Talking travel with Vantage Adventure Leader Anne Möllmann and Cruise Director Renata Lovrovic

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Vantage Travel Team March 7, 2021

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we spoke with some of our favorite women Adventure Leaders and Cruise Directors about their experience in travel. We received some invaluable words of advice, too.

Anne Möllmann with Sarah Sweeney

Sarah: When it comes to travel, what has been your inspiration — or who? What other females have inspired you and why?

Anne: The first person I can think of being my inspiration when it comes to travel is my mother. She always talked about how she enjoyed traveling after she finished her education. She told me what an eye-opener travel was for her and how much she learned by traveling.

As soon as I finished my education, my best girlfriend and I booked a European Rail trip and traveled for several weeks through Europe. This experience, seeing new places, meeting so many people from different cultural backgrounds, triggered my never-ending desire to travel more and more.

I always have worked in the hospitality business and could see this as a chance to travel and see the world.

S: What advice do you have for solo travelers? 

A: A lot of people would like to travel, but they might be hesitant to travel solo. My advice: don’t hesitate, book a trip with Vantage!

You might book your trip as a solo person and fly to your destination solo, but as soon as you land here in South Africa on one of Vantage’s trips, you won’t be traveling solo anymore. That just doesn’t happen on a Vantage tour!

From the first day, we’ll sit together at meal times, spend time together on safaris, and enjoy a glass of wine around the campfire while we talk about our adventures.

You might arrive as a solo person, but in no time you’ll be traveling with a whole bunch of friends!

S: You primarily lead Vantage’s safaris. Can you talk a little bit about the safari experience, and why every traveler should visit Africa?

A: The safaris in Southern Africa are just amazing and everybody should do at least one safari trip in their lifetime. Once you visit here, you’ll want to return again and again!

The whole experience is mind-blowing. To see the wild animals in their natural environment at close encounter (sometimes very close!) is just indescribable. Believe me, it’s completely different than watching a wildlife documentary on TV. This is the real thing!

We will not only embark on game drives in open-air safari vehicles, but we’ll also take safari boat trips with professional cameras — and you can take your pics home! You can also join in on a bush walk. Each safari experience is just so unique because you get a different perspective of the nature, fauna, and flora surrounding you.

On each safari we will be joined by an experienced ranger with a bag of knowledge!

S: When COVID is over, where is the first place you're going? 

A: I’ll go and spend some time in the African bush. I’m really missing the feeling, the sounds, the smells, the animals, and the birds — just the whole incredible bush experience.

It will most probably be the safest place anyway! Lots of space and fresh air! Not a lot of people — just wildlife!

S: What's one travel memory that made a lasting impact on your life?

A: It was actually a morning experience on one of my Vantage tours. We stayed at the Iganyana Tented Camp at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. after hearing a noise that sounded like a buffalo in distress. Shortly afterward, the camp manager contacted me and asked me if I’d also heard the noise.

We decided to check it out and drove in one of the safari vehicles to the opening in front of the camp and found a pride of lions just feeding on a buffalo. They were only about 200 yards from our camp! 

It was actually the day of departure from Iganyana, which meant we had a bit of a late start because we drove back to camp and woke everyone. It took us about 15 minutes to gather the vehicles so we could drive out to see the lions. We got right next to them, and they weren’t interested in us in the least. It was amazing!

Finally, back at camp a wonderful breakfast awaited us.

But then the real problem started: We couldn’t decide which incredible experience to talk about: The herd of elephants who appeared out of nowhere and “joined” us at dinner the night before, or the pride of lions who’d “joined” us at breakfast!

Renata Lovrovic with Lindsay Slattery

Lindsay: What inspired you to pursue a career in travel?

Renata: Many of us like to travel. As humans, we have a natural, inherent urge to see new places and discover new cultures. And it’s this passion for the unknown that makes a career in travel one of the most exciting of all.

When I first started traveling the world, I had no idea that it would inspire myself to change my career path. I didn’t know that I would fall in love with cruising and become a Cruise Director. I always knew that I was not the person who would sit in an office and do a regular job; I needed excitement. One day I just applied for an open position on a cruise ship, and the next thing I remember, I was on the road.

L: What are some of your favorite travel destinations?

R: Europe! Boasting dozens of languages, half a billion residents, and over 25 countries in an area less than half the size of the United States . . . there is much to see in this diverse continent.  A river cruise can provide the perfect way in which to experience as much of it as possible!   Travelers can sail through vibrant Budapest on the Danube River, see the tulips of the Netherlands, or visit the vineyards along the Rhine. I love all these places. Every one of them is unique, with a different history.

Budapest is one of my favorite places to visit, and that’s not just because I’m Hungarian. I think the city deserves attention. It’s not only filled with wonderful things to do, but it’s also home to stunning neoclassical and gothic architecture. Having been through a lot of destruction during the World War II, Budapest seemed to have fought back to keep itself on the high. This shows in the resilience of its people. Its charm lies in the mixture of western capitalism and the remnants of the more than 40 years of communism, giving it a strange appeal.

L: In the recent absence of travel, have you taken up any new hobbies? How have you spent your free time?

R: I’ve spent more quality time with my family. Our 3-year-old is growing very fast and now we’ve had more time to enjoy, teach, and follow her on the journey of growing up. In our busy life we all work and run, and we forget what’s really most valuable.

It also gave me a chance to learn some new things, like digital marketing (as everything is online nowadays). I also developed my cooking skills and started a blog about living a healthy lifestyle. Reading is always something I do in my free time, whether searching for something new or exciting, or new places to visit. Now we’re hoping that the time for traveling will return, and we can continue our journey.

L: Who are some women that inspire you?

R: It goes without saying that our mothers and grandmothers (and aunts even!) are, and will always be, our female figures of inspiration, but they don’t have to be the only ones. If you ask me which women inspire me, family members would be the first to pop into my mind — and that’s fine — but I also step back for a second and consider how many amazing women there are out there. Women with challenges that confound us and achievements that inspire us. These challenges may be beyond anything we face, but we can still learn from them.

Take Mother Teresa, for instance. After a life dedicated to charity and humanitarian work, she is regarded as one of the most selfless people to have ever lived. However, one of the most admirable things about Mother Teresa is that she spent nearly 30 years of her life helping others before anybody even knew who she was.

Amelia Earhart’s story has both success and tragedy, full of adventuring and pioneering for women’s rights. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and was rewarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross for her efforts. While other women were being held back by a male dominated society, Amelia was soaring through the clouds, breaking records, and having the time of her life.

After marrying into the royal family, Princess Diana could simply have sat back and enjoyed a life of relaxation and luxury without a care in the world. However, she took it upon herself to use her celebrity status to help as many people as possible, becoming the figurehead for charity campaigns around the world.

L: What is your favorite part of being a Cruise Director?

R: More than anything, I wanted to connect with people in something that I loved and invite them to experience this joy.

I love showing my favorite places. You know as well as I do that no matter how well-traveled you are, Google, YouTube, or travel guides simply can’t replace the real experience. Our tours focus on delivering high-class hospitality via up-close and personal cultural exposure; therefore I know that I’m introducing others to my favorite places in a meaningful way.

Then, I have my travelers, my dear travelers. What fills my cup the most is getting to connect with them on a personal level. I get to learn about them, their families, hopes and dreams, the places they’ve been, the lives they lived, and if all goes well, I get to stay connected with them. I can’t tell you how many of my travelers I speak to monthly. Sometimes it’s random FaceTime calls, others it’s a postcard in the mail, but above all, it’s these treasured relationships that mean the most to me.

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