The power of travel is often over used – but I have to admit that last month I had one of the most privileged trips of my life, and it reminded me why I am so fortunate to work in the travel industry. First I went to an LGBT networking event in San Francisco hosted by dot429. My intention was just to check it out, and I was so happy to see that Californians were much friendlier than Minnesotans and actually came up and started talking to an elderly, overweight, balding man – bravo. After 30 minutes, in walked two great friends, Jody Cole of Wild Rainbow Safaris, and the ever-effective Selisse Berry of Out and Equal – both doing great work, locally, nationally and globally.
The next day, I spent 2 hours with Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and her staff at Giving 2.0. These people are poised to change the world of giving. I was so moved to hear their ideas about how to help increase visible philanthropy in the LGBT community. Thank you, Laura, Stacy, and Zach for being so damn cool.
Then it was off to LA to catch up with Richard Cardran. Richard invented the “video-log” of a cruise in 1986. He and his ever fabulous Boston Terrier “the lady bunny” are the consummate hosts, and I love showing up and knowing that there are plenty of Starbucks Double Espresso and Cream shots in the fridge to get me out of bed the next morning. What I love is that, 23 years later, I am still as close to the man who introduced me to Russ Myers, John Waters, and of course Mink Stole.
Saturday found me driving to Santa Ynez, where Diane Petras welcomed me not only to her house, but introduced me to some incredible friends who fled Hollywood and moved to the mountains. I had never met Diane before, but a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek brought us to some very common ground in about 15 seconds. Diane is a true leader in the travel community and I have to say that watching just one sunset from her patio was enough for me to question my commitment to live in Minnesota until I die. Diane embodies everything that is right with the travel industry, passion, compassion, adventure, and the knowledge that we are all better when we experience something out of the ordinary.
Winging my way home to Minneapolis, I thought about how Brand g Vacations will continue to focus on creating the best possible people-to-people experiences because that’s what it’s all about.