Finding Yourself: How One Traveler’s Tough Choice Changed Her Life For The Better

finding yourself

Channon’s Sydney collage

Sometimes the hardest decisions lead to the most positive outcomes. While we know it’s important to listen to our instincts, even when we don’t want to, it’s important to trust your gut. Channon Dade of the travel and inspiration blog, ChannonDade.com, knows this very well, as the difficult decision to end things with her college sweetheart led to her meeting the man of her dreams, who also happens to be a traveler.

I caught up with Channon to learn about the importance of letting go, living your best life and finding love — the kind you deserve — in unexpected places.

1. You spent over 15 years working in airports as a Ramper. What was that experience like?

I have been working for a major airlines for 16 years come October, and it has been fabulous, to say the least. I actually worked in Human Resources for about two years, but then wanted to pursue my acting career full time and saw the major flexibility the Ramp offered — you only have to work 50% of your scheduled shift per month which is about 44 hours/month on average for a part time employee in order to keep your benefits.  So I transferred out to the Ramp part time.

It is a major advantage working on the Ramp because bags don’t talk back — like customers can — and you’re outside and not cooped up in a stuffy office all day.  I always say it’s the best part time hustle anyone could have.  Not only do I get full health benefits, 401K, a pension (yes we still have that) and disability, my parents and travel companions get to fly as well. It has afforded me to not only pursue my acting career with medical benefits, but also to travel all around the world for free — sometimes in First Class if it’s available.

finding yourself

Channon explores beautiful Belize

2. When working at the airport you dated someone who didn’t believe you were fulfilling your full potential, nor did he share your vision for travel. What was this like, and how did you come to the decision to leave him?

At the time this was devastating; however, now I understand the gift behind it which just emphasized the importance of NEVER stop listening to my intuition.

Despite him being my college sweetheart and knowing he had an interest in getting back with me for the past 20 years, my heart was saying “no, this is not the one,” though my logic was saying why not give a go.

A few months after we were together for the second time around, he insinuated that working on the Ramp for the airlines was beneath me, and we would not really have time to travel that much so the benefits were irrelevant. In that moment I knew it was over because my heart sank. This is what I call my intuition now whaling at me for ignoring it, again.

He actually did me the favor of breaking up with me.  In the end I am grateful for the journey because I gained so much; not just the new incredible man in my life, but the solid foundation of knowing who I am, what resonates with me and what I deserve in a partner is priceless.

3. Despite your rough romantic experience, you later met someone who shared your travel vision. Can you tell us about this?

I really enjoyed being single after that break-up because it was all about me taking care of myself and moving forward with a game plan that honored who I was and the things that mattered most to me: defining what honoring myself really meant and building a viable business around travel were my two top priorities — and still are.

I was so confident that I was going to find the right person for me.  This made me excited about doing the work I needed to do on myself — which is never ending — and whomever he was he was being prepared for me, as well. I didn’t know when but I knew it would come.

These were the steps I took to make myself whole and then of course fate — which I refer to as a Higher Power a.k.a. God — was vital, as well.

About a year-and-a-half after the break-up I was out eating dinner with some girlfriends. Out of the blue — I’d never had really thought about it until this moment — I declared, not wished for, not thought about, but mandated that I wanted to be with a man who was not a doctor, lawyer, or worked for a corporation of any kind with a 9-to-5 schedule. Instead I wanted an entrepreneur who loved to travel like myself and had the freedom and flexibility to travel the world with me.

The very next day I met him on a plane from Los Angeles to Houston.

finding yourself

Channon and her man in Belize

4. Do you think this was fate?

I am a firm believer that my Higher Power planned this out. Here’s why:

A. I was on a 2:30PM departure flight that ended up being constantly delayed. Around 3pm I thought I better book myself on standby on the 4:30PM departure flight, just in case they cancel this one. I told myself at 4PM I would decide to either stay on the delayed 2:30PM flight or go for the 4:30PM flight. At 4PM I listened to my intuition, something inside me said to just stick with the 2:30PM flight.

He was scheduled on the 4:30PM flight, but got to the airport late at 4PM and was told he would not make it in time to the gate but he could try for the 2:30PM delayed flight.

B. When he went through TSA security he had an item that was a small car part he was carrying on and TSA was giving him a hard time about it, to the extent they were not going to let him through. It just so happened that the ticket agent, Oscar, who helped him get on the delayed 2:30PM flight was passing by headed to his lunch break at this time. Oscar told TSA he was okay and to let him through and they did. As we know that never happens.

C. He has his own procurement company and he could have easily ordered the car part and had it shipped to him, but he loved to travel, especially to Los Angeles, so he decided to come and get it himself. He has lived in Houston for over 12 years and I lived in Houston three years ago for 10 years and we never met. This was evidently the right time.

D. I was seated in the window seat of 7A and originally a very cranky woman was seated on the opposite side After the flight was delayed she got rebooked and that became my future man’s seat.

Long story short, after I flirted with him by smiling during the plane ride I felt like my mission was accomplished and I didn’t really think twice anymore about this 6’4″ good looking stranger I had just encountered.

Once we landed I was still completely satisfied that would be the last time I saw him and went on my merry way. Around 10PM I ended up bumping into him again. I was on the way to the airport bathroom while responding to two guys telling me how beautiful I was and how they loved my smile. HE finally said, “Everybody wants to talk to you.”

I just smiled and he knew I was headed to the bathroom and said to me with the prefect mix of masculinity and control, “Go ahead, I’ll wait on you.”

#YES!

The rest is history.

finding yourself

Channon and her man taking a selfie on the road

5. How’d you stay in touch?

We talked in that airport for about 2 1/2 hours and then got on the phone till 6:30am the next morning. We talked about family, relationships, running a business and of course travel and the places we wanted to go. On our third date we planned our first day trip together to Belize which just so happened to be around Valentine’s day.  Other places we have visited: Chicago, Nashville, Honolulu and Panama. Be careful what you ask for because right now we are in a long distance relationship in which we see each more often when we are traveling; but I really can’t complain about that.

6. You’ve call travel your “Match.com.” How so?

I have done the online thing. It just was not for me. I got everything I wanted plus more at the airport traveling that I could have never found online: not just a man who loves to travel, but someone who was serious about being in a committed relationship, a successful entrepreneur, a very secure man who doesn’t even use social media, and very tall and handsome to name a few — all turn-ons for me.

That night before I met him, I also told my girlfriends I was going to use the airport and traveling as my flirting ground, thus my match.com because I spend a lot of time in the airport traveling. Flirting and getting out there again allowed me to get back into my own feminine energy, which was another part of honoring who I am.

finding yourself

Nashville, one of the many great places Channon and her love have visited together. Photo courtesy of Jessie Festa.

7. What has your experience of letting go even when it was hard taught you?

Always, always, always honor how you feel which is listening to your intuition. I love to say, “Intuition isn’t anything, it’s EVERYTHING.” It is your guide in life. My intuition was yelling at me not to get into that relationship because I truly wasn’t feeling it. It also taught me that freedom is the number one feeling I love to feel, and traveling grants me that feeling. It is a vital ingredient to my happiness recipe and for me living to my fullest potential

Tweet: #Freedom is a vital ingredient to my happiness recipe and for me living to my fullest potential http://bit.ly/1F9iTYW #inspire #quote #ttot

8. On your travel and lifestyle blog, ChannonDade.com, you teach “life lessons with a twist.” Can you share one of these life lessons with us?

I will share my biggest and favorite life travel lesson, which is something I have come to live by and is my personal travel motto: “Travel, it’s all about the journey, the destination is just dessert!”

People focus so much on the destination, which is truly a treat, but what about the reason we travel in the first place? Whatever those reasons are: freedom, get away, relaxation, we lose that in those moments before and after when you get stressed out packing, getting the kids to bed after a trip, rushing from work to catch a flight; once we are at that destination are you really in the moment of that environment with whomever or whatever you’re engaged with?

Also, so often people brag about their travels through pictures and videos versus sharing what they learned about themselves, the actual destination, the culture or just life in general while being there. They put up this “posterboard” vs something so much more valuable. This to me is extremely boring and disappointing.

Instead of just bragging about my travels, I like to be about my travels and share what the journey teaches me about: life, myself, the destination; being in the moment of that travel journey and sometimes the lessons I learn before and after a trip. I am doing this through Channon Travels which are short video clips that give life travel lessons about the destination/travel journey and my website, ChannonDade.com, that features photos from my travels and a travel blog.

finding yourself

Photo courtesy of Stuart Caie

9. For couples looking to plan their first trip together, what essential advice would you give them for strengthening their relationship?

You can’t travel with everyone, so it’s a great way to learn about a person you are considering being in relationship.  There a few things to consider:

  • If it is early in the relationship I advise doing a day trip first where you don’t stay overnight, especially if you’re not at that level of intimacy yet. Don’t force the intimacy just because there is only one hotel room.
  • Discuss in detail — before planning anything — how they define fun, how they define romance and what’s at the top of their trip to-do list. Not only will discussing these three basics will get you both excited about doing these things on the trip, but it will also help make your trip more meaningful.
  • After the trip, on the plane or in the car on your return home discuss what you enjoyed most, what you thought were the best parts of the trip and how you could incorporate activities into your real lives back home to ensure you share those same feelings of enjoyment on a regular basis.  You’ll be able to subconsciously associate those good feelings with your partner on a regular basis, and not just when you travel.

Tweet: #Travel, it’s all about the journey. The destination is just dessert! http://bit.ly/1F9iTYW #inspire #quote #ttot

10. What destinations have been your favorite/least favorite for romantic travel? Why?

Romantic destinations to me are really about what you as the couple define as your love language to be. The destination is just an enhancement of that romance between the two of you.  Hence if sense of touch — which it is for us — is a part of your love lingo, and holding hands while walking along a beach sunset would be romantic, then look to places that have the best beach sunsets around, like Sydney, Bali and Maui.

If going somewhere culturally different speaks to your romantic bone but you’re on a budget, I would say going to one of the islands off of Belize like San Pedro or Caye Caulker Islands are great.

If your romantic vibe is all about quality time with one another then fine dining on the waters of Puerto Vallarta or even a cute little fish shack along the coast lines of Jamaica would be absolutely perfect.

For those who dream of finding a romantic partner to travel with, what would you tell them?
Don’t anticipate it. Don’t wait for him/her. Don’t look for him/her. Instead focus 1,000% on you and what you want to do with your life. While doing that enjoy being single and/or letting someone go because you will no longer be wasting their time and, more importantly, yours. And of course, don’t forget to flirt, flirt, flirt, flirt, flirt ….especially while traveling solo in the airport/ airplane.

finding yourself

About Channon Dade

While working part-time for the airlines, Channon was able to pursue her professional acting career full time.  TV commercials, soap operas, touring theatrical productions, hosting, emceeing, speaking and movies combined with her 16 years in the travel industry quickly coined her as “The Traveling Actress” in both arenas. Moreover, with over 20+ international destinations under her travel belt, she naturally produces and hosts an inspirational travel show entitled: Channon’s Travels on her travel blog www.channondade.com. With this, Channon gets to share life travel lessons as she fills up her happiness recipe with all her favorite ingredients because as she says: “Travel: its all about the Journey the destination is just dessert.”

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much Jessie! It is such a delight to share my story and see it on your fabulous blog! I am so enjoying all the great information you share….thanks for these gifts!

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