Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
First in Service continues to expand around the world—with two new advisors: Evelyn Chiang based in Taipei, Taiwan and Willa Griffin based in Toronto, Canada. Here, get to know a bit more about these rising stars:
Ever since she was young, Evelyn dreamed of being an artist—she spent weekends doing ballet, painting, calligraphy and taking ikebana classes. She always had an artistic eye, and, after heading to England for college, decided to major in interior architecture. It was during her time at school that she discovered her passion not only for art, but for travel as well: She traveled throughout Great Britain, Europe and Egypt during those years. After graduation, she moved back to Taiwan and began working in the architectural field, eventually switching to the performing arts industry, where she worked in marketing and public relations for internationally acclaimed dancers, orchestras, and theater companies. But, as fate would have it, one day she was reading about a new luxury travel agent in Taipei—and decided to submit her resume. While she hadn’t originally set her sights on becoming a travel agent, she says it was a dream come true right from the beginning. Now, she combines her passion for art, architecture and performing arts to create one-of-a-kind experiences for her clients and memories that will last a lifetime. And in her personal life she hopes for that as well: Her goal is to live a well-traveled life with friends and family—and eventually to write a book about all her travel adventures.
My favorite destinations are… Sri Lanka and Croatia, for their wonderful people and beautiful landscape.
In the near future… I’m headed to Turkey in November and Bangkok in December.
I love travel because… I learn something new about myself when I travel.
From a very early age, Willa was exposed to the world of travel. Her parents lived overseas for three years in Tokyo, Japan. From there, they traveled to a lot of far off places and did some pretty experiential traveling for those days. Her parents always encouraged her to not go where everyone else was going—but to explore new, interesting places. After taking 10 years off to raise her family, she decided to follow her passion and go into the travel business. For the past eight years she has been an independent contractor based in Toronto, specializing in curating customized experiential itineraries for her discerning clientele.
My favorite destinations are… Jose Ignacio, Uruguay, Trancoso, Brazil, Harbour Island, Bahamas and Amalfi Coast, Italy
In the near future… I plan to go to Bhutan, Myanmar and Mongolia
I love travel because… Nothing excites me more than traveling to a new place I have never been or going back to a place that I love—plus, I am a true hotel junkie.