A career in luxury travel is hard to beat. I love writing about new finds, designing over the top experiences and consulting with my colleagues. The world’s best scholars in art, architecture, design, culinary arts and history are my daily teachers; making me the perpetual student. However, it was not a direct route, as my career path took many turns getting to this point, but every step proved valuable in shaping my present day credentials.
Student travel with my boarding school certainly ignited the wanderlust, The moment I climbed the Acropolis, realized that Socrates and Alexander the Great had stood on these same stones and viewed Athens from the same perspective, I knew that this is what I wanted to do in a thousand other places.
Attending college in Lugano, Switzerland, perfectly located in the middle of Europe, with an international faculty and student body confirmed that whatever career path I chose to pursue, it would somehow involve travel.
A Master of Science Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a focus on the geopolitics of oil led to a 12-year career in the oil business and many trips to the Middle East, Gulf and throughout Europe. Then, someone suggested I apply for a job at the Smithsonian, working with their international study tours. This was a fantastic opportunity to show the world to many and learn from the scholars who led these amazing tours. I was fortunate for the incredible amount of travel during my 17 years with the Smithsonian, and the opportunity to collaborate with the world’s best scholars, tour operators and cruise lines.
Clients always ask me, “Jean, where is your favorite travel destination?” While it is hard to choose, I have to say the ultimate luxury for me is the chance to travel with my husband and family. After traveling alone for so many years, the chance to travel and share these amazing experiences with family is my top choice – anywhere, anytime. I certainly have enjoyed the 5-star cruises and around the world jet tours, but my best trip to date was last summer when my daughter was married at the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands. To be surrounded with family and friends for 5 days of celebrating, relaxing and letting the Ritz-Carlton do all the worrying for was perfection…