all of our travel advisors and providing them with the best benefits, technology and tools available in the travel industry. In addition, we have developed many great relationships in the travel industry that allow us to provide some of the best benefits and amenities to our clients..
THE GOOD STUFF
What travel experience did you have that outdid your expectations and completely surprised you?
After visiting India twice, I wanted to get off the regular tourist path on my third trip. I headed up to northern India and Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple. Nothing like spending the entire afternoon wandering around the temple grounds where over 100,000 people visit and are served meals every day, and all with donations and volunteers. It was just me and my guide, I was able to walk freely throughout, as well as visit the kitchen and dining areas. There are so very few outside visitors there, I had a wonderful time engaging with all the people, volunteers, and worshipers.
What do you love the most about traveling?
Visiting with people around the world really opens your eyes and mind to how others live and thrive. The gift to be able to share local customs, enjoy local food, and participate in authentic ceremonies is like no other experience you can create. Floating down the Ganges in the evening while the outdoor crematoriums are blazing, smelling the incense while getting a blessing at the Tiger's Nest in Bhutan, or rappelling off the side of a cliff in Montana are just a few of the amazing experiences that make amazing memories.
Describe the most interesting or one of the most interesting persons you met on one of your travels.
While traveling to the Ganges River in India—the holiest place in the Hindu religion—I met a woman from Seattle, Washington. We were the only tourists on the flight, and luckily I was sitting next to her so I could hear her story. She worked in Seattle, but was stationed in India for six months. She was taking a weekend excursion to the Ganges to bring back water to her boyfriend's mother in Seattle. His mother was too old to travel, and she wanted to bring back the holy water since she had never been able to visit the Ganges.
If you could have one meal again from a past travel experience, what would it be and why?
After a few days of meetings, I spent a few days at Amanruya in Bodrum, Turkey with some of my peers. After a full day of touring we were ready for dinner. At Amanruya you can eat anywhere on the property and be served an amazing dinner. While I don't recall the exact dishes we enjoyed, they included local favorites, platters of freshly grilled fish, and so much more. But the special part of the evening was the flexibility of picking the perfect spot to enjoy dinner, and the sound of the rosé wine being poured...whenever I have a glass of wine that is poured in front of me, the sound brings me back to Bodrum.