It has been nearly 10 years since I quit my office job to become a travel agent and to focus on my blog. I can barely type the latter with a straight face, because I've spent the last 10 being so inconsistent with my blog it's embarrassing. Nevertheless, travel agent with a travel blog was the original plan, and here we are! Originally the travel agency was "Franceth Travels" - because at the time we were living in a big old pile of a house everyone called Franceth Manor. Since we sold the house a couple of years ago, I have been considering a name change for the travel agency. Something always held me back, though. Recently, I figured out what it was, and it was the kick in the pants I needed. For too many years, I let other people's abuse get to me. I'm not going to speak power to those people but suffice it to say, they didn't think I could hack this and they DEFINITELY thought I would be looking for a job within the first year. So, if I kept myself small, just word of mouth, friends and family, no flashy website, then maybe no one would notice if I failed. I couldn't make big-time mistakes if I stayed small-time. This year, I've set myself free from ALL of that. I looked around and realized, I was surrounded by people who believed in me all along. Every single person I've ever worked with was referred by someone else! I've made a name for myself as the travel agent who helps people approach Disney (and Universal) in a way that lets everyone, including mom, have a vacation. We don't do stressful theme park vacations around here!
Today, I am booking 10x more than I was just 5 years ago, and that's not hyperbole. Exponential growth! And that, my friends, is worthy of a new name and a real website. Meet Castle & Wand Travel! The people who have referred folks to me, even when it was just "message this lady on Facebook", are the ones who got me here, and they deserve for their recommendation to look legitimate. I am so grateful for the community we have created and all the friends I have made doing this! Speaking of looking legitimate, I'd also like to introduce my good friend Jennifer Rowell, who is now helping me with tip sheets and itineraries. She has been one of my repeat clients since the beginning and loves to share park tips (especially hidden gems), and I am thrilled to have her helping Castle & Wand clients directly!
In closing, I would just like to remind you that I book more than just Walt Disney World in Florida! If you're intimidated by WDW, try Disneyland first. It's not the "small version of WDW" it was 25 years ago, though it is smaller and more manageable. Plus, Disneyland has Star Wars Galaxy's Edge AND Marvel's Avengers Campus, as well as my personal favorite, Cars Land. I also book Disney and Universal Parks all over the world, as well as Aulani, Disney's Resort and Spa in Ko Olina Hawaii. We also LOVE cruises! I'm Gold Castaway with Disney Cruise Line and have also completed training with Royal Caribbean (Universal's Land & Sea partner) and Norwegian. If you're ready for BIG adventures on all 7 continents, check out Adventures by Disney (which includes river cruises in Europe with AMA Waterways and Expedition cruises to Antarctica and the Galapagos with Ponant) and National Geographic Expeditions!
Peppers Ghost Tales will continue as my homeschool/gardening/roadtrip blog, because I know the orginal Craves, Caves, & Graves fans like things that are a little more offbeat and weird!