Sierra Busch started her career in NYC, where she worked for top agencies and startups, planning luxury vacations for private clients. And just for the fun of it, she started a group called Travelistas United for other women entrepreneurs in travel which has grown to more than 350 members. She fell in love with Italy during a semester abroad. During her short stint there, she had discovered a way of living so beautiful that she couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Tell me about yourself?
I fell in love with Italy during a semester abroad. I had studied Italian on my own before going because I wanted to be able to connect with locals. As you can imagine, that opened up the door to experiences I’d never dreamed I would have, like having a long five-course lunch in a family’s home and exploring my Italian friends’ favorite hidden villages. These were the first seeds that would eventually become a dream to lead my small group trips to the lesser-known areas of Italy.
For those unfamiliar with your company, what is the mission of Creative Edge Travel?
We help people have more meaningful travel experiences in Italy by helping them connect with locals on a deeper level. For example, rather than just sipping wine in a beautiful place, we’re talking with the winemaker about what it means to be a winemaker today compared to four generations ago. And how things like global warming or immigration may have impacted production.
Every activity we create is centered around that human-connection element of travel, so we learn about both the beauty and the challenges of being Italian today.
What’s your typical work day like?
I split my time between the US and Italy. If I’m in Italy, I’m likely getting up early to get some emails out then going to check out a new village, farm, artisan studio, B&B, etc. to test it out and gather contacts and resources to use for planning our unique activities. If I’m in the US, I’m working all day on anything from content creation to coordinating interns, building a new ad funnel, dealing with my local partners in Italy to plan a custom trip for a client, or talking with people who are thinking about joining our small group trips. But either way, you can bet I’m sitting at my laptop!
Did you always know you wanted to go into entrepreneurship?
I never used the title “entrepreneur,” but I knew I wanted to run my own thing built around my passions. In high school and college, I had a business custom-designing and hand-painting shoes just as a side project. However, my primary goal since I was 15, was to start my creative arts center. When I first moved to NYC, I was working in an art gallery and pursuing that path, but soon realized I had a unique set of skills that allow me to open the door to authentic Italy for others to have really meaningful experiences.
What are the most interesting and unique stories you have heard from your guests?
Well, I’ve just been surprised and amazed to hear from many people that for them, joining our trip is a lifelong dream that they’d never done but finally feel inspired and motivated to commit to. In that way, I get to go beyond just planning amazing authentic trips for people to helping them step outside their comfort zone to live a fuller life of experience. It’s such an honor.
Even before you know exactly what you want to do, go ahead and join a community of entrepreneurs.
What are 3 most impactful women communities that help spearheaded your business?
Without a doubt, Dreamers & Doers has been hugely influential and crucial to the steps I’ve been able to take to where I am now. Secondly, I was lucky to grow up around many creative women who were wonderful examples of living a life that is honest to who I am. Third, my group of women entrepreneurs called Travelistas United has been a great way for me to find others who work in travel and share similar values around sustainable tourism and cultural conservation.
What’s your advice for women interested in entrepreneurship?
I would say even before you know exactly what you want to do, go ahead and join a community of entrepreneurs. That way you can start by merely watching from the sidelines and learning from their lessons. This is excellent preparation to help you know what to expect.
Building a company is a 24/7 job. How do you practice self-care?
My morning routine is really important to me, and it includes exercise, meditation, and healthy food. I also make sure I live a balanced life, meaning I permit myself to say yes to midday coffee catch ups with friends or a walk outside if I’m hitting a wall. My favorite part of my self-care is that I reserve Saturdays to do whatever I feel like doing at the moment. I can decide what sounds fun that day, whether that’s spending a few hours painting or cooking or taking a long afternoon nap.
Fireside chat: What three things that you always bring when you travel?
I always bring a journal for capturing my reflections, what I’m eating, and the details of the architecture and landscape. I also carry a sound recorder which I use to capture the ambient noises around me when I feel suddenly touched by the beauty of a simple moment. I later use the recording to translate the feeling of that moment into a painting. And finally, I love bringing little gifts for those I meet along the way who have an impact on my journey.