Air Force Nurse Prepares Wellness Travel Sales for Take Offby Richard D’Ambrosio /
Service to others is in Wanda Parks’ DNA. It’s why she is a registered nurse in the U.S. Air Force. It’s why she owns Glamorous Adventure Travel and a personal coaching business. So, when she retires, Parks intends to combine her passions into one profession – helping people pursue holistic wellness through travel.
Parks originally entered the nursing field about 25 years ago, after her mother passed away. Married and with three children, Parks took a break after her daughter was born to take nursing school classes, with tuition assistance from her father.
After stints in Germany and Okinawa, among other stations, Parks started her travel business in 2013. She was working at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, where she was able to take advantage of the Air Force’s tuition assistance program to take travel classes. After completing her coursework, Parks searched for a host agency – initially, inadvertently signing with a travel agency multi-level marketing (MLM) program.
In 2016, she was transferred to Arizona, and tested out other host arrangements, eventually settling with Nexion. “At that point, I was taking wellness travel classes through Travel Agent University, and I went through Travel Leaders’ Wellness Specialist program,” Parks said. “Nexion was very supportive of me building my wellness brand.”
Glamorous Adventure Travel focuses on full-service, luxury, all-inclusive travel, with an emphasis on cruises, and today, Parks is a CLIA, Certified Cruise Counselor (CCC), an MSC Cruise Specialist, a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Specialist, and a Crystal Cruise specialist.
Around the same time Parks was launching her travel career, she also was developing a personal coaching business, Success With Wanda, where she seeks to help “motivated, open- minded, health-conscious individuals, design the lifestyle they love while gaining balance in their mind, body and spirit.”
Parks’ personal coaching business focuses on mental and physical health, including guidance for nutritional lifestyle changes, and seeks to help her clients achieve financial freedom. She sees travel as an integral addition to her programs, to help clients achieving overall wellness, and when she retires from the Air Force in about three years, she wants to combine all of her interests under one umbrella company.
“I see the crossover between my wellness business, nursing and travel. I’ve always felt that people want the quick fix in their lives. They’re hoping that a diet will drop the weight. Or the gym will get them healthy. They don’t see that they need all of the pillars of a happy and healthy life, that they have to work on the spiritual, the physical, their environment,” Parks said.
“Travel is one of the pillars,” said Parks, who holds a Master’s degree, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in integrative medicine, and recently self-published the book, “The Reflective Food Journal.”
Parks saw the confluence between her wellness business and travel through the extensive interview process she leverages with all of her wellness consulting clients. “I always want to make certain that my clients and I are good fits for each other,” she said.
When she first meets her wellness clients, Parks said: “They’ll say something like, ‘I’m feeling fatigued.’ Then I will ask them what their stressors are, and what they do for relaxation.” Inevitably, Parks finds herself saying, “Well, you know, travel is a great way to address these issues.”
Parks currently offers a 90-day wellness coaching program, and when her clients achieve a breakthrough, very often she will tell them to add travel as a reward. For others struggling to get to a breakthrough, she might suggest travel as a “great getaway” to help them work on their obstacles.
Similarly, Parks approaches her travel business qualifying questions looking for the deeper needs she can help her clients solve through a perfectly curated itinerary. “Some of the best questions I ask are, ‘What are you looking for in this vacation? What are some goals you have when you travel?’”
This way, Parks said, “if they love adventure travel, I may want to suggest a shore excursion that offers a hike. Wellness can be broad, based on the client’s needs, so pairing them with the right ship, the right itinerary is very important,” she said.
Her holistic approach to travel comes through in one client’s online review of Parks: “Not only did she offer some great deals, she also made sure to give us tips on how to make traveling easier and less stressful.”
“I want to help people see the world, but also see how they are a part of the world, and integrate that wholeness into the way they live,” Parks said.