A particular piece of news caught my eye last week when I read about the death of William Haeseler III.
Who, you might ask?
For most people, the name probably doesn’t ring a bell. It didn’t ring a bell for me either but the fact that he spent his life traveling around the world did. The fact that he spent his career as a travel agent did, and the fact that he wrote about his travels in a weekly column got my attention.
Except for obituary mentions, when I googled Mr. Haeseler he doesn’t show up anywhere. I looked for Mr. Haeseler on Facebook and on LinkedIn but didn’t find him there either. It’s possible he had a presence on those social media sites and that his profiles were pulled down quickly, but I don’t think so. What he did have was a presence in the travel industry. Along with his wife, he led tours to remote destinations like Antarctica and Timbuktu. You never hear of anyone going to Timbuktu.
He also won National Geographic’s geography contest. The prize? Around-the-world vacations for him and his wife.
Mr. Haeseler knew his stuff. Originally from North Tonawanda, NY, he traveled to over 150 countries. He even wrote a book, My Whole Life Was A Vacation. His weekly column, Globe Trotting, ran for more than 20 years in his local paper. This guy clearly lived and breathed travel and used his position as a travel agent as a platform to shout about it. That, I’m sure, generated a boatload of business for him within his local community and perhaps even further afield. No one told him it was part of his job, no one told him it wasn’t. I suppose it just seemed natural for him to share his experiences and love of places. It was a passion and when something becomes a passion it injects desire, discovery and inspiration into your personal and professional life and you want to share it. He died at 83.
We could all learn a thing or two from Mr. Haeseler. Travel agents who toy around with writing about their experiences need to come out of the shadows. Be bold, take the first step, trip, fall, get up and do it all over again. Just keep at it, make it a habit. Sound your voice. It may or not be squeaky but the only way to know is to share it.
It’s easy to cuddle up in the arms of resistance but it’s a dangerous place to live if you want to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry.
Thank you Mr. Haeseler for your exploratory spirit on and off the page. Thank you for sharing and for showing us how it’s done.
Read more about William Haeseler III.