By ‘Safari’ Kay Trotman
Destined To Travel, LLC
I remember when I mentioned to someone that I was going to start a business, what was to be taking groups on African safaris. He told me that he didn’t think I could make a business from taking folks on safari. So in 2007 I set out to prove him wrong, three years before I officially started my business, or had any vehicles. It was a ‘practice’ group to Tanzania, to see if they would enjoy it. OMG, did they ever, so much so, they went again in 2008, and again in 2010 and one joined me again in 2009 in Kenya as well.
I remembered what that person had told me. I remember the first time this person saw the price, he was stunned, said he’d never go. I remember when I sat down and talked with him and explained everything that a safari entailed, and what was
included, he was shocked. I remember when I said I wanted him to go and he said ‘why’ would I go? I remember when I told him why he should go. And I remember when he handed me his check – TWICE!!
That, my friends, was my brother, and relatives are sometimes the hardest to convince. But, that ‘practice’ group consisted of his daughter and our cousin. THAT is what Africa will do to you! Suddenly he’s thrust into the excitement of planning a trip costing thousands of dollars, that he had no intention of even considering, and he went not once, but twice. He had the time of his life on the first one and the second one was even more special than he could ever have imagined. He was more animated on both of those trips than I have ever seen him in my life. Even his daughters who were also on both trips, agreeing they’d never seen him so outgoing. When I looked up and saw him talking to the Maasai, when I saw him dancing with the Maasai, I knew right away, how special this journey was for him. To this day, it remains so!
Fast forward thirty some odd groups later and over ten years since that first trip, and I remember every single person I took on safari. I remember everyone’s story about why they shouldn’t go, or how it wasn’t on their list, or how scared they were, or how much they didn’t want to stay in a tent, or how much it cost, the reasons (excuses) go on and on and on. It was like talking to my brother, all over again. By this time, I was doing presentations to educate potential travelers about the experience.
I knew if I was able to get them to a presentation, it would start to sink in. They would realize what they were thinking was not based in reality. After they came to a presentation, many of them did travel, some, more than once and many, more than twice. Today, of course, they no longer need convincing. They’ve been EXPOSED! True to my mission, for those who accepted, my hope to expose travelers to the authentic Africa, and help change perceptions and stereotypes had been realized. Sharing ten years of passion with my guests has been hugely rewarding. Today, my brother and those relatives that traveled with me pre-Destined To Travel, are my biggest supporters.
All safaris have now been priced and announced through September 2018, with a budget for everyone. By invitation only is when I will celebrate my big ten-year anniversary gala in the bush (Kenya and Tanzania). Several repeat safari travelers have already put their deposits down. They don’t want to lose out. That safari is sold out for the Tanzania portion of the trip. Kenya is still available.
When I think that there are those with whom I’ve been speaking for the entire time I’ve been in business, who continue to tell me, it’s on my bucket list, or those who claim to want to go, but pass on every opportunity, or say next year, and naturally the price is higher the longer you wait, or those who say they want to find out more, sign up for a presentation and never show up, sometimes I wonder what will it take?
Will it be when I am no longer taking groups? I have to believe that those are not people who are really committed to going or making it a priority. Of course there are also those who want to shop the Internet to find a ‘cheaper’ African safari. There really is no comparison, and rarely compares apples to apples and almost never are personally escorted. I meet many on safari that have learned the hard way that NOT ALL SAFARIS ARE CREATED EQUAL.
So never mind the disappointments, and those who continue to miss out, it’s the overwhelming joy and excitement of those that do travel that has by far, outweighed any disappointments over the years. I know a secret. I know what they will be missing. I know that animal populations are rapidly declining, I know how critical the fierce urgency of ‘now’ is. I know that if you don’t get your deposit in to secure your space, chances are, you won’t go! Will you wait until it’s too late to go with Destined To Travel. Only time will tell!