Accessible Travel Agent Tami Blockman on Power On: LIVE!

– Hi. We promised to be back, and we are, in fact, back. And we are live because that’s the way we like to do it. Especially since we’re calling this the live episode of Power On, it has to be this way. And we love it. And we also love our next guest. This is fascinating. Tami Blockman is a travel agent. But she’s not just a travel agent. It’s much more than that. And she’s going to tell us exactly how much more and why. – Oh gosh. – And everything else. Tami, don’t be nervous. – I am nervous, folks, so I just gotta put that out there. If I fumble on my words,
because I’m nervous. But it’s good. – Look, I do it all the time so it’s okay. Now I said that you’re a travel agent but much more. You have a longer title. Tell us your title. – Oh gosh. My title — I have
completed the certification with the special needs group to become a certified special needs travel advocate. So that means that my role is to help those that need assistance with travel and any type of equipment they need on that piece. But I’m also working on towards my autism certification for a travel agent as well. Because I have a grandson who has Down’s Syndrome, my heart, my travel dog, and I
have to make sure that when we go places, I’m making sure his needs are taken care of. And with that, I just think that everybody else may have some challenges and how can I help them? – So was he the reason that you got — – He’s is my sole reason
that I started this. – Yeah, okay. – He is my sole reason. – Were you a travel agent before that? – I was. – Okay. – But I wasn’t sure what —
see, there I go rappin — – That’s okay. – What my niche was going to be but once he was born, and, you know, as we started doing things, I started thinking, “Well, there’s certain things he didn’t like to do.” Elevators. Now he’s seven, which makes it a big challenge because he’s kinda big for me to try and pick up, so I have to trick him to get on this elevator now. But I have to be mindful of that, so that we’re not going up too many flights and having to come down too many flights. So just those type of things that I know if he has some issues, others have issues as well. – Does he have an issue with escalators, or just elevators? – We haven’t tried the escalator. That we have not tried. But the elevators, even when he was little he just, the elevators. But I think most kids are, but, with him it’s a little bit more intense. – Yeah. – But with that, yeah, I
just started looking at the means, and I want him to travel with me. I told my daughter she can come, she’s welcome, but it’s really gonna be me and him, but I need to make sure that he’s enjoying the experience. – Right. – And not, you know, shutting down, or just doesn’t want to participate because he’s not sure. – Now how many of your type of discipline is there out there? – Um, from my understanding there’s quite a bit now. – Oh, okay. – The market is becoming really big. Folks are starting to really understand inclusion is important. – Mm-hm. – Because I have a disability doesn’t mean I can’t get out there and travel. – Sure. – And a lot of people wanna travel. They just don’t know how to do it and what to look for. And that’s my role. Let me do the research. Tell me what you’re looking for. We’ll get it all planned and have a good trip. Send me pictures, and call me when you get back. – Yeah, it can be intimidating. – Yes, very intimidating
when you don’t know. I sat in on a presentation with a lady that did international travel with disabilities and it was excellent because she talked about exactly that. The pre-planning. – Mm-hm. – The knowing of the things that she needs and then following up to find out what does the hotel offer me, is it accessible, what does the transportation look like, you know, making sure
that I have the things what I need on the plane when I get in the plane. What does that look like
to get on the plane? Just the planning. And it’s really all about planning. Doesn’t mean you can’t go. You just gotta plan accordingly. – Right. But to some people that
would take a lot of time. – It would take a lot of time – And they don’t have it. – Or they don’t have the
technology to look that up. – Exactly. Or the resources. – So this is where
someone would go to you. – Somebody will come to me. – They would go to you — – Right – And say, “I wanna take a trip to Greece” let’s say. – Right. – And then the first thing you do is what? – The first thing I’m
gonna do is I’m gonna just start asking questions, you know. If you have a disability,
what does that look like? What type of needs do you, you know? What are some of your challenges? That’s probably the first
thing I would wanna know. Because then that’s the first thing that needs to get addressed. And start looking at those areas. But I’m gonna pick your brain, and ask every particular
question I can think of to make sure any challenge that could come up, we’ve addressed it. – And you look at where they’re going. – Where they’re going. – And what is there as well. – What’s there. – Wow. – If they want to do an excursion, I want to look at what
does that look like. Are you gonna walk an excursion, is it just a flat surface, is it gravel stone, can you do it, how far is it. Just the whole thing. – Yeah but that’s a tremendous amount of work. – It is. – That you’re taking away from someone who’s just trying to go and enjoy – And enjoy – Their life. – That’s it. – Yeah. That is fantastic. – That’s what I wanna offer you. To be able to go and enjoy your trip, have great memories so that you can come back and, “Tami, that was awesome. That was just great.” And then you think
about it ten years later and say, “You know, I went on one of the best trips. She made it very easy for me, she listened to all of my needs, she addressed everything, and she made sure that it was all a part of my trip. And I thank her.” – That’s amazing. – That’s all I need. – Yeah. – And that’s amazing. That’s your reward. – That’s my reward. That I know you had a good time. – Now I’m good with ideas, but I’m not good with follow through, just for full disclosure here, Tami. – Okay. – And you have brochures,
travel brochures. – I do. – And they’re just
regular travel brochures. – Just regular travel brochures. – So my idea is that, why don’t you go ahead and take the initiative, because you’re smart already, – (laughs) – And you’re driven, obviously. – He says that, but I don’t know (laughs). – I know, I know. – (laughs) – And what if you were
to take one of those and turn it into something that could benefit someone with special needs. So you came up with basically your own travel brochure that had all the information, or
as much of the information as you could put into this one publication that would help someone. – Well you know that would be tricky, because everybody has
a different disability. Different challenges. – Good point. – Different needs, – Good point. – So I really couldn’t tailor it to just one. – True. – Because what your challenge would be wouldn’t be the same as someone else. – Good point. – So it would be different. – So it’s just really a matter of how we’re having a conversation. Just having a conversation. – Wow. – And not being afraid to ask the questions. And hopefully, you know, making it clear to folks I’m not really not trying to be offensive or get all in your business, but this is how I’m gonna help you and I need to know certain things. That’s it. – I think this is fantastic, cause I know that probably a few decades ago people would just be resigned to the fact that they can’t go. – That is the case. Well you know it’s really interesting cause today there were a few people that came by my table like “Oh, no no no no, I don’t travel.” “Why?” – Yeah. – “Why not?” “Oh, no no no. It’s too difficult” or “I don’t have a travel partner” or, you know, something that came up. And I’m like, “What if I told you I can help you with that? What if I could do all the research and we could sit down and go over everything you could possibly think of that would go wrong in your mind. – Yeah. – And let me find out and fix that.” – Ah. – Everyone can travel. It’s just how do we do it? And getting with the
right person to help you. – And I bet people didn’t
walk away from the table. – No they didn’t. – “Mister could you please
sign on my right here and make sure you take my card?” – (laughs) – “Think about it.” – That is fantastic. – “Take a brochure.” Because again, they’re
just regular brochures. – Mm-hm. – Nothing fancy about them. – No. – Nothing and, you know,
but it’s all about me and what I’m gonna provide for you. – Yeah, and all your time. – That’s really what it is. – And your knowledge, and your caring. – And I’m gonna take all that headache away from you, and make you a wonderful trip. And again, the goal is that you go and have a great time, and you’re not worried about, “Dang, is this gonna be okay for me?” Or, “What about this?” Because we’ve looked at everything. – So how can people get
more information on you since you’re such a bastion of knowledge? – Well, they can send me an email. My email address is Oh excuse me, I guess, well
that’s my email address You can send me an email. My phone number, don’t mind sharing it on YouTube either, cause if
you’ve been on my Facebook page you already have it, so it’s (707)563-4166 is how I can be reached. But, call me. – Fantastic. – Let me help you. – Yeah. – You know they got me
up here talking live on YouTube, so somebody please call me. – That’s right. She earned it. – Please. – She earned it. She needs your business. – I really did. – (laughs) – My hands over here sweating. Seriously. – And really the idea is that they’re doing it for themselves. – Yeah. It’s all about you guys. – Right. – We just wanna make sure that you have a good time. And are not afraid to travel. Life is too short to, you know, just feel like, “I can’t do something because…” There’s always a way. – Yeah. – Always a way. – Don’t let fear stop you. – Always a way. – Tami Blockman. – Like I got up here. I was scared, but I did it. – You did it. – I did it. – And you did a great job. – Thank you, Rafael. – Tami Blockman, travel
agent for people with special needs. Thank you so much for joining us. And we’ll be back with some more Power On LIVE right after this.

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