Today we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Wallace.
Carrie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My journey to this point has been interesting, that’s for sure! I’m a Midwestern girl, born in Urbana, Illinois and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. Always strong in Math and Science, I left to go to college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, earning my BS in Physics. While at school, I became very interested in the subjects of management and entrepreneurship and was President of the University Student Union. I always knew one day I would have my own business.
My senior year, the travel bug bit when I was invited to visit the then Soviet Union with 40 other college students from around the US. Then came 8 weeks backpacking through Europe prior to joining a management development program at a major chemical company in Delaware. Eventually, I transferred to a division in Chicago to follow my now husband and while there, I earned my MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School part-time. My job took me to Latin America often and with study, I became fluent in Spanish.
Travel was never far away and fast becoming a passion. I left the chemical industry for a boutique management consulting firm, which sent me to Asia and South America for various projects. I was then posted to Singapore, my husband and I moved for two wonderful years of working overseas, exploring Southeast Asia, Japan, India and “Downunder” in the process. Before coming back, I spent 8 weeks in China studying Mandarin.
While in Asia, I dreamt of the company I would start – what would it be? What did I love? After the constant stimulation of living overseas I found being a management consultant in the US quite dreary and jumped at the chance to start a travel company when a friend proposed it to me. I quit my big job to create a consultancy focused on luxury honeymoons and special occasion travel, building it into a nationally-recognized brand and me, into an expert on travel. My biggest joys? Traveling the world for “work” and for “research”, assisting amazing clients and acquiring my next language – French – in which I’m now fluent.
Two years ago, I left my first company to start Cerulean World Travel. My clients were growing up and I wanted to create a brand that would address the needs of families, multigenerational groups and those traveling for leisure multiple times each year. I couldn’t be more excited – we currently work with a wonderful group of clients in Chicago and around the US, planning their adventures in a stunning portfolio of destinations worldwide. I continue to build a fantastic team of like-minded traveler advisors who compliment my skills and share the vision of creating meaning and memories through luxury and experiential travel.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The start of the financial crisis in 2009 was very difficult – people cut their discretionary spending, including travel and were more frugal when they did travel. Through that time, we trained our sights on the upper end of the market and made it through when travel companies around us failed left and right. Ultimately, we came out stronger and more focused than before, perhaps the silver lining to an otherwise very gray cloud.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I like to say, we plan really cool trips for really cool people! We focus on luxury and experiential travel – these can be honeymoons, special birthdays or anniversaries, family vacations, or multigenerational trips with the grandparents. Fundamentally, we believe time is precious, and that exploration of inspirational places and experiences enrich our hearts, minds and lives. We exist to create meaning and memories through travel.
Some of our favorite places include the more far-flung, exotic and challenging travel destinations such as Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. However, with our team’s range of expertise and our amazing in-country partners, we’re able to help our clients enjoy destinations around the world.
Our clients are primarily successful professionals, namely entrepreneurs, company leaders, investors, financial professionals, and legal professionals. Why you ask? We believe it’s because they and their families have insanely busy lives and little time together, so vacations become particularly important and precious. They rely on Cerulean to make that vacation time count.
To make that time count, our team has an incredible ability to listen to and synthesize our clients’ interests, needs, past travel history and future travel dreams, creating highly tailored and exciting recommendations that fit like a glove. We simplify the maze of travel options, making planning relaxed and enjoyable. We recruit our contacts from around the world to heighten our clients’ experiences and unlock the places they visit through the right combination of people, insider access and knowledge. Possibly most importantly, we are obsessed with detail prior to departure, ensuring smooth, easy and carefree travels.
Cerulean is affiliated with Andavo Travel, a member of the Virtuoso network, which brings our clients incredible benefits at luxury hotels and resorts worldwide including complimentary breakfast, upgrades, hotel, spa or activity credits, VIP status and more. Through these memberships, we have preferred status with major hotel companies such as Four Seasons, Luxury Collection, Rocco Forte, Ritz Carlton and Belmond, among others, likewise bringing our clients perks and attention they could not otherwise receive. You can’t VIP yourself – so we do it for our clients!
We also specialize in Life Travel PlanningSM. This is a strategic planning program that identifies a client’s travel interests and objectives, articulates the experiences they desire for their family and overlays this with school calendars, special occasions, when to visit certain destinations, and budgetary considerations. The result is a long-term Travel Roadmap, ready to follow and implement. Like financial planning, Life Travel PlanningSM gives clarity as well as intention to achieving lifelong goals.
I’m most proud of the relationships we build with our clients – we become their trusted advisors and a natural extension of their lives and families, as we fulfill their desires to explore the world and learn and bond through travel.
What were you like growing up?
I was a tomboy. As the oldest of three girls, I was the natural object of my father’s sports obsession, and I played basketball and soccer. I loved the great outdoors, learned to fish at age 5, took horseback riding lessons and spent time hauling brush with my dad at the family’s tree farm in northern Wisconsin. From my mother, I received the wonderful gift of music and culture, playing the piano, cello and oboe at various points and attending musicals, plays and concerts on a regular basis. I naturally excelled at math and science, as well as Spanish but I also was a hard worker, a trait that has served me well as an entrepreneur. We did family driving vacations each summer to Canada, Washington DC and to visit relatives in Rhode Island. My first big “overseas” trip was to Mexico with my high-school Spanish class. I was always encouraged by my parents to try new things and I was never afraid to jump right in. I feel very fortunate to have had such a diverse upbringing!
- Our planning fees for individual trips are based on the location and duration of travel. These start at $325 for a simple domestic US trip, and can range up to $1000 or more, for longer trips in more complex destinations, depending on the nature of the trip and the size of the group.
- Our Life Travel PlanningSM program ranges from $1200-$3000, depending on the time horizon (2-5 years), and the number of times per year you’d like to travel.
- We also offer an exclusive retainer service for more prolific travelers, starting from $2500/year, which is based on the travelers’ needs and travel habits.
- Website: www.ceruleanworldtravel.com
- Phone: 312 884 7890
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ceruleanworldtravel/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ceruleanworldtravel/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/travelcerulean
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carrie-wallace-b3ba86/