The trip that launched a business
After seven days of telling nine other travel agents all about Maine and how amazing it is, and encouraging them to visit…. I had a lightbulb moment. Yes, I love travel and I hope to see every corner of the planet…. But my passion is Maine. It is my home, and I want to share it with you!
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Rewrite the "Meet Armanda" section to be a bout how the business came about.
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Hello, I’m Armanda, your resource, tour guide, and travel planner.
I fell in love with travel at a very young age, having been fortunate enough to enjoy several family vacations in various areas of the country; but it wasn’t until I took my first trip overseas as part of an educational tour with a group from my high school, that I knew I wanted to work in the travel and tourism industry. I had officially caught the travel bug. I realized that travel is the best education money can buy, and I wanted to encourage everyone else to get out and experience what the world has to offer.
After graduating high school, I knew I wanted to work in travel but I wasn’t exactly sure in what capacity. I had looked into several programs and travel-related degrees in my area, but nothing seemed to be the right fit.
And then September 11th happened, and the travel industry suffered a huge blow. All of a sudden, it didn’t seem like a very good idea to put all my eggs in that basket. And at this point, life was getting complicated, and it wasn’t really a good time for me to focus on school or a career due to familial obligations.
Through this time I have spent 20 years working in the restaurant industry in every capacity imaginable. From deli service, to casual dining, to fine dining, to catering, to pop-up dinners. This has given me a vast knowledge of the restaurant world and dining scene here in Maine, as well as endless connections.
During this time, I also started working part-time for Delta airlines. After 5+ years with Delta, I have learned up close and personal how the airline industry operates. This knowledge and background has been invaluable when it comes to advising clients.
As I was approaching my 30s, and adjusting to life as a single mom post-divorce, I decided it was now or never, and back to school I went. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management at Eastern Maine Community College, where I was awarded the Excellence in Technology Award for Hospitality & Tourism Management. This accolade is awarded to a single student from each department, chosen by the department head.
Not long after graduating from EMCC I signed on with Maine Foodie Tours as Operations Manager and a tour guide for the Bar Harbor branch of MFT. I absolutely loved my time working with MFT and it highlighted and expanded upon my planning and organizational skills, while also adding to my knowledge of the Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park region.
I am also a Certified Travel Assistant (CTA) through The Travel Institute. Originally, when I obtained my certification my plan was to operate as a traditional travel agent, specializing in nature, adventure, and sustainable tourism. However, it was on a FAM Tour (familiarization tour) in Costa Rica while representing Off On Vacation, that I realized I needed to sell Maine. After seven days of telling nine other travel agents all about Maine and how amazing it is, and encouraging them to visit…. I had a lightbulb moment. Yes, I love travel and I hope to see every corner of the planet…. But my passion is Maine. It is my home, and I want to share it with you!