Introduction to Destination Dreams

For our first blog post, we’d like to introduce you to our Lead Travel Designer, Miranda. She joined our team to help us launch this exciting adventure into the wonderful world of traveling.

Miranda: Hi everyone! Let me begin by saying how much I love working with our clients to design the perfect travel plan that fits who they are and not just pull a package from the shelf. Nine years ago, my girls and I move from Virginia to North Dakota and ever since that day we continue to find new things that we love about this beautiful state. We live in Bismarck with our 2 dogs and during the summers, you will find us cooling off at the lake or hiking in  the Medora area. In the winter you can usually find us bingeing Netflix and staying warm under blankets. But we also love to travel and those cold winter days provide an excuse for us to go see the world which has led us to seeing some fantastic destinations. One of my personal favorites (so far) is Ireland. In a future post, I’ll share with you just how amazing this little green gem is and highly recommend you add it to you must travel locations. Of course who doesn’t like to just relax near the ocean and listen to the waves so Mexico/Caribbean are always on the list of destinations for us. For my future travel plans, one place I’d really like to see is Croatia. I know what you’re thinking and a lot of people also think that’s strange, but trust me; it’s beautiful and offers so many opportunities to take in and explore!

I didn’t always want to be a travel agent. When I was younger I thought I’d be an astronaut or even train dolphins. But I also wanted to explore the world.  “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” was one of my favorite shows growing up, and it helped spark my curiosity about far away places. I used to dream about traveling the world full-time, experiencing new cultures and only staying in one place long enough to make enough money to go to the next. Maybe that will still happen one day, but for now, I’m loving helping others find their passion for exploring new places.

In 2018, Carl Clemetson, founder of Hometown Elegance Event Catering & Productions, approached me to join their events team. Through a series of conversations about developing a better all inclusive service for their brides that included managing their wedding room blocks, Destination Dreams evolved from just room block service into a full agency. It was a chance meeting years ago while I was the events coordinator at a local nonprofit. It started with Hometown Elegance providing the catering for our annual fundraising banquet in Minot, and I was always impressed and grateful that he made sure that things were done above and beyond in everything they did for us.

When I was asked to join the team, I’d been a travel agent for over 5 years and an events coordinator for almost a decade. While those two may seem like pretty different jobs, they actually are complimentary to each other! When I was planning events, I learned that the experience matters just as much, if not more, than the final product. The room can look pretty but it’s more important that you and your guests enjoy the experience of celebrating. Through that, I learned to really get to know people, learning their likes and dislikes, and helping them turn what they were picturing in their minds into reality.  I also learned that sometimes people would come wanting one thing, but as we talked, we found out they wanted something completely different. Traveling isn’t just about the destination you are going to. It starts from the moment you leave your home to head to the airport and ends when you unlock your front door when you return home. The entire experience is what’s important to us. 

Those things I learned before are just as important when planning your vacation! I like to get to know who you are and what your life is like. This helps me really get a feel for what I call your “Vacation Personality.” I’ve learned that just as people have unique personality traits that make them who they are, they also have unique ways they like to experience their vacations. Do you want everything planned out for you, or do you want some time to explore on your own? Are you happiest laying on the beach? By the pool? Or do you want to go scuba diving at some of the premier diving spots in the world? Maybe its zip lining through the jungles of Central America or a Caribbean Island like Jamaica?

Destination Dreams is built on the idea of our parent company and that is: our clients deserve better. My mission as your travel designer is to get to know you as a traveler, learn about the places you’ve been, and what you liked or didn’t like across those experiences. I believe that by meeting face to face over a cup of coffee or talking on the phone is the perfect way to do that. And just like when I was an events coordinator, sometimes people come in thinking they want to go one place, but we end up booking them somewhere different. While meeting together isn’t a requirement for me to book your vacation, it definitely helps me guide you to the destinations best fits you when we do. I genuinely give your vacation the same attention (usually more) I would give my own. Myself and Destination Dreams are here to guide you to the destination you’ve been dreaming about on this great big wonderful world we all call home. I look forward to what the future holds for you as you think about the endless possibilities that are out there to be experienced. 

All the best,

Miranda Van Boven