We moved to Brentwood last year from San Mateo. I am a member and current past-president of the Rotary Club of San Mateo Sunrise. I’m planning to transfer membership to Brentwood Rotary in July (assuming they will have me).
As far as possible, I apply the Rotarian “Service Above Self” philosophy to every area of my life. Serving others is a guiding principle in my business, which is to provide fun, freedom, and fulfillment for people who would like an adventure abroad. I enjoy travel myself, so it gives me great satisfaction from enabling others to enjoy the same around-the-world travel opportunities that brings such joy to my own life.
“A pleasure shared is twice enjoyed” they used to say. The fact is, the pleasure I get from listening to people describe with glowing and excited words the wonderful adventures they had on one of our DreamTrip get-aways provides a deep and satisfying component to the pleasure I take from my own DreamTrips. I’ve learned that serving others is the most effective way of actually serving ourselves.
Assisting people in checking off bucket-list items has become routine for me. My goal is to create the experience of a lifetime, so it is not unusual to hear one of my members giving an enthusiastic review of one of the DreamTrips that I helped select and manage. I am experienced and committed to finding the best possible experience within the desires, wishes, and budgets of people who are part of my Dream Trips family — and making the dream come true for the lowest possible cost. I am effective in making this happen because DreamTrips provides Champagne experiences at house-beer prices. This is possible because WorldVentures, the parent company, employs a business-to-business model.
MY GOAL IS TO CREATE THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME...
For example, a travel agency will purchase a trip — whether to London or the Kentucky Derby — for a customer at a price set by the vendor. However, the million DreamTrips members create a powerful economy-of-scale force. In the example, if you’re purchasing the reservation from an organization that has purchased thousands of hotel rooms in Louisville near Churchill Downs or overlooking the Thames, your costs will be much lower than the price of the single purchase you would otherwise make. WorldVentures extends its marketing clout to providing members with rock-bottom prices on flights, cruises, hotels, car rentals, and even such collateral benefits as fine wines and other products.
DreamTrips is especially designed to create a memorable travel event for people who wish to travel as a family plus providing an intimate get-away for a couple. My husband, Memo, and I feel that it is important to include family in our travels, but it is also important for the two of us to be alone sometimes. So we have set up a routine. Just the two of us will go together on one trip and then will take the family with us on the next. DreamTrips are so affordable that we don’t have to make the hard choice some families make about the single annual vacation, which is all they can afford.
Last fall, one of my senior couples, Louie & Connie, rediscovered that it is never too late to fill life to the brim with adventure by taking advantage of all the perks, discounts, and premiums that DreamTrip members can enjoy. They began traveling to destinations that had previously been beyond their budget and to places they had only dreamed of visiting. DreamTrips not only provided a series of travel events that transformed their retirement years, they offered an effective corrective for the lingering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms that Louie had been experiencing since his military service in Vietnam. Louie said that DreamTrips “filled a void that I didn’t know existed.”
The trips were so life-changing that Louie & Connie began inviting other members of their retirement community to join them. They discovered that WorldVentures would richly reward them for getting others to accompany them. Before long, they had seriously reduced the rock-bottom prices they had previously been paying plus getting some valuable perks.
One of the additional benefits that Louie & Connie love about their DreamTrips — and one of the things that helps maintain the “dream” — is that they never need to call an 800 number to get assistance. They and their companions are accompanied by a company host at each point who is onsite to manage details, answer questions, and deal with any difficulties that arise. When they go to a resort, DreamTrips provides shuttles to and from the airports. The DreamTrippers are “just along for the ride.” Attendants are on hand both leaving and arriving to handle baggage, wheelchairs, and walkers.
There are other perks. For example, in Puerto Vallarta we DreamTrips members were treated to a lovely VIP party on a catamaran with a crew of amateur performers that entertained us with singing, dancing, and engaging in hilarious skits. The boat took us to a beautiful beach in front of an historic village with cobblestone streets winding a short distance up the mountainside, through interesting neighborhoods, ending at a lovely waterfall.
Louie & Connie report that some new members are astonished by the quality of their beautiful accommodations. “They are so overjoyed, they sometimes break into tears,” Louie said. Louie said that the feelings of delight are renewed when their companions discover what “all-inclusive” means. They can engage in the experience at any level they wish — lounge by the pool or jacuzzi with a drink, if they like, or go ziplining, parasailing, swimming with sea lions and dolphins, or much more.
Louie & Connie share my own satisfaction from providing these wonderful experiences for their companions. “To see the joy on their faces is the most rewarding thing you could ask for,” Connie said. Members like Louie & Connie are evangelists for DreamTrips just because of the pleasure they take from traveling with their friends. Whatever income and savings they accrue are welcome, of course.
However, some people, like me, make DreamTrips a real business. I’m a member of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and am doing advertising and marketing as I would for any business. However, I still feel like Louie & Connie. The joy people find in fully engaging in life and traveling in style to places around the world is no longer the only pay-off for me. But bringing that level of happiness and joy to others is still my main motivation.
MY ROAD TO THE DREAMTRIPS
I was born and raised in San Francisco, second youngest of eight children. My maiden name was Rodriguez. My folks were assimilating into the American culture, so we spoke Spanglish at home. I only became truly bilingual when I began having conversations with my Guzman in-laws, who never learned English enough to speak it comfortably with their family.
We were a happy family. However, when I was growing up there was never any money in our family travel budget. As a result, the only time I got out of the Bay area was to make several trips to El Paso to visit my grandmother, who was in failing health. When I was 12, we made a final trip to attend her funeral and our family traveling days came to an end.
Not being able to see any of the world other than the Bay Area and Texas apparently ignited a passion in me to go snorkeling off the sun-washed beaches of Hawaii, to ride a cog train up a Swiss mountainside, to walk on an Alaskan glacier, or to enjoy visiting a thousand other exotic places that were described in books, shown on television, and displayed in the windows of travel agencies.
My childhood ambition was to become an airline stewardess, just so I could travel the world. However, I fell in love and married Guillermo “Memo” Guzman. We had our first baby when I was 16 and a second when I was 18. By the time we had our third baby two decades later, I still hadn’t found time to become an airline stewardess. That turned out to be okay because six years ago I was introduced to DreamTrips and began visiting those exotic places without having to deal with surly passengers complaining that the cabin was too hot, their food was too cold, their seatmate was too…. (The list is probably endless.)
In 2012, for example, Memo and I visited an island in the Dominican Republic called Punta Cana. For most people, it would have been a once-in-a-lifetime event. However, Punta Cana was so magnificent that we returned a few months later, bringing our 11-year old daughter, Mia, so she could enjoy it with us. The DreamTrip was so affordable that there wasn’t any reason not to go back. Three times we went to Marival Residence & World Spa in Puerto Vallarta, which was not just 4-star, but a 4-diamond resort, with 1,400 sq.ft. rooms and all the fine dining you can eat and fine wine and liquors to wash it down with.
During the past 12 months, I have gone to Cuba; Puerto Vallarta (I’m going back there again this month); New York; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and New Orleans. Because of DreamTrips I’ve traveled to places I never would have gone otherwise. I was never really anxious to go to New Orleans, for example, but two other couples were going, and I wanted to hang out with them. The trip was so inexpensive there wasn’t any reason to pass up the opportunity.
I’ve already scheduled a number of future destinations. For example in two months I’m going to Thailand. However, every month DreamTrips offers a featured trip, even more deeply discounted than usual. We will probably join a few of them just as spur-of-the-moment decisions — similar to the impulse purchases of a copy of Enquirer or some breath mints you sometimes make while standing in line at Target.
That’s how easy travel becomes for DreamTrips members.
The number of DreamTrips available at any point varies, but there are never fewer than 5,000. As I write this, there are more than 9,000.
Where do you want to go? Wherever it is, let me know. Let’s experience the world together.
Photos by Casey Quist