A connector at her core, Mimi Lichtenstein, owner of Truvay Travel, loves to share information about travel, authentic cultural experiences, and the chicest hot spots in distant locales. When Covid-19 brought travel to a screeching halt globally, she felt the need to help her partners continue to inspire people about future travels. Initially, this inspiration took the form of her travel-focused video webcast, Adventures in Luxury Travel. With positive feedback, she began the process of converting the webcasts into podcast format to reach more people. Each episode is about an hour-long conversation with one of Mimi’s favorite travel experts from around the world about their location of expertise. Listeners have been transported from lush green golf courses in Ireland to the fabled blue city of Chefchaouen in Morocco to the rustic beauty of Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand to the iconic Silo hotel in Cape Town.
What sparked the idea to launch the podcast
I genuinely love sharing travel information to help others have fun and transformative experiences. My goal is to share unique insights and inspire people to want to go places, do extraordinary things and meet fascinating people. I knew that many of my partners around the world were struggling due to Covid-19. I thought that giving some exposure to their engaging personalities and expertise could help people learn more about destinations, inspire future trips and contribute to the recovery when it eventually happened.
How did you choose the format?
I started with a webcast because travel is so visual. I wanted to be able to introduce travelers to the real people who help me plan trips and open people’s eyes to new places and experiences. Everyone consumes content differently – personally, I am a podcast listener. By adding the podcast platform, I knew I could reach more people like me who are less likely to sit down to watch a video. In my podcasts, should they choose, listeners can follow links to the video to see what we are talking about, a photo or a map, etc. I also provide links to many of the places we talk about and other details on my website in the show notes, which allows everyone to learn some helpful tips for their future trip. I know that not everyone is meant to be my client, but I still love sharing information to help everyone have better vacations.
“My goal is to share unique insights and inspire people to want to go places, do extraordinary things and meet fascinating people.”
How do you decide on the topics?
My “typical” client is an active traveler with an adventurous spirit. Most are parents who travel with their families and sometimes with other adults. They love going to new places, learning about hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path locations. Many of them are willing to go a bit outside their comfort zones for the right experience, which may mean scaling a via ferrata or going in a shark boat with their teens, learning to cook authentic gnocchi in a local Italian family’s home, or just exploring a place they’d never heard of. Having unique experiences and staying in hotels with a special sense of place is most essential to them, and they tend to be open-minded when I suggest something that they have never thought about before. Through that lens, I select a specific destination, choose one of my destination experts and sort out the topics we’ll cover in the conversation. Though I have been to many of these places, some I have not. Either way, I learn something new from every show, and I’m constantly adding new places to my personal bucket list.
How did you stay inspired during COVID?
I am naturally curious and love a wide-open playbook. So, I just set to work being creative. I decided that if people couldn’t travel (including me!), I could still provide experiences connecting people with other cultures. My first attempt at this was to host a series of virtual cooking classes for clients and friends with chefs and cooks from around the world. We had fun cooking a range of dishes, from tortilla Española to Greek spanakopita to Argentinean trout.
Then I set about earning a life coaching certification. This was a huge time commitment but very much worth it for me. Given my background in business, it’s also given me additional tools that I can use to help others in their life and business. I have also found that what I learned is extremely useful when working with my clients who want to take family sabbaticals because those processes can be very complex.
What have you learned from this experience? Any surprises?
My biggest surprise has been discovering a real lack of diversity in the luxury travel industry, specifically Destination Management Companies. I have had some success in booking diverse guests for my show; however, I have found Black partners to be fairly rare in our industry. I have made affirmative efforts to reach out to my network to find more Black partners and will continue to seek them out.
I have also gained more technical knowledge than I ever hoped to know. For example, how to create WAV files, live streaming to multiple platforms, and designing web pages. All of this keeps me very busy. Two pieces of advice to anyone who wants to launch a podcast or webcast is to dedicate set times each week to work on it and outsource the production to an expert. Whether it be travel planning, podcast production, or financial advising – outsourcing to a trusted expert is worth it!
Most of all, I have learned that when you do what you love and work with people who fill you up, it doesn’t feel like work. Good things will follow.
Anything else in the works that we can look forward to seeing?
I am rolling out a proprietary travel planning method that I have been developing, which helps families plan out their 5+ year travel horizon. It enables them to intentionally plan locations they want to go to at the most optimal times for their family. Planning like this ensures availability, which is especially important when my clients want to celebrate significant milestones and when travel times are limited to peak season vacation times.
And, of course, new episodes of my podcast! Tune in to hear about upcoming shows to Antarctica, Peru, Ireland, and Greece.