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Banishing Burnout for Travel Entrepreneurs - Eva Tornallyay

Born in Hungary, raised in Africa, and later retreating to Barcelona, Eva has worked in tourism for over 20 years. After experiencing burnout as an entrepreneur, she now works as a coach with a mission to help travel professionals be more productive while avoiding burnout. Check out her full story below!

What was your life like growing up?

I was born in Hungary, but my family moved to Nigeria when I was 10. That experience, being a teenager in an English language, multicultural environment more or less defined the rest of my life. I loved being there, loved that my friends were from all over the world, and loved all the new experiences that came with being in the middle of Africa. It was a huge adventure! My love for travel and cultures has only grown since then.

What are you currently working on?

I am a coach, and I work with professionals, freelancers and business owners, who do great work, but are tired and demotivated, to bring the fun back into their lives and work/business. I’m also an organizational development team coach.

Since travel and cultures are a huge part of who I am, I’m putting together retreats to different places in the world, where we work on issues related to business and work. I'm also starting a business development coaching/consulting program for tourism related companies.

With my past, when I owned and managed a travel agency, where I successfully negotiated with over 60 countries, and signed exclusive contracts with huge brands, like Princess Cruises, hotel chains, and also many other great products, I think I have a lot to offer to businesses, which I wish to grow. Especially if they are tourism related.

How was the idea for your business born?

I worked in tourism for over 20 years, including a 5-star hotel, then a big tour operator company, and finally my own, boutique agency, which I managed for 10 years.

But I grew very tired, not just due to work, but also a lot going on in my private life, so I decided to sell it. It was a tough decision, as I loved the agency, but I knew I could not lead it the way I wanted to, I was so tired. After that I went on a sabbatical and moved to Barcelona.

I was so lost, in the middle of burnout, when I moved to this amazing city. I had no idea where I was going. Not having any experience outside of tourism was scary, especially when I realized I don't want to go back to tourism, the way I used to be in it. I loved travelling, I loved meeting people from so many cultures, but I wanted to do something different, and wanted to be able to set my own schedule.

I had a coach, and we figured out that I still want to work with people, but as a freelancer, and she suggested for me to have a look at coaching. She said with my business knowledge, strategic thinking, being able to listen well, and being straightforward, I could be of great help to people who are stuck.

The final decision for me to move ahead with coaching was when I was walking with a friend on the beach of Barcelona, we were in a discussion about his life, and I asked him a question that stopped him in his tracks. He turned to me and said: “That was the best question I ever got. Why don't you become a coach? You are already a coach!”

So that was it, I signed up for the best coaching courses, and a bit later started my new business.

How do you balance the demands of a job and daily life with nurturing this dream?

A lot of what I do, does not seem like a job. I was always good at creating projects for myself, even as an employee, so I try to create stuff that I enjoy being in.

I’ve learned to work around my most important strengths, which helps me stay engaged, and I also work a lot on myself, to choose the right track for moving forward. I do have a coach from time to time, who helps me stick with my dreams. And of course, I travel. :) Whenever I can.

What has been your boldest career or life change?

I would say, giving myself permission. Permission to stop, take time off, and do things differently.

How would you like to impact the travel industry?

The people working in the travel industry are deeply dedicated to their work in showing how beautiful the world is. I would like to help them become more productive, but also to avoid burnout. If they can do this, they will have more possibilities to share their amazing stories.

We all know travel can bring us to unexpectedly * magical * moments. Tell us about one you’ve experienced.

I have so many....:) One of the most incredible ones were, when I once went to Mexico for a month, and I was staying at a small hotel in Tulum. I noticed a middle-aged lady, who I had seen the day before, and was also alone, like me.

I go up to strangers quite easily, so I went up to her, said hello, and asked what she was doing here. We started a conversation, then she said she hated eating alone, so we buddied up for a couple of dinners, and also to visit a beach nearby.

On this beach she told me she was from Switzerland, spending 12 weeks in Mexico of her sabbatical from her high school teaching job. She was a kind of an introvert, not talking a lot about herself. However, when she found out that I'm Hungarian, she said she has a friend in Switzerland, called Edit, who also has a friend in Hungary, whose name is also Edit.

I literally almost fainted with excitement, and I asked her: does this Hungarian Edit have an English husband? She said yes!

So, guess what, in a tiny village in the middle of Mexico, I started a conversation in a small hotel with a strange lady, who knew someone I worked with 25 years ago in a 5-star hotel in Budapest, and with whom I’d been in contact since then. :) The world IS small.

How are you using what you've been given in life to bring more good to the world? (Or how would you like to?)

I tell a lot of stories about my multicultural background, to show people that there’s so much to learn from others. I also try to get diverse people to sit down, and talk. We need people to listen more, to talk more and to ask more questions, instead of passing judgement.

In my work, I often show examples of what I’ve learnt from other cultures, and how I use this knowledge in my daily life.

I’ve recently started offering masterminds for freelancers, where I put emphasis on inviting people from diverse backgrounds to be members, so that they can maximize learning. So far it’s working well. 😊

In what way(s) are you working on being a better person lately?

I'm always developing myself professionally, which means we get to work on ourselves too, on a deep level. So, becoming more aware of what I do, and growing self-reflection can make me a better person, I think.

Want to learn more about Eva's coaching programs? Click here to visit her website and follow her on Facebook!