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Duty Of Care: How A Lifetime Of Service Prepared John Richards To Become A Great Travel Advisor

Oct 2018

Now back in his hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia, John Richards of ASTA Premium Member Connoisseur Travel was once navigating the globe as a Logistics Officer in the United States Air Force. John’s yearning for travel developed early, visiting National Parks with his mom when she took John and his siblings back to her home state of Minnesota every year. He was captivated by new experiences and compelled to explore other parts of the U.S. and abroad. Driven by this vision, a desire to serve his country, and a goal of setting himself up for a successful career, John applied for officer training school in 1983.

Following his training in Texas, John’s military career began as a 2nd Lieutenant that focused on combat coordination by managing troop movements and collaborating with other logistics teams to ensure that military plans were carried out properly. Initially stationed in Cocoa Beach, Florida, the position afforded him the chance to travel to Disney World quite often, which sparked a love for the theme park that inspires him to this day. While he enjoyed visits to Disney, John focused primarily on getting others moving and was not able to travel as much as he wished. Fortunately, a military career offers the opportunity to move jobs and advance in the ranks often. John dreamed of exploring Europe, and his wish was soon granted as he set off for his new home base in Wiesbaden, Germany.

In this new assignment, John wrote support and exercise plans for U.S. Forces at NATO bases around Europe while traveling to different Central European base every few weeks. Over the course of two years here, John not only explored Germany, but travelled all over Europe. During this time John met the love of his life, Nancy, while they were both stationed north of London. Soon married, the two welcomed their first daughter in Germany before they moved back to Washington D.C. to raise their family together.

John’s favorite European spots include Belgium and France – the Loire Valley in particular. His long list of locations visited includes the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy and Poland. A true military man, John attributes his profound respect and appreciation for understanding cultural differences to his career in the Air Force. He believes that the best travel experiences allow one to delve deeper into the destination and go beyond the typical tourist attractions to discover the true essence of a place and its people. Needless to say, John touts Europe as one of his specialties as a travel consultant. His expertise in this region extends beyond just destination knowledge to include significant insights on security, which he eagerly passes along to clients who may be wary of traveling to certain cities or countries.

Following his retirement in 2009 and subsequent discovery of a newfound travel career, John has since honed his niches within the industry. While still offering a range of travel styles and services, he is especially keen on Disney vacations, family trips, golf getaways and Hawaiian Island itineraries. Despite an impressive military career and equally respectable role as a devoted husband and father of three daughters, you would be hard-pressed to find a more humble man or committed travel consultant.

While he completed his service to his country, John continues to serve happy clients the world over and is happy to share his stories, expertise and enthusiasm for travel with fellow ASTA members.

Retired Officer Richards – now my colleague Leisure Specialist John – reports for duty every day in Connoisseur’s Lynchburg, Virginia office and can be reached by phone at (434) 455-0245 and via email at john.richards@ctltd.com.

-Written for Travel Advisor Magazine by Ellen Flynn.