It was a simple gathering in a glamorous space. The Starlite Room is tucked away from most commerce on India Road, where it simply skirts the freeway. It sits at the bottom of a hill spotted with townhouses and homes. There’s a jumble of other businesses nearby – a light bulb store, a doggie day camp and a few other bars. On this night it was the location for the San Diego gathering of Travel Massive.
Ours is a relatively new group. The first meeting was at another trendy spot, Wang’s in North Park, where everyone was eager to see the recently renovated space. What once was a large department store, complete with mezzanine and basement joined by escalator, now housed an artsy, fusion cuisine restaurant and bar. It’s artfully lit. Large scale paintings, floating projections and a huge sculpted tree conspire well to warm the cavernous, open space.
That first meeting brought together tour operators, a bridal destination company, a travel store owner, limo and yacht owner, travel bloggers and internet marketers. We toasted, traded stories and promised to meet again. It had taken a good six months to accomplish from the first time I discovered Travel Massive. I watched with satisfaction as business cards were passed and knew that the group had finally landed in San Diego.
But last night, our third gathering was something special. We were writers, entrepreneurs and tour operators, a camera operator for a film company specializing in travel videos, a graphic designer and her husband – the frequent flier specialist. But the sum was much larger than the parts.
Ensconced in two deeply upholstered corner tables we turned to one another and introductory stories spilled out. Each of us had such unique niches and the excitement, curiosity and well lubricated (the cocktails were generous) interest just kept building over the few hours we spent together.
It was an inter-generational party – Carl, with his passion about historical sites and genuine interest urged on our conversations. I felt a bit like Gertrude Stein, overseeing one of her salons. Laura, our Italian tour specialist, charmed us with her insouciance and tales of Italy.
After settling with our sweetly attentive waiter and finishing off several delicious happy hour plates we started our goodbyes. The conversations spilled out onto the sidewalk and it was hard to part. Perhaps you’ll join our happy party or you’ll start a chapter of Travel Massive in your community. I hope you do.
Elaine J. Masters
Travel writer, co-host of San Diego’s Travel Massive.
Travel ease books and audio for flyers and drivers at: www.DrivetimeYoga.com