I first met Roland Largay seven years ago at Luxury Travel Advisor’s first birthday celebration. The funny thing for me, besides Roland, was that he wasn’t invited. Somehow, he found out about the event and decided to make the drive from Connecticut. Why wouldn’t Roland come? He practically invented the modern day luxury travel advisor. As only Roland would do, he entertained the crowd at Luxury Travel Advisor’s first anniversary with magic tricks and jokes. Everyone loved Roland and he made a lot of money and booked a lot of travel as a result of that love. So it is only appropriate that his request was for everyone to hold a party on his behalf after he passed away. A big party. The “Roland Love Fest 2.0,” which took place this weekend, was a costume party, or, as the invitation read, “Come dressed in ethnic garb from your favorite destination.” Of course, there were magicians, fire eaters, belly dancers and storytellers narrating tales of Roland’s love and the way he touched so many lives.
What I learned from Roland Largay was that people like doing business with those they like and that if you weren’t having fun, you weren’t working. This same mantra is mirrored by Amanda Klimak and Paul Largay (shown left) and the entire Largay Travel family. Roland will be missed, but he left a legacy much bigger than his agency. If you were privileged to spend some time with him, you would know this. He taught everyone to enjoy life, to laugh, and to be kind. How could you not do business or build a friendship based on those principles?
|Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso (a.k.a. the Spanish matador), with a cardboard cutout of Roland in his Micato Safaris garb. I’m on the right in my traditional Chinese changshan. Guess who got the last laugh?...ROLAND!|