Do you love exploring new places and creating wonderful memories? Listen to this episode as Sahara Rose De Vore shares her experiences and provides tips on how she traveled the globe to over 84 countries by the age of 31. Sahara is a wellness travel coach and the founder of The Travel Coach Network. Although she could travel a lot, she still believes she hasn’t found her passion until she came up with coaching. With the help of emerging technologies and different social media platforms, she started her coaching business. Tune in to listen to in-depth insights on how you could enhance your travel experiences to discover your purpose.
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Sahara Rose De Vore: Enhancing Travel Experiences With A Travel Coach
Sahara Rose De Vore traveled the globe to over 84 countries by the age of 31 when she founded The Travel Coach Network and created the first ICF Accredited Certification Program for travel coaches. She is also a published author, a global speaker and has been seen in various media outlets including Forbes, Skift, Fodor’s Travel, USA Today and Business Insider for her expertise. Welcome, Sahara, to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here and chatting with you.
Thank you for taking the time and being here. You came onto our view when we noticed that we had a few students that took your course and our courses as well afterward. They seem to think it’s a great compliment together. I was like, “Who is she? Let me go see what this Travel Coach Network is.” I saw that you offer some amazing courses and incredible value through your social media. I had to have you on the show.
I did not know that. That’s amazing. I do know that there are many people in my Travel Coach Network interested in retreat. I’m glad they were able to find you.
You have been in 84 countries by the age of 31. People don’t travel sometimes even one country beyond their own. What inspired you to do that? When did you start?
When you fall in love with traveling, you just can’t stop.
I started right after university. I studied Hospitality and Tourism Management in college. I did not get into that until my second year. It’s halfway through college. I was never one of those people who knew what my path in life was. I was not sure. I knew what I was interested in. I have always done a lot of art and there are things I loved but I was never someone who knew what my career path could be. I was changing schools at the time, moving across the country coming back to the Midwest. I have lived down South for a few years of college. I came across our Hospitality and Tourism program in Chicago. I was like, “Travel? That sounds cool. I have not been anywhere other than my grandma, who was originally from Mexico.”
Every summer, we would go on to a family van from Wisconsin, drive all the way down through Texas where a lot of her family lived in Mexico to visit our family members there. That was our extent of traveling when I was growing up. My family was not full of travelers despite having a name like Sahara Rose. It was not in our nature very much. I was like, “Who does not like to travel?” I joined the program at the university and graduated. I was 22 or 23 when I graduated.
After that, I was inspired but I was this broke college student. It was expensive to live in Chicago. My rent for a while was $1,000 for a little box studio. I was working my butt off. I worked five jobs to be able to afford my rent and have food but then I changed my money mindset. I was determined. I said, “I want to go traveling.” I had this mentality. I have always heard of people backpacking Europe. I was like, “I’m going to do that.” I’m an only child so I’m used to being alone. I was not waiting for a companion to go with me.
After university, I continued working through summer and said, “That’s it. I have saved enough money I thought,” which I did at the time because all I did was work and save my money. I booked a one-way ticket to Ireland. I thought I was going to go for a month and a half. I would come back and “figure out my life” like everyone else, “What company do I want to work for? What’s my path?” I fell in love with travel and I never stopped.
Were you one of those lake backpackers in Europe that would go across Europe and work on the way through?
No. I never worked while traveling. People always thought that. They thought, “You must be working and making money traveling. You travel, run out of money, come back home then make more money and go again.” Neither of those was true. I had worked and saved a good amount of money beforehand. I would keep an eye on my banker cow when I was traveling. If I got to a certain level, I would start thinking, “What do I want to do? Do I want to go back to the States and work?” Luckily, I had worked jobs that were quite lucrative in Chicago. It’s a very tourist busy city if no one has been there before. I knew that I had jobs I could go back to and easily make more money but I also was traveling on a tight budget.
I was budget backpacking. I was the person sleeping in airports to save a room night on a hostel or a hotel because my flight was early. Why pay for another night? I spent time with the locals riding on buses. Anything that was cheap I was doing it because my goal was to continue traveling. I did not need the sense of luxury, first-class flights or anything like that. That’s how I was able to travel to so many countries, starting as a broke college student.
It seems all those travels and experiences brought you to what was the next chapter of your life. I’m sure it created this amazing work ethic, budget ethic and all of that because you founded the company that you have after that experience. What was it that made you unveil this new chapter in your life? What is it that triggered you to do this and go ahead with it?
I hope those who are reading this can see themselves or get inspired by my story in some way. Although I studied Hospitality and Tourism Management and got my degree at the age of 22 or 23. The industry back then was very different from what it is now. What it is now is very different from what it was years ago. I could have lived in Chicago, easily worked for a hotel, got a job for an airline or did something that the industry said, “These are the possibilities. If you love to travel, this is what you can do.” I did not want to do any of those. I did not want to work for a company still that told me what I needed to be to work or when I could have vacation time.
Despite being in the travel hospitality industry, I did not want that. I wanted more of this “freedom lifestyle.” I wanted to be my own boss. I did not know I needed to be my own boss. I wanted to create my own schedule. That’s why I worked in restaurants a lot. I had different jobs that allowed flexibility. I had this taste of that already, which is why I was able to travel as often as I did and still find work when I came home.
Being your own boss is a freedom lifestyle anyone would dream of living.
I did not know what I wanted to do and what my career path. I know there was not one job that I said, “I want to strive for that.” I have never heard of a job or anything like that in travel and hospitality. I started traveling and said, “I don’t know where this is going to take me in my life. I don’t know what I’m going to learn or figure out but I will put my hands up and see where this world takes me.”
Within that ten years, I traveled during a prime time in the travel industry. There was the rise of technology, all these new travel platforms and travel apps. I heard more about travel agents, advisors, counselors and all these different titles. There was also the rise of social media. There was became travel influencers, travel bloggers and all of these new ideas. Still, none of that resonated with me. I said, “I don’t like planning and booking trips for other people. I had done it for friends and family.” I have too high of anxiety to worry about people’s canceled flights or if something goes wrong under my responsibility. It was not my thing. I did not want to be a flight attendant. I have a weird sense or fear of flying. I hate to fly, which many people would not think.
I’m the same thing. It’s hilarious. We are both in the travel industry.
I was like, “I want to get off the plane as soon as I can. I don’t want to live on a plane.” In travel blogging, I knew that it was hard to make money and you would have to dedicate so much time to it. I was enjoying my travels. I did not want to do something during that time that was going to take away from me experiencing what I had worked hard to be able to do is travel because I had seen bloggers. I had met people traveling who did these different types of jobs where they are always at their computer and not making very much money in return. I allowed myself time to figure it out. I always put this number in my head probably mostly during my twenties. I said, “When I’m 30, I’ll sit down with a computer and I will figure out my life but I’m not 30 yet. I don’t have to do that yet.”
I kept traveling, learning more, experiencing more and learning what people liked, what they did not like, why people travel, questions I got, what kind of jobs existed, the changes in the industry, the change in technology and change in social media. All of this I was absorbing. When I sat down with my laptop at the age of 30 in the North of Spain, I opened it up and Googled, “How do I start an online business?” I knew for so long if I spent over ten years looking for something to resonate with me and I never found it, now I have to create it myself but I had no idea.
I learned the things of dropshipping, work and selling Amazon products and all the different stuff people were doing. I came across the coaching world online. That was the first time Facebook caught onto me and saw that I was trying to figure out how to start a business and all these business coaches. I had life coaches and all these different coaches. I was like, “I never realized how popular coaching is. That’s it. I want to be a travel coach.” I had already loved to share my travel tips and tricks, help people in their terms and empower them to travel on their own. I never googled travel coaching before I registered my business.
I wanted to focus on wellness and transformative travel because it’s exactly what travel is doing for me. It was healing and teaching me. I was learning in so many different ways. It transformed my life. I knew that could have that impact on others. When I became a wellness travel coach, I focused on the corporate world for business travel, in particular. I had more people reaching out online saying, “What’s a travel coach? That’s interesting. I never heard of it. I did not know it was a thing. I might want to do it. I might be doing this and don’t know what it’s called.” I started the Travel Coach Network at the same time as building my Wellness Travel coaching. It went from there.
Tell me the day of a travel coach? What is it? What does this feel and sound like? If I were to hire you or one of your students, what would they do for me?
As it’s grown in popularity, there are different definitions out there. There are some travel agents who call themselves travel coaches and they still plan to book trips. It depends on where you are getting the definition from. Under The Travel Coach Network in my world of travel coaching, it is a broad term for someone who specializes in an area of expertise of their own. For instance, in my Travel Coach Network, I have people who focus on travelers who have special dietary restrictions or certain allergies. I have ones that focused on empowering Black women to travel more and family travel. They work on anything that they are interested in or their clients need, like a life coach. There’s no one definition of a life coach. They all help people in different ways, depending on what their clients need and what they are interested in helping with.
Some of the things that people help with would be like the mindset, overcoming fears of traveling solo or breaking through the mindset that now they have a family and are not going to be able to travel and they wish they could. Maybe it’s women who went through a divorce and trying to have a whole new life again. The coach can relate to that and help them through travel. There are so many different things.
Look for something that resonates with you.
In particular, in my Wellness Travel coaching business, I specialize in business travel. I aim to change how travels use as a tool to improve mental, physical, emotional wellbeing among business travelers, people working in the workplace who need vacation days and how to value travel better in the workplace. Now that goes into remote work and everything.
Everyone does something different. There’s not one normal day for a coach. I don’t do one-on-one coaching as a travel coach myself. Many people think if you are a coach, you must work one-on-one or in groups but in my world of travel coaching and The Travel Coach Network, you can create a career out of anything you want as long as you have the clarity of focus of what you want to do. I say that because it’s what I have done for my business
What tips are you giving your travel coaches to enhance people’s experiences? In what I do with my courses, I use that enhancement as a tool, like the tricks there for the group, “How to enhance the program that you’re delivering with all your choice when you are creating a retreat?” I feel that’s what you are doing as well as enhancing an experience, whatever it may be for them through maybe some tools that you are giving. How would you approach this subject with them?
I hope my travel coaches identify what it is that they care most about and are interested in helping people with. When they work with their clients, it’s getting to know their clients on a deeper level. That’s a huge difference between a travel coach, travel agent or travel advisor in that industry is that it’s getting to get to the personal level of the clients so that when you can understand their motivating factors for travel or they are traveling triggers, why they want to go on the trip in the first place, beyond the fluff of, “I need to relax and get away. What is motivating you to travel?” We can understand that and you can work on the mindset, empowerment tools and whatever else it is that the coaches help with.
They can help them make better decisions on where to go. How long do they need to go forward? Is it someone, in particular, they need to go with or maybe it’s solo? All of those choices that are made on a trip are boiled down to, “Why are you going in the first place?” It not only helps with the planning of where to go but then it helps them decide what to do during the travel experience as well.
Setting intentions for the trip, “How do you want your life to look like when you return? How do you want to feel when you get back? What kind of changes or outcomes do you want in your life?” When we think of travel and many people can relate to this, we are not avid travelers, they can’t wait for their vacation because they are stressed in their work-life.
They have all this craziness in their home life, all this tension and stress, especially nowadays. They go on their vacation. They either stay connected to their phone, thinking about their home life or spend way too much money on their trip. Now they are worried about working overtime when they get back. It dampers not only that trip but then when they return, they are not implementing anything they experienced in their life into their home life. Now it’s the same process. They are waiting again for their next time to go on a vacation. It’s breaking down that mold and barriers and saying, “Use travel as a way to improve your life.” That’s the foundation of what the travel coaches are going to do versus just strictly the planning and booking process.
There are many things that you said that I agree with. That’s how I work and any business should work with, like getting to know your clients. Number one, it’s all about relationships. They will stay with you after everything is done, they will promote you on their own. This is what you want but even at a different level as well, when you’re going for an experience situation, you got to understand your clients to create that for them. I find so many people when they go on vacation, they need a vacation from their vacation because they go away, eat too much, drink too much, come back and they are like, “I’m exhausted.”
I am happy that you have created this type of space where people can use travel to enhance their life, switch it up a little bit and create more of a purposeful vacation to enhance their life and their experience. To mostly your students, how do they start up this business? How can they get people to notice them? Is there anything that you can suggest that would help them or something that allows them to showcase themselves and their services?
There are many things. Having a business, marketing and branding. There’s a lot more to it but there’s no one way to do it. What’s most important is doing the foundational work. This is something I teach, especially in my travel coach certification program to my members is that, “You have to build a solid foundation.” What I mean by that is you have to identify who are you speaking to?
If you know who your ideal audience and clients are, that helps with your messaging.
The Internet’s a big world. When it comes to travel and this is something I hear a lot, they are like, “I can help so many different people with my services.” In a strategic business manner, that does not work that way. You are going to be working to the grind to figure out how to gain traction when I’m not saying that you have to niche down but you now have to know who your ideal client is. Who are you speaking to?
That’s when you see businesses, not necessarily just in our space but any company, in general, does well when they can speak directly to their ideal client. If you can identify who it is you are speaking to. Maybe it’s women working in the corporate world who have been there for a certain amount of time and don’t value themselves as much as they value their job but they wish they were valued. Get to know who you are talking to so you can speak their language.
That’s a whole part of marketing. When someone comes across something, a video, they read something and they can see themselves in that they can relate, in their head they are like, “That’s me. I relate to that. I have experienced that. I feel that.” Get to that emotional level of who you are speaking to because it makes things so much easier. If you know who your ideal audience and clients are that helps with your messaging, that helps with knowing what platforms to show up on. Where do they pay attention to you? Where do they read? Where do they hang out? What are they looking for?
You are not spreading yourself across every platform like people think they need to be. If your audience is on TikTok, don’t be doing dances just because everyone else is doing that. You have to be strategic in your business and cut the fluff of what the industry out there online tells you you have to do because there’s no one way for everyone.
In order to start showing up is also being your authentic self and share your story, experiences and what you have learned. Don’t try to cut and paste what others are doing or talking about because they told you that it worked for them. Be yourself. That’s when you are going to start growing an authentic and loyal audience that is going to share word of mouth to others about you, buy everything you put out there, building that loyal client base that is going to help you succeed in your business. You don’t need millions of followers to do so.
People put a lot of weight on followers.
Mostly in the travel industry.
People don’t realize that a lot of those numbers sometimes are not even real. They are bots. They can be bought. They are not your niche. For example, I’ll throw out a number of 10,000 followers when only $1,000 of them are interested in what you do. The rest are just because you made a funny TikTok. They are not going to convert to buying your coaching or whatever it is that you are selling. I agree with everything that you are saying as well and that’s why we are in the business that we are. We are teaching others how to brand themselves, coach other people and all of that. What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you during one of your trips?
One of the silliest things that ever happened is that I oftentimes saw how I ran two businesses. Sometimes I mix up like noon and midnight flights. I have one time thought that my flight was at midnight when it was at noon. Luckily, I have never missed a flight but I almost did a couple of times like that. I don’t remember too many funny stories or crazy stories in particular but I know that many have happened to be in so many places.
I find traveling can make some interesting stories because somehow mishaps do happen. You are in the wrong situation at the wrong time or because of cultural differences, something interesting will happen to you because you are unaware of that culture whatever it is. What’s up next for you? Do you have any plans or goals that you are planning to achieve or something that’s coming out?
Building a loyal client base is going to help you succeed in your business.
The travel Coach Network seems to grow bigger. I’m gaining my focus more on that. My Wellness Travel coaching for the corporate world is growing as well because wellness and meaningful experiences have been catapulted to the forefront across all industries and companies. There’s a whole world of remote work, what’s beyond, what’s talked about now. I have been grateful and blessed that my businesses have done extremely well over the past couple of years during the pandemic and trying to figure out where I want to take them because many opportunities come along and find what’s right for me. Like any business, your initial vision is how it usually ends up.
You can’t foresee what’s going to happen because you can’t tell the future as time changes and the industry’s changes. I have had so much interest in my travel cultures from my corporate world. From hotels, cruise lines, tourism boards and stuff like that, seeing where I can connect the two, which I never thought was going to be possible or I never thought about it before until they are growing and vice versa. They are interested in being able to serve my corporate world themselves. Every day goes by with doing the best I can and letting time and the universe tell me where to take my businesses without trying to force things too much.
It’s been a delight having you on my show. I want to thank you for being here and giving us a little glimpse of what a travel coach is and does. I want to wish you a lot of success with everything that is going on now and in the near future. I know that you will break that glass ceiling many times over with your strive and ingenuity of how you think. Thanks for all that you have provided to us.
Thank you so much for having me. All of the same to you, your businesses and everything. It’s nice to be able to have this conversation with such a like-minded person.
- The Travel Coach Network
- Wellness Travel
- Instagram – The Travel Coach Network
- Linkedin.com/in/Sahara-Rose-De-Vore/ – Sahara Rose De Vore
- Facebook.com/SaharaRoseTheTravelCoach – Sahara Rose – The Travel Coach
About Sahara Rose De Vore
Sahara Rose De Vore is a Wellness Travel Coach and the founder of The Travel Coach Network. She spent a decade traveling the globe to over 84 countries by the age of 31. After believing that there was more to a travel career than blogging and bookings, Sahara became a pioneer in the travel coaching industry. She educates and empowers ambitious travel professionals to think outside of the industry’s box and build a travel business that aligns with their passion and expertise in travel. Sahara is the creator and owner of the world’s first and only ICF accredited certification program for travel coaches. She is also a published author, a global speaker, and has been seen in various media outlets including Forbes, Skift, Fodor’s Travel, USA Today and Business Insider, for her expertise.