There are many reasons to spend time at a travel show, the most obvious is to check out vacation destinations. For me, it's about getting inspired, and learning something new.
My first stop was the Singapore Airlines booth.
“You’ve got to check out Singapore Airlines suite,” my blogger friend Shelley Miller, an expert on home exchange, said. I had no idea what she was talking about, and imagined a suite, like a large airport suite for business and first class passengers where champagne and appetizers were freely available. Instead, I discovered a replica of the new “suite” that Singapore Airlines offers its passengers on board the plane. Inside this mini-van sized interior, I found two comfortable leather armchairs facing one another, and a retractable table which you could pull out whenever you requested a meal to be served, or wished to play a card game with your partner. A flat screen TV and a two-person bed were also part of the suite. I had never seen anything like it.
I then strolled over to listen to a presentation by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes and the newly launched eyewear.
I had heard of TOMS shoes where you buy one pair and the company donates a second pair to a child in need. Blake is a fascinating guy with a vision. He started this concept of “one for one” while in Argentina. When asked to share a story that impacted him, Blake said that one woman came up to him crying.
He thought she was sad, but her tears were tears of joy.
This woman had three sons and only one pair of shoes.
On Mondays, the oldest son got the shoes, and was able to go to school. On Tuesdays her middle son got the shoes and could attend school, and on Wednesdays, the youngest son got his turn. When Blake offered three pairs of TOMS shoes, all three could attend school.
Blake has given away 2 million pairs of TOMS shoes in fifty countries.
Last year Blake launched his eyewear. While traveling through Ethiopia, he visited an eye clinic where cataract surgeries were offered to blind kids and adults. For only $15 to $45 per surgery, kids and adults were given their eyesight back. That’s when Blake decided to offer TOMS eyewear and for each pair sold, one person gets their eyesight back. In one year, he has helped 130,000 people get their eyesight back.
Blake Mycoskie says his “one for one” company is “like my soul mate in business.”
Just listening to Blake inspired me to enter his sweepstakes, “TOMS ticket to give.” I have to post one word, one photo, and a 100 word essay on why I want to be an ambassador and help TOMS with their giving away program in a poor country.
Want to enter?
Did you go to the LA Times travel show? If so, what did you get from the show?
Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s a motivational speaker who inspires her audiences to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a “My Gutsy Story”; some just need a little help to uncover theirs. Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family to reconnect on an island in Belize.
Sonia has lived in many countries – Denmark, Nigeria, France, England, the U.S. and Belize – Sonia Marsh considers herself a citizen of the world. She holds a degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia, U.K., and now lives in Southern California with her husband, Duke.