A journey to becoming a travel professional by Michael Healy
August 23rd 2020 marks my 10 year anniversary since I was issued my first passport. In reflecting on those past 10 years, it’s quite wild to think I went from never having a passport or doing an international trip while growing up to having now visited 27 countries and making international travel my passion and my career! It all started my junior year at CU Boulder during the 2008 economic crisis; I was thinking, what in the world am I going to do when I graduate?? Turns out, “the world” would be my answer.
A colleague of mine at the time had told me about this round the world flight you could buy and being someone always ready for an adventure, I thought, why not! Many of my friends and family kind of laughed off the idea as just a pipedream but ever determined once I set my mind to something, I pulled even more double shifts and squirrelled away as much money as possible to turn it into a reality. 6 months after graduating I was off on a 10 month adventure from Central America to South America over to Dubai and onward to SouthEast Asia then finishing up in Egypt and Europe. As it turns out, this trip wasn’t just another gap year to have fun in between life’s milestones, but it allowed me to find my true calling in life which is travel! It combined all my interests from adventure to history to geopolitics to conservation and I was hooked.
Being the American millennial I was, I always pictured the travel industry as the old school version of someone behind a computer buying your spring break flight tickets to Florida and I wasn’t even sure it was still alive. After lots of research when I got home, I realized that not only was it alive but it was thriving! I determined I wanted to go into the very specialized, authentic style of travel which allowed people to connect more genuinely and responsibly with the places they visited. This is when I got my big break seeing a LinkedIn job posting to start “Khiri USA” in Boulder, Colorado. I met with Khiri’s founder and knew right off the bat we hit it off but also knew I was the very first of 20+ interviews he had lined up while he was in the States. I held my breath and hoped for the best and was ecstatic when I opened the email to see I had been offered the job (even screamed and scared my roommate at the time).
Here I sit almost 8 years later from that interview feeling fortunate I have a job that allows me to follow my passion and to share it with others. Speaking of that passport, time to renew the old one in preparation for the trips ahead once travel reopens. Cheers to the next 27 countries!