Gwendolyn Houston Jack
A Moment With Sharona
It’s October ya’ll! Yes, the fall season is upon us, and there are folks ready for Halloween and all things pumpkin. It’s also National Women’s Small Business Month, and what better way to start the month than celebrating a woman entrepreneur?
I’m a small business cheerleader, and I’m biased. There is a special place in my small business heart for businesses owned by women. Sorry, not sorry. Today I’m sharing a moment with Sharona D., she’s a New York City specialist and knows all things travel. I will never forget the whale watching trip in Massachusetts. She’s also a joyous human being, so of course, I had to share her story.
Let’s cover the basics first…what’s your name, and who are you?
Sharona! I’m a tour guide and travel guru based in NYC.
Tell us about your social media account, A Day Off With Sharona?
My Instagram and Facebook accounts are a way for me to connect with people and share travel memories, advice, and adventures. I live in NYC and share my POV of this bustling metropolis. When the world opens up again, I will be able to travel and help others plan their own adventures.
Why did you choose to start this venture?
My whole life, I have loved traveling. Prior to social media, I helped people with travel questions, ideas, planning, etc. I made my personal Instagram account public in 2018 and found myself connecting with people through my photos of my life in NYC. The idea of giving tours has long been a goal, so I decided to create a brand. It was a long time in the making! I created the Instagram and Facebook accounts for the brand to help build a following. With that in the works, I launched my website in September 2020!
What do you enjoy most about traveling?
Connecting with people and cultures that are different from mine. Travel opens you up to new experiences. It helps you understand that differences are important. If everyone was the same, what a dull world this would be!
Okay, we’ll ask: favorite travel memory?
That’s not fair! How do I choose between them?!? How about ONE of my favorites? It happens to include you, G! We used to travel for our job. We would usually get 2 or 3 days off during our 2-week trips, and sometimes, we had the same day off together. I was famous for researching the city we were in and finding things to do. We were in Peabody, MA, which is very close to Gloucester. So, I arranged a whale-watching boat trip for all of us on our day off. I loved that all 10 or so of us experienced it together. It was cold (hello...October in New England), and no one complained. We just bundled up and huddled together on the least windy side of the boat! We learned about the beautiful creatures that navigate the oceans. We even caught a few tail shots! G...you made an awesome video from the photos that you took! It was a perfect day with great people.
Ha! That’s one of my favorite trips too! You did an amazing job putting that day trip together. You clearly have a talent in the field. What’s your dream travel location?
Australia! It has always fascinated me. In the last couple of years, I have become Instagram friends with a woman in Melbourne and hope to visit her before her almost 1-year old is old enough to drive. Lol
What advice do you have for other women (young and old) who are looking to start their own travel adventures?
Go. For. It. Women can do anything! Make sure that you do your research. Join women’s travel pages on Facebook, talk to other women who travel. Decide where, when, and with whom (or solo) and get to adventuring!
What one quote reenergizes your spirit when you feel the train is off the track?
“A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” I love this quote, which I heard in the movie Strictly Ballroom. Don’t let fear be the driver of your decisions. If it scares you, it probably means you should do it.
That’s a darn good quote. Living in fear isn’t living. Our current environment has clearly impacted the travel industry. What do you hope for when we are free to travel again?
I hope that people seek to connect with other people. The global pandemic has caused us to keep to ourselves and isolate. Yes, we can connect through technology, but that must not replace the real-life experiences that we need to have in order to keep that essence of being human. Face to face connection. Do not be afraid.
Thank you for sharing more about you and such sage advice. What other ways can readers follow your adventures?
It’s great to have folks like Sharona in this world. We are more than honored to share some of her images from her branding/portrait session with all of you. If you’re a small business owner and you’re ready to tell your story, let’s talk: book a session.