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Exploring Life & Business with Debbie Pham of Live Travel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie Pham.

Hi Debbie, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Travel is part of my DNA and how innately I am able to use it to have a positive impact on the lives of others comes slowly to my realization through the years.

I have always been very curious about life and all it embraces especially the cultures and their people. Given I always want to do more things than time allows, I have conditioned myself to prioritize what I value most and place the investment accordingly. Instinctively. This contributing element is the reason how I am very particular about the experiences I want to have in life, especially during my travel. At the age of eight, my journey in travel began as a curiosity and later passion to explore the world. Since arriving in the United States at the age of 13, I began crafting my own itineraries analyzing the logistics and components involved in each trip, and curating it to my perfect liking. It started with a camping trip to the Redwood National State Park and zigzagged around the globe to Europe, Africa, and Australia. I squeezed in Turkey before COVID-19 took over. 32 countries and counting.

Along the way, friends and family (immediate and adopted in my travel) would come to ask me for advice and suggestions for their own trips. Having already traveled to the destinations myself or being keen on the subject, I happily consulted and often ended up doing the itineraries for them. The small details tweaked in the trip changed how they perceived travel and their outlook on life afterward. Too many times was I told I should become a travel advisor. I soon have a mini following… they would go wherever I have gone or plan to go or suggest. The impact is real. The most real, unexpectedly, is with my own during my pharmacy school years.

The experience has shown me how travel could take me beyond my limited horizon. The realization of how travel could heal a soul came during my lowest point in the third year of my pharmacy school career when everything in my life seemed to be perfect. Seemed. My soon-to-be fiancé took a different life direction and forgot to tell me about it. Scholarship money was spent for escapes to the Caribbean Sea. I left broken and returned with a renewed spirit. Stronger each time.

After earning my doctorate in Pharmacy (PharmD), I realized I could go one step further in helping people to achieve a lifestyle of health by investing in travel. As a pharmacist, my role is to be at the forefront of my patients’ health from performing medication therapy management to educating patients on the medical conditions and drug usage. I role-play a counselor and an advocate for the longevity of my patients’ physical and mental health. I could apply the same concepts in travel. I believe the travel experience liberates one’s soul as one explores and connects to the world at the same time discovering a part of oneself one did not know existed. The impact of travel on physical and mental health is unparalleled and long-lasting.

I always have favored preventative health. In curating travel experiences that deliver an impactful result, I could help people to see how travel could serve as a worthwhile life investment similar to a retirement plan or diabetic therapy management. Essential enough to integrate travel into their life and make it a lifestyle. Also, you come to have a very different perspective on life from traveling. Ultimately, travel transcends your life experiences transforming you into a version better than your previous self and delivers a proactive lifestyle in health.

And Live Travel was born.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There definitely have been many bumps along the way. I started the business while working as a pharmacist full-time. I was running high on inspiration and determination and low on sleep. At one point, energy bars were my main form of food! Having prior operational experience only in pharmacy, I decided to complete a specialized course to become a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC). It is similar to an MBA but for travel. In wanting to further my expertise to provide the best service to my clients and stay as the key point of contact to the public especially during the pandemic, I became a Certified Luxury Travel Specialist (CLTS) last year. For the longest time, starting my day at 6 am and ending it often as late 2 am felt almost like normal. So was falling asleep in my car while it was parked in my garage or in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s.

Breaking into a luxury niche of the travel industry with a youthful look that most people mistake me for being in the late-20s was a big challenge for me. The suppliers were cordial but didn’t seem to take me seriously let alone thinking I was the owner of a luxury travel agency. I have potential clients who asked if I was in college. Thankfully, the pandemic with COVID-19 aged me appropriately. To compensate for this so-call “disadvantage”, I strive to know my materials inside out and deliver world-class service to my clients. I have won immeasurable satisfaction with every client I have helped to design their bucket list trips.

Any entrepreneur will agree among other challenges is the ability to be your own cheerleader and stay steadfast in the vision of your work despite setbacks. I learned that the journey of entrepreneurship includes loneliness. It is not uncommon that people don’t understand your journey. Even people closest to me, my best friends, couldn’t make sense of my reason for pursuing the business and consequently couldn’t be supportive with or without intention. Believing travel as an investment in life for the positive health benefits and the transcendental change in oneself has kept me going. Strong.

It is easy wanting to give up but each time I do not, I grow if not in victory then in strength and greatest lessons that only propel me forward. Travel is my passion and serves a bigger purpose in my journey of life.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Live Travel is a concierge travel agency customizing journeys to your unique values and needs at the same time managing your most valuable asset, your leisure time, with the highest care. Having worked as a pharmacist, I design travel in an integrative and personal-care approach fitting each element for the smooth flow of the trip to achieve a complete relaxation yet rejuvenating experience. Worry-free. We are most proud that we do not compromise quality when curating a client’s journey.

Our focus is to design unique, authentic, and bespoke travel experiences. Our services to you focus on advice, guidance, protection, advocacy, support, and relationships with suppliers to help with your holiday planning. We specialize in customized journeys, honeymoons, cultural adventures, and exotic destinations, particularly in Europe and Africa.

One of the things that set Live Travel apart from other agencies is the destinations that I design for my clients are often the places that I already have visited in 2-3 weeks’ time. Believing in the true living of an experience, I travel to many of the most booked destinations along with other lesser-seen places always seeking something that sets my heart on fire or leaves my eyes twinkled with delight long after my departure. You come to have a very different perspective on life from traveling.

As the founder of Live Travel, I am able to help people experience travel the way they have imagined and more.

I am excited to help people achieve a lifestyle of health through the investment of travel and with the hope that living legacy for them through memories of travel.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I create Live Travel to help people explore and connect to the world through curated experiences but most importantly to discover themselves and the benefits of travel to having a transcendental impact on their lives and with hope for generations to come. The pandemic has shown how travel is an integral part of life that is just as important as food or fitness. Create your life as to how you want to remember it and how you want your loved ones to remember you. That will be your legacy. The legacy then will serve as an example of a purposeful life which in turn will be the guidance for your children in creating their own paths.

Travel is one of the best vehicles for your health, wealth, and happiness.

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