The kickoff to Thanksgiving is always special to me because it’s right around the time we launched Galavante in 2011. Twelve years ago, our website was an atrocity, I cower in shame at our early articles and, wow, we just didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. My old colleagues, whether or not they would admit it really thought that I had a psychotic break with reality when I came up with Galavante. I think the joke was that Wall Street had broken me and I was pursuing a ridiculous business venture.
Fortunately though, some things are meant to be. That, and/or we were just really determined to never give up. Twelve years later, here we are, and it has been an adventure that I never imagined. To say that we’re thankful is an understatement because I know it is a privilege to do what you love. And likely if you’re reading this, you’re part of the group for whom – if we sit back and look at it objectively – life is way too good.
A Look at Twelve Years of Galavante
This marks the 12th year that I’ve had the privilege to write our Thanksgiving Founder’s note and share my musings on life. It’s always reflective for me of how far we’ve come, and how much I love going to work everyday. It’s also coincidentally National Entrepreneur Day on November 24th. Yes, Galavante is a luxury travel and lifestyle company, but at the end of the day, we are a team of entrepreneurs.
The Impetus for Galavante
When I worked in finance, one of the most important lessons I learned was to be truly successful, you have to love what you do. That realization came to me in our Park Avenue offices as I saw the head of our group command a room of still some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with. He’ll remain nameless, but he was the inspiration for Gordon Gecko, who Michael Douglas played in the movie Wall Street. GG, we’ll call him, was on fire about a project we were working on, and clearly top of his game. It was that passion I saw in him that made me realize that while I liked my job, I was never going to love it like him.
That moment put the wheels in motion and inspired me to pursue what should have been a pipe dream, but became Galavante. Aside from what we do at the Galavante in The World Foundation, being the CEO of Galavante has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Even the hard days have not felt like work. I will gratefully say that I found that same fire I saw in GG, over a dozen years ago. .
Life as an Entrepreneur
My friend Ivelisse who is a private equity investor says that being an entrepreneur is a series of near-death life experiences. For the first 5 years of our business, that was certainly the case. If you make it past that 5-7 year mark though, you start to get perspective. Over time we got confident that we could handle pretty much anything.
As an entrepreneur, many of us learn to be even keel in order to maintain a clear head, and some days survive. Part of being even keel sometimes means not rejoicing in the highs, and not letting the lows get you down. Recently though we had a dear friend of mine, Sabrina Elba, join our Executive Producer team for our travel show. Sabrina – I will say that I did a fist pump when you came on to give us your generous light and energy.
As I sat down to write my Founder’s Note this month, the timing felt right to talk about the company behind the travel, and being thankful at this time of year. We’ve recently had the most important meetings for Galavante since I started the company. We’re far from certain of what’s going to happen next, but something really beautiful is coming together. I don’t want to be over-optimistic, but I feel that these meetings could be the start of something important. We’ve worked really hard to get here, but we’ve had a heck of a time along the way.
Thank you to all of you for the most incredible 2023, especially all of you who have followed Galavante since the start. We would not be here today without you, and you’ve given me personally a chance to pursue one of the great passions of my life. There’s only more in store, and we’re looking forward to what the future will bring, while enjoying every moment. Like I said before, it’s been one heck of a ride.
Wishing you a Thanksgiving and holiday season filled with family, friends, and of course travel.
All the Best,
Christine Drinan, Founder