At the age of 16, Tisha Neufville fell in love with travel during a family trip to Egypt. After riding a camel through Giza and exploring the Khan el-Khalili market, she realized how powerful and life-changing travel can be. Her career as global qualitative researcher took her around the world, but she decided to turn her passion into her full-time job and became a luxury travel advisor. Learn about Tisha’s journey to finding Brownell, her travel tips, and more below.
How did you find Brownell?
I knew I wanted to do something related to planning trips as I enjoy solving the itinerary puzzle and piecing everything together. After doing some digging online, noticing how others were working in travel, and having informational chats with a few of those people, I felt being a travel advisor would be perfect for me. Education and training have always been extremely important to me, and I knew I needed training to successfully make this career transition. After digging around a bit more, I found Brownell’s Mentoring Program and knew that was the way to go!
Why did you choose Brownell as your host agency?
The Mentoring Program was a significant reason. It was obvious that Brownell had the best Mentoring Program in the industry. On top of that, they had a wonderful, boutique-y, family feel – that’s the organizational dynamic in which I feel most comfortable and it’s the style I like to convey to my clients. Then within the first week of joining I realized the people and the level of support were exactly what I needed. I know it sounds corny and a bit cliché, but we all truly try to help and support one another.
What aspect of Brownell is most exciting to you?
I love that, as a team, everyone is always seeking innovative, distinctive approaches to crafting trips and creating memories for our clients. Brownell was recognized for this when the company won the Virtuoso Innovation Award for Best Client Experience at Virtuoso Week in 2017. The emphasis on innovation and creativity further increases clients’ excitement for their trips and keeps us excited about the destinations, experiences, and accommodations we suggest.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to join the travel industry?
Listen! I learned in my last career (and it was reinforced in a CTA class I took in 2017), that listening is essential. Our clients are our priority – they are the reason we do what we do. By listening we can thoroughly understand their interests, passions, and preferences.
Why would you recommend a career as a travel advisor?
I suppose I have two reasons …
- I love bringing joy to clients’ lives through travel. When I receive an email/text/call from a client with feedback from their trip, it warms my heart to hear the trip gave them exactly what they needed or exceeded their expectations. I’m in the midst of helping a client make an important return to Japan to connect with long-lost relatives and scatter her mother’s ashes. I can already tell this will be a life-changing trip for her, and I am honored and touched that she has requested my help with this.
- I’ve always been obsessed with understanding cultures and what makes people tick. It’s the reason I studied Sociology in college and grad school, the reason I worked as a global qualitative research consultant for 16 years, and is one of the reasons I enjoy working in travel. Every day I get to learn a bit more about various cultures. And it’s a daily education because destinations, societies, and cultures are continuously evolving.
7 Questions with…
What was the best meal you’ve ever had while traveling?
Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru. We had a 17-course tasting menu, and every single course was phenomenal! The chef uses local ingredients in a way that highlights Peru’s ecosystems and elevations. With that blend of exceptional ingredients, expert preparation, creative techniques, and storytelling, you leave with a wonderful experience that is both culinary AND cultural.
What popular destination lives up to the hype?
Japan!!! I have a strong connection with Japan after studying Japanese cultural extensively as a part of my undergraduate and graduate degrees, living there twice, meeting the love of my life there, and traveling to Tokyo a couple of times per year for a decade in my last career. A significant part of what makes it so popular is there is truly something for everyone. Culture seekers, history buffs, nature lovers, sports fans, fashion lovers, tech enthusiasts, anime and cosplay fans, food enthusiasts, and art buffs all have a wealth of experiences to dig into. There are just so many things that are so incredibly special about Japan. I can’t explain it all in a couple of sentences, so I all can say is contact your travel advisor to plan your trip and GO!
What is the up and coming destination right now?
I have a couple of places on my mind at the moment …
- Botswana. The African continent is vast, and as such, your journey will vary from country to country. The same is true of safari experiences – no two countries will give you the same safari experience. Botswana is quickly becoming one of the best safari destinations through the immense variety of species you’ll encounter due to its diverse landscape. My first safari was one of the best trips I’ve taken in my entire life, so I’m elated to see that a safari destination is hot at the moment. I have a family set to visit Botswana in December and we are all excited for the amazing experience they will soon have.
- Oman. It’s difficult to resist over 500 forts and castles, whale watching, mountain hikes, rolling sand dunes, caves, souqs, etc, all in one of the safest parts of the region. I suspect we are only scratching the surface of what there is to see and do there. Perhaps more will be revealed as we begin to delve into this destination.
- Puerto Rico. I’ve always loved Puerto Rico. It’s a quick trip from parts of the US, the people have a wonderful spirit, the food is some of the best in the Caribbean (in close competition with Jamaican food of course 😉 ), you can have city experiences in San Juan, the beaches are great (particularly those on outer islands like Vieques) … it’s just a nice, easy, culturally rich, beach getaway. Obviously there is quite a bit to do to rebuild lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure. But we’re beginninwhig to see some movement. One of our best partners, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, has just reopened and we are excited about this. I have a feeling when all has been completed, the PR islands will be better than ever and one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean. Keep an eye on Puerto Rico.
What is the best travel advice you’ve ever received?
Visit a local food market, grocery store, or convenience store. I started doing this in my past career and still do it to this day. This is where you see real life happening … locals, local food, and daily life. These places will give you even more insight into a destination.
What is your travel motto?
An Anthony Bourdain quote from a “No Reservations” episode is forever embedded in my brain. It sums up my perspective on both travel and life … “The more places I see and experience, the bigger I realize the world to be. The more I become aware of, the more I realize how relatively little I know of it. How many places I have still to go, how much more there is to learn. Maybe that’s enlightenment enough … to know there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom, such as it is for me, means realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
What has been the most inspirational destination you’ve visited?
India. It’s an inspirational and spiritual journey unlike any other. Everyone should make at least one visit to India in their lifetime. You will undoubtedly return with a new outlook on life and love for the human spirit.
What is your dream trip?
Many trips can become dream trips if planned in a way that marries your interests with experiences specific to the destination. For me those dream trips combine visual and performing arts, amazing food, sunshine, relaxation/spa time, and of course unique cultural experiences.