zero to ten with Ashley Theis

Making the decision to jump head first into your own business  and quit your day job can be a little terrifying for most. Add to that a global pandemic and the fact that your business is a travel agency and travel is mostly impossible, and you’ve basically hit the trifecta.

But that’s exactly what Ashley Theis, the owner of The Constant Wayfarer, did. For four years, Ashley worked full time for a church in Charlotte and part time for her travel agency. In February 2020 she remembers telling her boss that 2020 was going to be her last year before she took her small business full time.

“And then March hit,” she says with a laugh.

hygge coworking’s owner Garrett Tichy caught up with Ashley over a year and a half after their previous conversation for Support Local or Else, a local initiative led by hygge and Black Wednesday encouraging folks to support local businesses. The initial conversation focused on how Ashley was reacting to the statewide shutdown and what the travel restrictions meant for her business.

On this Zero to Ten episode, though, Garrett and Ashley talk much more about how Covid-19 affected her business, whaat it looks like as the Delta variant approaches and her overall journey.

The start of the pandemic was the most difficult, Ashley remembers, as other countries and states completely shut down and put strict limits on traveling, if they allowed it at all. Because one of the major ways travel agents are paid is through commissions on things like hotels, tours and experiences, this meant a big hit to Ashley’s income.

At this point she was still full time with the church she worked for, but in October they started looking to furlough or lay off employees, so Ashley volunteered. It was a scary decision, but she was going to get a stipend through the end of the year and Mexico and the Caribbean had opened up to travel again, so she decided to make the jump to The Constant Wayfarer full time.

“Even though it was really scary, because it was like I’m going full time in a time when no one is traveling, I had so much peace about it and it felt like the exact right time of what I was supposed to do,” she says.

If we could describe this conversation using one word, it would be hopeful. Ashley seems positive about the future, even as travel requests have slowed again due to the Delta variant. And she has no regrets about going full time with her business because it’s allowed her the time to grow, focus and network in a way she couldn’t before.

“I think everybody’s journey is a little different with that,” she says. “When the time is right, you’ll just know.”

To listen to the full episode, scroll up or find Zero to Ten wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.

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