Finding Travel Bliss with Traci Buckley
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Traci Buckley is a passionate traveler and logistical expert who serves women throughout the world who love to travel. In this episode, Caterina and Traci discuss how travel can benefit women entrepreneurs not only with personal development but also with their businesses. Whether you are thinking of traveling on your own or maybe you are ready to host a destination retreat for your clients, this episode will help you take the steps to get out and bliss with travel!
With over 30 years of experience managing logistics for corporate events all around the world (for groups of 5 to 5,000!), coordination, planning, and research are my jam. I simply love creating unique experiences and getting the details right. When it comes to your vacation or retreat, I can handle all the nitty-gritty, from booking flights to crafting your daily itineraries, ensuring safety every step of the way, so you have time to relax and find those magical moments! – Traci
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Expand Your Fempire Podcast #69 Transcript
Finding Travel Bliss with Traci Buckley
Welcome to Expand your Fempire with Caterina Rando, the podcast for women in business on a mission. Sharing ideas to support you to grow and thrive. Now here’s your host, Caterina Rando.
[00:00:00] Caterina Rando: Welcome to the Expand Your Fempire Podcast. I’m your host Caterina Rando and I am blissing to be with you today. Truthfully, I’m blissing more than usual because our guest today is Traci Buckley. Traci Buckley is the founder of Live Your Bliss Travel. You may or may not know that Traci is not only my very good BFF, she is also my travel partner. She partners with me to make our retreats amazing for our thriving women in business. She is also an inspiring entrepreneur and I am so excited to have her as our guest today. Traci, welcome welcome!
[00:01:20] Traci Buckley: Oh, thank you so much, Caterina. I’m so excited to be here with you and your ladies and everyone listening.
[00:01:26] Caterina Rando: Traci, you have been an entrepreneur for quite a while. You also have a background in training and sales. Say a little bit about how you got from amazing, bubbly, young gal to CEO of your own Fempire.
[00:01:44] Traci Buckley: Well, it’s kind of a long story, so we’ll keep it kind of short. So basically I really feel like in work and business, I’ve always had just a real natural grace. So my entrepreneur journey actually started over 30 years ago. I worked independently just so it could be flexible to work with my children, and I worked in the professional beauty industry.
[00:02:05] But during that time, I actually fell into my passion: I specialized in hair color. And I know that sounds crazy, but it was the eighties. And so it wasn’t something people did. And I just happened to always be at the right place at the right time. And I ended up working corporately for a very large hair color manufacturer. And then I kind of climbed the ranks and I ended up doing all the shows and events nationally, as well as some international events.
[00:02:30] And I mean, we’re talking lights, show, action, video, choreography, dancers, hair, makeup models, lots of moving parts. And I just really enjoyed the passion of bringing that vision alive.
[00:02:43] And so one day, the big part of my story is I woke up one day and I didn’t know where I was. So 21 days, 15 cities, 17 events. I was just like, I can’t do it anymore. Where the heck am I?
[00:02:58] And I just decided I needed to really like look at where I was in my life, what I wanted to do. And I was offered an opportunity to take a buyout or relocate, and I chose to take a buyout and kind of create my own life and my own vision. And I was looking for something that I had a strong skillset in, but that could also be fun because I just think if it’s not fun, why bother?
[00:03:21] If you’re going to build your dream, it needs to be something that just excites you and delights you, as well as there needs to be a need.
[00:03:30] So, what happened for me is I began my travel business. I started my business Live Your Bliss Travel because that’s what I wanted to do. And along the way in the events that I was supporting with different leaders prior to working with you, Caterina, some of the groups, the women would just come up to me and say “I really want to travel, but I don’t have anyone to go with. My husband hates to travel. I don’t have any friends that can go. I don’t feel safe, but I don’t want to be in a group, but I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do that.”
[00:03:57] You know, it was just like all this fear for women that were these strong, powerful entrepreneurial women. And, you know, that’s the vulnerability of all of us who are powerful women in the world. There are still things that maybe aren’t aligned or ready for us, and we need support.
[00:04:13] Caterina Rando: Absolutely. Traci you know I’m excited about traveling with you for one of your upcoming getaways. We travel so well together. One of the things I’ll say, because I’m a single gal. I don’t have a spouse these days. And yeah, when you’re a single woman, you want to travel the world. Hey, you’ve got the freedom, right, to travel the world. You don’t need anybody’s permission, but you need perhaps or would like, some people to travel with.
[00:04:41] How did you get started with your women’s getaways? Is it because of what you just said about the fear?
[00:04:48] Traci Buckley: It was an ongoing message and finally I just, you know, I leaned into it. I heard the call. So I paired back with how many retreat leaders I’m working with. And I still do work with retreat leaders. I love working with Caterina. So for those of you that know Caterina, it’s a high bar. So it has to be someone of equal value in the world, which is hard to find. I’m not just saying that. But working with Caterina and the work that you do and the women in your community, that really excites and delights me. And so those are the retreat leaders that I work with.
[00:05:21] But I wanted to create a little bit more fun and more flexibility with this travel group. So I started a meetup group locally, and it’s been growing and growing and it’s called Bliss Adventures for Women. So we are headed out in September of 2022 and beyond.
[00:05:37] Caterina Rando: Traci, that’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to the next adventure with you. I want to pause here because people may think “well, yeah, I want to do a retreat, but what do I need a travel partner for it?” And especially, Traci, because you know, we do some of our retreats on cruise ships and people might think “Hey, I just booked the cruise. What’s the big deal?”
[00:05:58] Let me be very clear. As a retreat leader –and Traci said that we have a high bar around here, and I would say that’s absolutely true because we want to treat all of our clients VIP. We want them to have an amazing experience. And of course, part of that is because we want them to keep coming back.
[00:06:17] My job as the retreat leader is to design and implement an amazing retreat. My travel partner, Traci, her job is to do everything to do with the travel, do everything with booking the venue and making sure the equipment’s there and making sure the printing is there, making sure everything that is after the design, all the implementation happens with ease.
[00:06:45] And probably the biggest part of Traci’s support is supporting me to take care of all the ladies when they’re on the ship. Because there are challenges that come up for them. You need someone who is an expert and experienced at working with whatever venue you’re working with so that you, as the retreat leader can keep your attention on delivering your amazing retreat. Traci, is that what you would say? Why someone wants to have a travel partner like you, or what are your thoughts?
[00:07:21] Traci Buckley: Well, absolutely. Caterina. It’s so important. You know, just this week I was speaking to a new retreat leader. So this is someone who is on the verge of hosting their first retreat. And really there’s so many things that you don’t know you don’t know.
[00:07:35] Your job is really your mission, your passion, your voice, and what you want to create for your group in the room. And my job, my support, is everything around that so that it’s easy, profitable, and fun. And literally, you show up and shine and I’m working behind the scenes, you know, first, in the room, last out at night, and everything in between.
[00:07:59] And also too, I feel that I work diligently to provide five-star service for everyone from pre-event, during the event, and after the event. If there are questions, if there are challenges, if there are special needs, I want to make sure that that’s not something that makes them nervous to attend the retreat in any way. And so that they really can just like be in that moment and feel safe and supported.
[00:08:23] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful Traci. Traci, I want to jump back to the whole focus of travel for women. Because, you know, I came back recently from a nice trip to Italy. I had a great time. The world has opened back up again. You can see the world again. You can travel again.
[00:08:46] So many women have said to me over the years, “I would love to go on one of your retreats.” Or, I know Traci like you said, so many women have said they’d “love to travel, but…” How do we get more women out there traveling?
[00:09:02] Traci Buckley: That’s a great question Caterina, and I have to tell you, I have this meetup group locally, and my experience has really been that there is an energy of a group. So when you connect people with other people that are looking to travel, it makes them feel safe.
[00:09:19] And really that’s what it’s all about right now. Like we want to make sure that we understand what we need to do. I mean, and this is going to go above and beyond for the rest of our lives. There’s always going to be entry requirements. There’s going to be specific things based on the country, based on the type of travel that you’re doing.
[00:09:36] So you want to have that travel advocate. You want to have an advisor and an advocate that is an expert in all things that are happening right now for you. And getting women to travel, it’s really just about creating that space, that space, and that opportunity, and letting them know “Hey, you know if you come with me on this retreat, this is what you can expect. 100% care. Don’t worry. We got ya.
[00:10:04] Caterina Rando: Well, the thing is when you have somebody taking good care of you, it allows you to actually relax and enjoy yourself. Part of the reason I like the cruises is because so much is handled. When you’re on the ground traveling around, there’s a lot of stuff to handle, and that’s another reason to be on a getaway with Traci and her gals.
[00:10:27] You have embraced meetups to grow your business. And I would like you to share a little bit about what you do and what you would recommend for our listeners to do, if they’re thinking about embracing meetups to grow their business.
[00:10:44] Traci Buckley: So someone I was working with in the past that was a coach in our business several years ago, when I first began to kind of pivot into my Bliss Adventures for Women, she advised me to meet locally, to do a meetup group. And I had never done a meetup group before. But I’m blessed, I have a large group of friends. And not everyone is.
[00:11:04] And so I started this meetup group to let people know that they could come with us on our women’s travel group, and that it would be safe. And there were some people that had friends they wanted to go with and there were other people that did not. And so I wanted them to, like, gather and connect and see “Hey, you know, would you like to be my roommate? How would that work?” Right?
[00:11:22] So, what I have found is, I know in my heart that this was the right choice for me. Every meetup that I have, I have a few new ladies and every time they come and I don’t mean to be emotional, but it’s like, they send me these messages after the meetup talking about like “Thank you so much for creating this space. Thank you so much. You know, this is exactly what we need right now. We need positive women. We need to have fun.”
[00:11:52] And so sorry, but it’s just, it’s just been amazing. It kinda just goes back to that whole “if you build it, they will come”, right? And every week more ladies are coming and people are starting to come out. Right now we have a smaller, maximum capacity wherever you’re going and that’s okay. But I’ve started attending other ladies’ meetups to support them and share our mission.
[00:12:15] And I have quite a few other meetups that are like “Hey, can you come over to our meet up and talk about that? Cause we want to travel.” And I’m like, “no problem.” So now all of a sudden, where I started a meetup to kind of build my business, I now feel like my meetup is really creating a movement.
[00:12:30] Caterina Rando: That’s beautiful. The reason why I want women to embrace travel, Traci, two reasons. One having lived in another country and having traveled to a lot of countries, it definitely grows you as a person. That’s the first thing. Also, it changes your perspective.
[00:12:49] The other thing though, is that you have this reliability on yourself when you travel, even when you are traveling with a group that I think is very good for women entrepreneurs.
[00:13:02] The other thing is that I really want to encourage people to embrace travel as part of their business.
[00:13:09] Now, you know, I love to do retreats. Also though whatever your business is, you don’t even have to call it a retreat. You can do an accelerator. You can do an event. You can do a spa weekend. You can do a mastermind getaway.
[00:13:25] When people get out of their normal environment and they go somewhere and they do something together, that can be very transformational for you and your business and your clients.
[00:13:40] And this is why you might think, “Hey, I don’t want to do a big retreat.” Well, why don’t you invite some of your clients to join you at a destination for a weekend and support them around whatever you support your clients around? And you will find that that will cultivate relationships deeper and long-term and lifelong clients. Traci any thoughts about this?
[00:14:02] Traci Buckley: I would absolutely agree. So it’s twofold. Why should women travel? Women, the experience of travel is so empowering. It really truly is.
[00:14:14] And, as you spoke to, if you are in a retreat setting or you’re in an adventure setting or whatever it is, you will have transformational experiences around all types of core wounds. And I don’t want to get all woo-woo on people, but it’s like, if you’re not feeling worthy, sometimes that fear can be overwhelming. Like “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”
[00:14:33] And you know, just as one example here, I have a retreat leader who’s hosting a retreat in Costa Rica in 2022. And we went on a site inspection in Costa Rica and it was in the jungle and it was hiking and I hiked 47 miles in the jungle in six days. And let me just tell you ladies, I’m still on my health journey, so I am working out even more now. But, although I was sore and although I was tired, I did it and I felt so powerful. These are the types of things that help you to grow to the next level in your own personal development, as well as in your business.
[00:15:11] Caterina Rando: Thank you, Traci. Yes, absolutely. And every destination will bring its own rewards, its own experiences, its own lessons, its own empowering adventures.
[00:15:24] When I was in Italy not too long ago, Traci, one of the things that I found so empowering, totally opposite of your experience, was talking in Italian with a couple of Italian teachers and just ” blah-blah-blah -ing” with them for three hours and feeling by the end of it, feeling so much more confident about my Italian language skills. And maybe someday I’ll give a speech in Italian. Maybe that will be my dream. There’s all kinds of adventures and culinary adventures. And, oh my gosh. Don’t even get started with the wine and the Prosecco adventure.
[00:16:01] Traci Buckley: Oh jeez, yes. One of my favorite memories: I’ve been blessed to go to Italy about five times and we’re doing a Mediterranean cruise in 2022. So happy you’re going Cat. But, um, when I talked to the group about that trip, I’m like “Listen, you don’t have to race around all day, every day to have a beautiful day in Italy.”
[00:16:20] Honestly, one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever had on my trips is sitting in the Piazza, outside the Museum of the David with all of the different sculptures around, having espresso, and just watching people. And it was, I can like close my eyes and just have that moment. It was so amazing. So yeah, you can have small adventures.
[00:16:43] But I think for retreat leaders, they also have to think about the fact –and I know you do, and we always work together but– when you’re doing a retreat, you need to have activities because there are people that are very kinesthetic learners. And so if you do activities that link to the content that you’re trying to create with your group, those things sink even deeper and it makes it a really easy yes for your next program and for their next steps. And, you know, we’re not talking about sales necessarily, but there is a very high sales ratio when you are in a retreat cruise or land-based event.
[00:17:18] Caterina Rando: Yes, my friend, I think you said to me once that the average close ratio after a retreat was 60%.
[00:17:25] Traci Buckley: When we did our Retreats at Seas, yes.
[00:17:28] Caterina Rando: Well, our average close-ratio, I remember we did for our Mexican Breakthrough Luxury Retreat that we did, we had an 80% close ratio when we got off the ship, or maybe it was even higher than that. Anyway, retreats are great for having people keep coming back.
[00:17:44] Traci, let’s talk a little bit more about the entrepreneurial journey because you and I have been friends for several years now, and we have been friends all through this pandemic situation. One of the things, and you know you inspire me, is that you, like myself and many women around here, we did not say, “oh, let me see how it goes.” We went all-in with our business, even during these challenging times.
[00:18:19] And what would you say is the quality that you have embraced that you feel has supported you to be successful and will support you moving forward that we want to shine the spotlight for our listeners?
[00:18:36] Traci Buckley: Well, I think that one of my greatest gifts with regards to my business is that I’m a really good listener. Because I think people will tell you what’s really important in any type of travel or retreat. And then I make sure that those key things are included in our adventure, in the retreat, in whatever personal experience they’re trying to have. Because you can go on an adventure and sometimes you don’t even sit with that information and think about ” what’s the one thing I really want to do while I’m on this trip?” And I always invite people, I ask good questions, and I’m a really good listener.
[00:19:13] So I think that that’s super important because right now some people need to really talk about how they feel with regards to travel. You know, there’s people that are so hopeful and want to get out there, but there’s lots of questions happening right now. So I actually resource from my world travel holdings, which is my company flagship. They’re the largest travel conglomerate in the world. And so I get up-to-date information every single day about possibilities and the best places to go and all those different procedures. And I think that me being aware is key, as well as I believe that we’re coming out on the other side of this and that travel’s going to be better than ever. So that’s where I’m at.
[00:19:54] Caterina Rando: Traci, thank you. Okay so, that, listening, and I love that you’re staying current with everything that’s going on in your industry. Awesome. I want to ask, I’m looking for a little bit more introspective answer. My friend, what about you? What is it about you that you think has you be successful?
[00:20:16] Traci Buckley: I think I never give up. I think I have just this unstoppable desire for success and that even when things get rough, quitting is not an option. So I look at pivot after pivot after pivot. One of my old mentors told me that flexibility was my key point because if I can’t go through it, I’ll go around it. I’ll go over it. I’ll find a way. And I’m very determined.
[00:20:49] Caterina Rando: There you go, my friend. There it is. Your determination is inspiring.
[00:20:56] I am blissing to hear you share this because I feel that determination is what separates the women from the girls in terms of staying in business, building business. We all have disappointments. And of course, the pandemic has been a big disappointment in many ways for our businesses.
[00:21:18] And what you have done, what I have seen so many ladies in our community do, is take that disappointment and turn it into determination.
[00:21:28] As you know, my friend, we had a few retreats cancel during the pandemic that we already had a lot of ladies signed up for. If you focus on what does not work or what’s disappointing in your business, you will be out of business in five minutes. When you take that disappointment and you turn it into determination, bing bing bing, not only will you still be in business, but like Traci and myself you will be blissing in business.
[00:21:59] Traci Buckley: And thriving! Thriving women in business!
[00:22:05] Caterina Rando: Traci, let’s take a minute, let’s tell the ladies how to connect with you. And I know you have your Ultimate Bliss Travel Checklist for them too. Give them the report.
[00:22:17] Traci Buckley: So how to get in touch with me, I have an amazing website, liveyourblisstravel.com, and if you’d like to get the Ultimate Travel Bliss Checklist, that’s going to give you some safety tips as well as an actual checklist with the items that I have developed over the years. Some things you’ll see and you’ll be like “oh yes,” and others you’ll be like “I never thought about that.” Right?
[00:22:37] There’s a couple of ways that you can schedule to speak to me. You can email me, you can text me, or you can set up a time on my calendar. And it’s just a 15-minute consultation.
[00:22:46] And one of my favorite things I say though is, you know, my mom always said that “someday is not a day in the week”. So, you know what, it’s time ladies. It’s time to decide where you want to go. It’s time to decide if you want to host a retreat. And maybe some of you aren’t ready to do it right this minute. But I feel like the more that I share and the more that I connect with women leaders, I’m more than open to give you like “okay, here’s where you’re at. This is next steps. Let me support you in any way that I can. I’m always here for you.”
[00:23:16] Caterina Rando: Beautiful. And one of the things I will say that I have seen with the women in our community is if you want to do a retreat, what’s going to serve you is to come on a retreat. Because what that tends to do is create a lot of momentum for you to get serious and in-action on your own retreat.
[00:23:36] Traci, let me share with the world that I am so grateful to have you as my travel partner to support me and our Thriving Women in Business participants on all our retreats. I look forward to many more retreats together.
[00:23:54] I want to tell you, I don’t know if I’ve said this to you, my friend. When I was on my trip to Italy, there was this lady. She was 74 years old and she was leading this group of Swedish tourists. We met her at this women-owned winery that we went to for, of course, a wine and Prosecco tasting.
[00:24:14] And she had so much vitality. She was smiling. She was running all around the winery. She was having a great time. And the owner of the winery told me that she doesn’t even have a home. She was just in India for six months with groups, she’s all over.
[00:24:31] And I sat back in my chair with my Prosecco in hand, and I thought to myself “when I’m 75 years old, will I still want to be running around the world, running and hosting retreats with amazing women?” And the answer was absolutely. So I’m saying that to you because you’ve got a date with me for the next many years to support women, to enjoy travel adventures around the world. Traci, any final words for our listeners before we wrap up our time together today?
[00:25:10] Traci Buckley: I would just like to say thank you so much for having me here today Caterina. You are such a constant source of inspiration and I am blessed over and over again to work with you and your retreats. And I just would say to ladies that if for any reason you’re concerned or you want to travel and you don’t know what you should do, or if you should do it, reach out. I’m here. Anytime. And I wish you all the best and many adventures to come in the future.
[00:25:37] Caterina Rando: Bing bing bing my friends. This is Caterina Rando reminding you: you have massive value to bring. There is a lifetime supply of people to serve. I want to invite you to be loud and proud about your massive value, to turn up your determination, so you can sell more, serve more, and more important than anything, uplift more lives with your amazing self and your amazing fempire.
[00:26:08] Can’t wait to be with you again, sending you some love. Bing bing bing.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Expand Your Fempire with Caterina Rando.