"Do I look okay?" I asked.
A quick zipper-check, a sip of water, and the producer of Kansas City Live was whisking me on-set during commercial break.
After my TEDTalk-like presentation at 1 Million Cups, I was invited by KC Live to come on their show to talk about my concept of IntroverTravels.
To some people, a local morning talk show is small peanuts, but to us introverts, those studio lights can certainly make our palms and 'pits sweat!
My nervousness instantly melted to enthusiasm as I shared my concept and story - as well as a few introverted travel recommendations - with the super-friendly co-host, Michelle Davidson. While I have no desire to be on TV every day, I get so passionate about my small travel business that I can't help but want to spread the word.
[KANSAS CITY LIVE INTERVIEW WITH JACOB MAREK TRANSCRIPT]
Michelle Davidson, KC Live (MD): Want to take a solo trip, but not sure where to go or what to do on your own? Well, Jacob Marek, founder of IntroverTravels is here to help. Very clever, how you combined introverts and travels.
Jacob Marek, IntroverTravels (JM): Thank you.
MD: OK, so where did you come up with this idea to help encourage folks who may like to travel but don't want to be in big crowds?
JM: Sure, well, I was actually on a solo hiking trip in southern Utah several years ago, and I had this epiphany. I was all alone, just me and Mother Nature, and I realized that I needed a life that was filled with nature, travel, and a little bit of adventure. Although I didn't realize it at the time, the seed for IntroverTravels was planted and 6 months later, I launched my business, and here are are.
MD: OK, so how does it work? Obviously, there are a lot of travel agencies out there, but this is something a little different.
JM: Correct. We're an online travel agency, so obviously I cater to introverts; these are Bucket List-type trips for people who are curious about the world in which we live. These trips emphasize nature, culture, and history, and are really designed to change your life and challenge you in some ways or change your perspective on things.
MD: I Have to tell you, I think about the book and movie "Wild" with Reese Witherspoon, and I wonder are there safety concerns when you travel alone? I know when you travel abroad, a lot of people say, "stay in groups!"
JM: To a certain extent, but I think there is an bit of a misconception about introverts being solo travelers. Counter-intuitively, I think that introverts are perfect for small groups, being able to share these mind-blowing experiences with like-minded people. Of course, there comes some challenges for safety, so I encourage people to not hike alone, but if you're with a travel buddy or a significant other or friend, it can be a really enjoyable experience to share that with someone else.
MD: And like-minded that maybe you need to separate a bit, have some time alone. Is that what an introvert means? Is that part of it?
JM: I recommend with my clients a 2:1 travel-planning ratio, with 2 parts rest and re-charge time to 1 part mind-blowing experience. So I encourage people to do yoga on the lanai or read a book in their underwear, if that's what you want to do, but I want to give you those goosebumps once or twice a day!
MD: What's the perfect vacation for an introvert? And what would you recommend?
JM: I recommend going to places that are vast and expansive, with relatively few tourists, so I think places like the Galapagos Islands are fantastic for nature nerds, Machu Picchu is great, Iceland if you want to see the Northern Lights. Southeast Asia has so much culture and history. So these Bucket List trips that change your lives and pique your curiosity about the world.
MD: And bottom line, we should encourage everyone to travel. We talk about studies that say people don't use up their vacation time.
JM: Absolutely. It can be a wonderful to re-charge your batteries and to come back to the Real World re-invigorated. It might even change the way you see things.
MD: How do introverts respond to this vacation idea that appeals to that specific type of personality?
JM: I think ti's been really well-received from other introverts, because I come at it from a place that emphasizes our unique personality types; these aren't going to be filled with activities the entire time. These aren't places where you have organized dinners every night. You can go out and find a restaurant that you enjoy or find a travel buddy who you click with and have dinner with them. Take time for yourself, so I approach it from the perspective of my clients rather than the traditional travel agency mold.
MD: And there are a lot of moms and dads out there who want a little break from the chaos and maybe need a little solo trip on your own, when you're around lots of people.
JM: Yes, and parents can reconnect and have a wonderful vacation together!
MD: I like that. Thank you so much for joining us and safe travels!
JM: Thanks for having me!