Our Story: Two Sisters Building Livalit Travel
Hello everyone! Livalit Travel co-founders, Molly and Olivia, here. Recently, we’ve been getting (and asking) the question, “how did you get here?” We love to hear about the journey that brought people to where they are right now, so with that in mind we wanted to share a small piece of our story with you.
First off, how did we get into the travel industry? If you know us personally it makes 100% sense but for those of you that don’t, let’s take you back. Molly was born on a rainy day in October… just kidding, we won’t take you THAT far back. Instead we’ll start with when each of us knew that traveling was going to be a major part of our lives…
As a kid, I think my parents wondered if I’d ever break out of my shell. I was quiet and shy up until the summer after my sophomore year of high school when I somehow convinced my parents to let me spend a month living with a host family in Spain. Let me point out that this was in 2005, when you still had to dial into the internet and you couldn’t simply send an iMessage over WiFi to let your folks know that you’re ok. Honestly, I think I only sent them one e-mail the entire time I was gone! Even though I was on my own to find my way back to my host parents’ house every night with no GPS to fall back on (I only got lost a few times), make new friends, and get involved in unfamiliar experiences, I grew more in that summer than any other month of my life. I put myself out there and I met so many incredible people, immersed myself in a new culture, and explored the city every chance I had. Now, I love traveling alone. It forces me to take the leap and open myself up to random people and those few seconds of courage have resulted in unforgettable memories. I think it’s safe to say, now I’m the opposite of quiet and shy!
For me I had two revelations. The first was when I was taking a summer accounting class (read: galivanting with friends) in Florence, Italy. During that month, we took a lot of field trips with our class and while we were about to get on a bus to head out of the city, one of my new friends looked at me and said, “are you always this happy?” That moment is seared into my brain for two reasons. First, I thought to myself the obvious, how could I not be happy in this situation? That led to my next thought, I had found my happy place in traveling. A few years later, I was inspired by this discovery to travel to New Zealand for a year after I graduated college. Here is where I had my second realization, not only had I found my happy place in traveling but I had found a home in the people that I met while traveling. This was my first trip where I was truly alone going into it. I showed up to New Zealand with only my Kindle to keep me company, but I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be alone for long. With every person I met, no matter what our backgrounds were, we always had one commonality, our love for new experiences and people. Those simple similarities made every one of our differences irrelevant and it’s with those people that I now store a piece of my home with all over the world.
From our own life altering experiences, we realized that we wanted to make it our life’s goal to be a catalyst for other people’s instant connections with new people, places, and experiences that would forever change their outlook on life.
So now that we knew what path we wanted to take, we had to decide who we wanted to walk down that path with. For us, it was an easy decision because we’ve always said that we wanted to work together. Just like many others you may have a question ringing in your head, how in the heck do two sisters work together without killing each other? The answer, it’s a balancing act. In the beginning, we had to work hard every day to evolve from an older/younger sister dynamic to a balanced partnership. It was by no means easy as we were breaking habits and recreating roles that we’d spent the last 20+ years mastering, but the process was essential for each of us to find our place in the company. With all partnerships, it is crucial for each person’s strengths and weaknesses to balance out. Luckily for us, we were biologically engineered to complement each other as Molly is Type A (read: control freak) and Olivia is Type B (read: needs to set a lot of reminders). Plus, Molly had a background in planning international trips and Olivia had experience with marketing and design, so our knowledge base was a perfect combination. After we got to the place where we could encourage each other’s strengths and accept our own weaknesses we’ve been exponentially growing as people and entrepreneurs ever since.
Just like us, our business is always evolving, and we’ve hit a sweet spot with our branded tours. Not only are our travelers connecting with people they may not have met outside our tours, but they are doing it over common passions. Whether it’s food, the outdoors, beer, or one of a million other things, having tours curated for each individual community and their interests gives each traveler enough comfort to get uncomfortable. It’s just like how having the comfort of a sister by our side has helped us push outside of our own comfort zones and given us the strength to go on this wild journey as young female entrepreneurs.
Don’t get us wrong, starting a business is frustrating, stressful, and exhausting but the challenges are what make even the small successes that much sweeter. Plus, we consider ourselves lucky to get to work with our best friend, make new friends in our travelers, and show our travelers a piece of the world that has forever changed our lives.