top of page
Search

Oh, the Places You'll Go! w/ Sahara Rose De Vore

Updated: May 9, 2023





Karen Mangia

Today on Success from Anywhere, we'll meet the entrepreneur who's challenging the myth that you have to quit your job to see the world. Please welcome to the show, founder of the Travel Coach Network and author of the book, Hey, You: Just Go! 80 Countries by Age 30. A Guide to Designing Your Dream Lifestyle, Even if You're Broke, Scared, or Don't Have the Time, Sahara Rose DeVore. Welcome to the show, Sahara.


Sahara Rose DeVore

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to chat with you today.


Karen Mangia

Since we're talking about the world of work and challenging nine to five, I like to ask each guest in this season what was your first nine to five job? And how did that job influence your career trajectory?


Sahara Rose DeVore

In my teenage years, I worked various jobs. I guess the restaurant industry really doesn't qualify as nine to five, but it has the attributes of a nine to five as it has someone that dictates your schedule, and when you can take a vacation and when you can't. I used to live in Chicago when I was studying Hospitality and Tourism Management, working countless jobs in order to save enough money for post-graduation to be able to travel. And so I worked several nine to five jobs. I worked for some nonprofits, but the majority of my time was spent working in the restaurant industry. Even though it was a good experience and a fun experience that was probably the catalyst to me realizing that I wanted to be able to take control over my career path, my schedule, and my sense of quote, unquote, freedom.


Karen Mangia

Realizing so early that you wanted agency and influence over the hours and where and when you worked means you were a little ahead of your time. You were kind of a visionary. Most people aren't having that realization during their university years to the same degree.


Sahara Rose DeVore

Honestly, I don't know where it came from, but I am someone who always followed my gut. That really showed throughout my travels. Obviously, as a solo female traveler, I had to listen to my gut intuition, but I had that same feeling early on. As simple as it is, we only have one life. And we want to wake up being happy and excited to do what we do. Just living every day, we have to make tough decisions. I knew that when I was working these typical nine to five jobs, or in the restaurant industry, that there were days when if I was feeling a little under the weather, or if I just wasn't wanting to face being so social for the day, I wanted to make the choice that I could just stay home or not. I wanted to have flexibility in my schedule. If I wanted to take a course or take a vacation or travel somewhere, I didn't want someone limiting when or for how long I can go for. I wanted to make my own decisions and all of that. I was working various jobs, and the older I got, I realized that I was not going to settle for something just to have a job. I want to be able to make sure that I'm enjoying what I'm doing every day.


Karen Mangia

The word settling that you use there is symbolic of our times. This pandemic pause in big and small ways helped lots of people realize that what they're settling for no longer serves them. People are no longer willing to have this dream deferred of the big bunch of trips deferred to when you retire or are living your dream. What fascinates me about your career path is that you do a job called a certified transformational coach and a wellness travel coach. It's interesting because I've heard of a coach, a health coach, a career coach, a life coach—what is a wellness travel coach? And do we all need one? What do you do? What's a day in your life?


Sahara Rose DeVore

Let’s talk first about settling. We're seeing a lot of that now. The past few years during the pandemic and as we come out of it, allowed people to reevaluate what matters most of them. We're seeing more self-care, family, and personal time being prioritized. And we're seeing that within the great resignation. People haven’t gone back into their traditional nine to five or corporate world that they were pretty much glued to pre-pandemic. It just shows that as the industries, technology, and social media grow, there's more opportunities than ever before for people to create their own business or work online and to make more money. That makes them happy with that sense of flexibility and sense of freedom, more than they ever thought was possible.


Travel coaching in general is a very broad term. There's a wide range of travel coaches who focus on many different areas of expertise. As a wellness travel coach, I knew that travel is healing for all of us in such a diverse way. It means something different for us. Every time that we plan a trip or want to go on a trip or just the yearning for travel is a route of some sort of wellness; we're needing an emotional wellness boost, a mental wellness boost, maybe a physical wellness boost. Socially, we crave the human connection that we create. We crave discovery, self exploration. This all falls under the category and the umbrella of wellness. And that's what I do as a wellness travel coach because the wellness travel industry tourism industry is built upon the spa industry.


If you were to Google wellness, travel or wellness, travel vacation, you'll see a lot of wellness centers, yoga retreats, five star hotels with luxury spas, great fitness centers, and everything else under those categories. But wellness — our travel is wellness and wellness is travel. We're seeing a lot more types of experience and types of wellness. In a travel experience there is a lot of transformation, a lot of self healing, a lot of multigenerational healing as well.


When I was interested in becoming a travel coach and started my business, I wanted to focus on wellness. I took a look at how travel was benefiting me, I've always been someone who struggled with pretty bad anxiety. I have had bouts of depression. Coming out of university at 22 years old, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted out of life, who I wanted to be or what kind of life I wanted, as many young 22 year olds don't know. I didn't realize just how beneficial travel would be for me until I booked that one way ticket to Europe and started my backpacking journey that wound up being over a decade of traveling solo. I got to learn and hear about why others turn to travel. I heard the stories of how to heal from a divorce, to heal from or to cope with the loss of a loved one or a child or a pet, to build connections with a partner or their spouse, to find themselves again in this new journey of life, whatever it might be. All of that is under the umbrella of wellness. I always found it interesting that the wellness tourism industry was very structured in its wellness experiences. If we take a look at travelers themselves, why they really travel all has to do with the roots of wellness. So, I educate and work with companies and platforms to diversify wellness travel experiences.




Karen Mangia

Let's talk more about this as someone listening might confuse what you're doing with being a travel agent and yet, as I understand it, you don't necessarily plan itineraries or bookings. So what would a travel coaching session with you look like? What are some of these activities? Give us an example. Maybe you coach me right here on the show. Briefly. How would it work?


Sahara Rose DeVore

One thing about travel coaching is that the travel industry likes to break barriers of definitions. Coaching doesn't also have to be one on one or group coaching. I myself don't personally work one on one. What I do is on a grander scale. I develop programs, training, and education sessions for anyone in charge of the travelers — HR, travel managers, managers, the business travelers themselves — for company education resources. I do a different approach to travel coaching or traditional coaching, but there are many travel coaches who do work one on one with people. I always wanted to make a bigger difference or make a bigger impact in a bigger way. That's why I chose to work with companies themselves.


Karen Mangia

Employers are more focused than ever on employee wellness. They're trying to get creative about the benefits that you can offer. And for those listening, this isn't just the idea of a university student who went backpacking and just wants to keep traveling. Your program is legitimately certified and part of the International Coaching Federation. It makes it possible for you to do work with employers and organizations. So tell us more about some of the programs you do for employers to benefit their employees. What do some of those examples look like?


Sahara Rose DeVore

The ICF, the International Coach Federation accredited program is for travel coaches themselves. What I do is I create programs for company HR travel managers. What those look like is having them take a look at their travel policies or their vacation perks and incentives for their employees. What do their corporate wellness programs look like? Do they embody anything centered around travel? When I talk about travel, it's not necessarily just the vacation part of it. There's many aspects and elements of travel that I talk about.


Of course, when it comes to the vacation aspect, there's the traditional vacation. How are you supporting your employees on using their vacation days? How are you encouraging them? What kind of support do they have on the planning process? Is there anything that you supply them with? Or what kind of tools do you have for them? Let's face it, we're not all avid travelers; we don't all travel to 84 countries. Travel can be overwhelming and intimidating. The thought could be that it's too expensive. So, companies have to prioritize providing the right support.


There's a study that the US Travel Association did back in 2016, or 17, called Project Time Off. It's a really great resource. What they're talking partly about is why people, especially in the US, are not using their vacation days or are using them appropriately — meaning not just staying home and not coming to work. Some of the things that the employees reported was that they didn't feel like their managers wanted them to take their vacations. They didn't feel that they'd even know how many days they could take off. They didn't know how many days rolled over from last year. They didn't have the support to talk about their vacation. They thought that they would be out of the running for a promotion or that their job would be compromised if they did take their vacation. When I think about that, it really does make me laugh and blows my mind because we all need time to ourselves sometimes and travel is such a healing aspect in our lives.


So, there is support centered around vacation policies, but there are other things like sabbaticals. We're hearing more about remote work, what kind of opportunities and flexibility are there for employees. Volunteering abroad is quite common as well as traveling with their family. What kind of support do families get for travel vacations, or single single moms or even the corporate leaders who may not take advantage of using their vacation. There's just a lot of research out there that talks about the mental, physical and overall wellness benefits of travel for those who work in the workplace. The idea that the information is not really being implemented or amplified is a disservice to the corporate world.


Karen Mangia

You highlighted a couple of important steps for employers if we're focused on making sure our employees are living well and working well. Part of that is making sure they're taking time to refresh. You were talking about statistics. A recent study from Qualtrics said only about 27% of US employees used all of their allotted paid time off in 2021. So, the struggle is real. How do we change the conversation in the workplace? And normalize this behavior of truly unplugging and taking a pause? What's that going to take from your point of view?


Sahara Rose DeVore

I think that employees really need to speak up. It really is an employee's world right now. Hence, the balls in the court of the employers who are looking to have people come into the office to fill up positions in the workplace, and they're struggling. Therefore, the employees need to speak up and tell the employers what they're looking for, what they need to thrive, what they need to be well. It isn't always just another app or another yoga session or instructor that is put into the workplace for you after hours. It's not just a revamped gym. They might need for the employees to speak up, but also the employers need to ask and don't assume because wellness means something different for everyone.


Company culture is a very hot topic right now. People are concerned with boosting company culture not only among remote workers or remote teams scattered around the globe, but also to promote and build DEI and diversity in the workplace. Two common factors among diversity and remote work that fall under the umbrella of company culture are travel and people wanting to be flexible in their work schedule, or where they can work from. When it comes to diversity — in traveling the globe, a huge part of travel is understanding, accepting and learning about a wide range of cultures, belief systems, backgrounds, traditions, and more. So why not embrace the concept of travel in the workplace in a wide range of ways and really help boost your company culture.


People really do want to talk about their vacations; they want to talk about their personal traditions from the country their family is from. They want to share their experiences. If you think about it, anytime that we have met someone, could be a friend we're talking to, it could be a stranger, and talk about travel, it is a bonding conversation that really speaks volumes. Companies are really just missing out on this because they think that travel must mean we're spending dollars to let people travel and they're not going to do their work. That's really not the concept of anything. If it's done correctly, it can have the reverse effect and really boost the entire company.


Karen Mangia

I hadn't thought about travel as a strategy companies could use when you're thinking about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. I call to mind some of my own experiences. I certainly haven't been to the same number of countries you have, but I spent a period of time living in Peru, South America and what I learned from that immersive experience was invaluable.


Prior to the pandemic, at Salesforce, we offered these touring options of being able to go places and do everything from help to study and clean up water in the Galapagos Islands to elephant habitats. Travel as a common denominator and a common language fascinates me because it does remind us that we have more in common than what we have as differences.


When you and I met for our Authority magazine interview, you made what I thought was a bold prediction that travel will become a key element in every corporate wellness program. And my question to you is, how do you coach companies to get started? Somebody is listening and thinking that this sounds great, but it's expensive. We have other priorities. What are some small steps that every employer could take to start looking in this direction of travel as a wellness benefit or travel as inherent to your diversity, equity, and inclusion status strategy?


Sahara Rose DeVore

That's a really great question. When it's too expensive, or we have other things that are priority, employers should recognize that wellness is a top priority. If you don't have employees who know that you care about their wellbeing, these employees will not be in your workplace. If you're not caring about the wellbeing of your employees, they're not going to be productive and creative and as efficient as you would like them to be. Everyone should be prioritizing wellbeing. The whole culture of the workplace and people ourselves is completely shifting and travel is a common denominator in all of that, too.


One of the couple of first steps would be to have someone in charge of that. That's what I am for. That's what I do. I am an expert in it. Everyone is wearing multiple hats in companies these days. As they try to get people back to the workplace, they are trying to reorganize what their company structure looks like moving forward and trying to make up for the last couple of years.

I'm someone who thinks in the future. Of course, you can just think about what you're doing right now — what does it look like long term? It's those companies that are thinking long term when it comes to the wellbeing and the needs of employees are going to be the ones who are thriving in the future because we're not going back in time. Technology, social media, and the internet are only going to get more advanced, meaning there's going to be more opportunities than ever before for people not to have to go into the workplace. We're already seeing that.


Where do you think the future is going to lead? It's a reshaping of the mindset. What I do starts with educating companies on exactly this. Why is it beneficial? Think outside of the box of your traditional way of thinking about vacation policies and traveling in the workplace. There's so many layers to it. You didn't think about it as an attribute or even company culture. But it really is.


The first few steps are having someone in charge of it — someone who's going to give it the attention that it needs — and also to start with education. And the third one would be taking a look at what you do offer already and taking a look at whether we can amplify that or revise it as well.


Karen Mangia

When I think about what's happening with the great resignation— so many companies are struggling to attract and retain top talent — I think about the role a new travel strategy might play in helping either attract talent, retain talent, or have people who are more excited and refreshed and energized about the experiences they're having as employees now. I'm guessing you have some kind of success story or use case or statistic in this area that you might be able to share with us.


Sahara Rose DeVore

Take a look at just people these days, the generations. I'm a millennial. Before the pandemic, in the 10 years I was traveling pre-pandemic, the idea of a digital nomad or freedom based, quote, unquote, freedom based lifestyle — flexibility and freedom tends to have been used as label for the millennials — free spirited, careless millennials who are just hopping around the globe, and then waiting to settle down at some point in their life. And we're seeing that's not the label that is just on one generation. If we take a look at the generations coming after the millennials, those younger than me, they don't have to go into a nine to five job. They're making more money online than a lot of people in the workplace. Taking a look at how the culture has already changed is going to be a big example of changing the mindset moving forward when it comes to providing what people are looking for.


And it doesn't have to be that difficult. Not everyone is an entrepreneur, not everyone wants to start their own business. There's going to be people who want to work for companies, who want to go into the workplace. Flexibility and traveling around the globe is not for everybody. It's not desired by everyone either. That's why it's up to companies to figure out what can we offer and how we can treat and satisfy employees based on what it is they need to really be well, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and all and their desire to have that fulfillment, that time with family, that flexibility that all desire to some degree.


Karen Mangia

What you're saying is important. The pandemic surfaced myths and misconceptions that we've all held for a long time about when work happens and where work should— I'll use that word loosely— happen. The reality is working from anywhere is possible as the technology and tools exist. Now it's us challenging our belief system that says, does it really have to be nine to five? Lots of people listening might be thinking, if you don't have structured work hours, how do you get things done? And I'll pose this to you, because you're the expert, you have worked from all over the world. You have a business. How do you think about making sure you get to do what you need to do for your work? And what do you need to do for your life? I guess, what are your best hacks for successfully working outside of the confines of nine to five?


Sahara Rose DeVore

That's a really great question because it's something that I'm sure has crossed a lot of people's minds, especially those who are new to remote work or the option to work remotely. It's not easy, first of all; there are some things that I do to be able to stay productive.


I've been building my businesses for the past four years without a blink, or hesitation in anything. The number one thing that you have to be passionate about is what you're doing. I know ‘passion’. Working with a passion or building a business from a passion is kind of a woo-woo concept, but you really have to be interested and excited about what you're doing and what you're working on because then it's no longer a job and it's something that you enjoy doing. When it comes to working for a company, you may not be just as passionate as the CEO or the founder of the company are, but people are looking for companies that value them because when you feel appreciated and you feel valued, you feel understood, you feel cared for — you're going to do the work and put in the work and effort for that person who's making you feel that way or that company that’s making you feel that way.


That has been such a big problem: people in the workforce with the roaring burnout epidemic that was happening in the workplace pre-pandemic. Many studies were talking about how people didn't feel appreciated, they didn't feel acknowledged, didn't feel valued. They didn't feel like their company understood or cared that they had a life outside of the workplace, that they had family and health problems and personal dreams and goals. They also didn't feel fulfilled in some way. So choosing a company that you can work for, that really values you and your work and your time and effort can replace that passion from the entrepreneur side.


When it comes to your daily schedule, I have to be very structured in what I do. Of course, not everyone runs their own business, but in running your own business there are a wide range of tasks to do every single day and an amount of work. And you have to make it manageable and digestible for yourself. So, I have to be very structured in my to-do list for the day, then integrate parts of the day that are for me. I make sure that I get time outside in the sun. When I was traveling around the world with my laptop, I closed it at a certain time of the day, or I went to the local market and got some food. I made sure that I was breaking up my day in a way that fulfilled me.

But everyone has to ask themselves, how do I thrive in the most productive way with my schedule? Because not everyone can sit there on a computer for as long as maybe I could. But it takes some self reflection and asking yourself questions you may not had to in the past when you were working a typical nine to five office job where someone else dictated your schedule and your time for you.


Karen Mangia

It's almost what routines, rituals and boundaries help you show up at your best.


Karen Mangia

Exactly. We were talking about travel, we're talking about human connection, which is a fun aspect of travel — the people you meet. I want to have a little bit of a spontaneous travel experience, a spontaneous let's call it water cooler experience and ask you five fun questions for our audience to get to know you a little bit better. So, you're ready to change channels and just imagine we've bumped into each other in a random bistro somewhere in the world in our travels. Are you ready? Okay, yes. What time of day do you do your best work?


Sahara Rose DeVore

Early in the morning. I'm an in the morning person,


Karen Mangia

Up for the sunrise. Okay, if there were no dress code for work, how would you dress for work?


Sahara Rose DeVore

There are two answers. When I was traveling it would be in some beachwear because I was always running to the beach in between my calls or work because I'm a beach bum. And then my second answer is that I'm back home in my hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin and there's not really a beach near me. So therefore, it's my pajamas.


Karen Mangia

Comfortable, I'm hearing that as the key thing. What's the part of your daily routine that you most look forward to every day?


Sahara Rose DeVore

Work wise or personally? What do I look most for to you? Honestly, I love everything I do in my business, so I look forward to all of it. I really like when I get to tune in with members of my travel coach network and help them as much as I can. The other part of the day is a more personal side that I really look forward to, honestly, is dinner time because then I sit down with my meal in front of some reality TV and watch that with my fiance and my dog.


Karen Mangia

Guilty pleasures, I love it. If you could have any job in the world, what would you do?



Sahara Rose DeVore

Honestly, I'd be doing what I'm doing now.


Karen Mangia

That's awesome. You are literally living your dream. And now imagine that there are 25 hours in every single day. What are you going to do with your extra hour?


Sahara Rose DeVore

What would I do with that extra hour? I would just spend more time outside with my dog. I feel guilty sometimes because I work indoors and we don't have a yard yet for my dog and she loves to be outside. So, I would spend more time with her out there.


Karen Mangia

Fantastic. But before we conclude, how can our listeners connect with you? And how can they find a travel coach for their organization or personally if they're looking for one?


Sahara Rose DeVore

Find us @thetravelcoach network.com or on Facebook and Instagram thetravelcoachnetwork.com. I am also at sahararosetravels.com with my wellness and travel coaching.


Karen Mangia

Thank you so much. What I took away from our conversation today is that travel is a benefit that every employer and employee can revisit that leads to greater wellness, wellbeing, higher performance and higher loyalty. Start by creating some accountability. Make sure there's clarity about your PTO policy and then get creative about what's possible to reimagine everything from sabbaticals to volunteering to time away. Thank you to Sahara Rose DeVore, founder of the Travel Coach Network for taking us around the world in less than 80 days and for sharing strategies to blend our daydreams with our day jobs today on Success from Anywhere, because success is not a destination or a location. Success is available to anyone, anywhere, anytime.



Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page