This edition of my Sitting Pretty With interview series is such a special one for me to share! Why you ask? This month, I’m sitting pretty with Sarah Attaway of Sunkissed Suitcase & Currie & Co. Travels. Her name might sound familiar because she’s my sister! Sarah has the most amazing job and career so I have to share because I know my R&R readers will be enthralled by it. Who doesn’t love travel!? Travel is one of my main sources of inspiration so following along with Sarah gives me so many new places to constantly add to my travel list. From Vietnam to Patagonia to Harbor Island… she is seeing the world and I’m in major awe of what my sister tries, sees, discovers, tastes, and accomplishes! Keep reading to find out how she landed her dream travel job, the scoop on her travel blog, and where she’s jetting off to next.
Name: Sarah Attaway
Neighborhood: Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA
Job: Luxury Travel Advisor at Currie & Company Travels Unlimited
Instagram Handle: @saraheattaway
Let’s talk business…
What motivated you to start your blog, Sunkissed Suitcase?
I started Sunkissed Suitcase the same way it seems that most bloggers start – I was underwhelmed by my day job. I was fresh out of college working as a legal assistant, while simultaneously studying for the LSAT and applying to law schools. I wanted an outlet that would allow some time for myself –something to be passionate about. At the time, Sunkissed Suitcase was collection of random travel stories and photos that only my parents would want to read. I never imagined how much it would develop over the years.
Describe your blog in 3 sentences or less.
Sunkissed Suitcase is a luxury travel blog detailing destination guides, hotel reviews, travel tips and behind the scenes expat information. It has recently focused on Southeast Asia since I spent a year living in Vietnam but is expanding as I continue to travel closer to home and through my job.
How do you pick what topics and content you want to post about?
I post about where I travel! I like to see many different sides to a destination – luxury hotels, street food or hot restaurants, adventure, history and culture. I believe you need to experience a bit of everything a destination has to offer to really get to know a place so you’ll find a bit of everything on Sunkissed Suitcase. And of course, the destination and how much time I spend in a specific place helps to determine the topics.
What is a typical day in the life of Sarah?
I moved to Atlanta last October 2016 and started my job as a Luxury Travel Advisor at the beginning of the year. I’m an Independent Contractor so I can determine my own schedule to an extent. Typically, I wake up and check emails at home to prepare myself for the day. I answer anything that is urgent or can be answered quickly right away. I add anything else to a to-do list for the day or week. Depending on how busy I am, I may head to work fairly quickly or I’ll work out before going into the office. Some days I work from home instead.
Throughout the week, others in the travel industry – perhaps a hotel representative or a destination management company – stop into our office to educate us on their product so I am always in the office for those meetings. I also stay after the meetings to get work done in our office.
My workday ends whenever I’m at a stopping point, whether that’s at 2pm or 6pm. After work, I often meet friends around Atlanta for drinks and dinner. I’m still getting to know the city so we explore new areas and try new places instead of heading to a go-to spot.
Can you tell us a little more about your role as a travel agent at Currie & Co. Travels and what it requires?
I’ve found that my job as a Luxury Travel Advisor entails quite a few hats – consultant, sales, banker, and trip designer.
I’m constantly learning about new destinations through the weekly meetings with travel industry partners. Outside of the meetings, I am putting together start-to-finish itineraries for places all over the world. Some clients want a simple trip with just a hotel and one or two activities during their stay. Other clients want an entire package, including VIP airport transfer, guides and activities every day, dinner reservations, and hotels. They may travel throughout one or more cities.
Once I have a complete proposal, I send the itinerary to my clients, which may entail educating them about the destination and “selling” them on the details.
Once a client approves a proposal, I then become a banker because our company deals with currencies from all over the world!
How do you balance both your blog and your job with Currie & Co. Travels?
Unfortunately I haven’t! Sunkissed Suitcase has been very quiet over the past five months. I’m very proud of what I’ve created but have taken a step back from my blog. My goal with Sunkissed Suitcase, aside from inspiring others to travel and to help them do that, was to either make it into a business and/or use it as a resume booster for a great job. Luckily enough, Sunkissed Suitcase did help me find my job at Currie & Company because it showed various skills, but also showed that I’m well-traveled and clearly have a passion for it.
Now that I’m a Luxury Travel Advisor, I’m able to help people travel and I get to hear feedback from my clients after their trip! Being a Luxury Travel Advisor has given me what Sunkissed Suitcase did but on a larger scale.
Going forward, I would love to use Sunkissed Suitcase as a marketing tool for my Luxury Travel Advisor services but I’m brainstorming how to best do that. If I give away too much information about my travels through work, it may render my services pointless. But if I don’t give enough, why would people read it? That’s my struggle moving forward!
What is your career path? Have you always wanted to work in the world of travel?
Not at all! Like I said, I thought I would go to law school and become a lawyer. When I was working toward law school, I discovered that that path wasn’t right for me and I was at a loss. I had no idea what I wanted to do until my dad suggested I figure out a way to make traveling into a career because I love it so much. At the time I thought he was crazy but now, 2.5 years after that conversation, I’m so glad he suggested it! That conversation led me to move to Vietnam for a year to teach English and travel throughout Southeast Asia. It then took me to Atlanta to become a Luxury Travel Advisor.
What keeps you inspired at work day-in and day-out?
One of the big perks of my job is that I get to travel. I recently went to Uruguay, Chile and Chilean Patagonia to site visit hotels and work with destination management companies to learn about the countries to make it easier to plan trips and sell the destination. Once I returned, I educated my office on everything I learned.
My coworkers travel a lot as well; most days we chat about our travels while we work. It’s constant travel inspiration! It’s also a very collaborative office – If I have clients that want to travel to a country I don’t know very well, I can turn to anyone in my office for advise and guidance.
Let’s talk Fashion…
Describe your style in three adjectives.
Preppy, clean, classic.
What are your wardrobe staples?
I love a good pair of jeans!
If I peeked into your closet, what color would be the most prominent?
Blue and white.
What fashion piece would you splurge on tomorrow if you could?
A Goyard travel trunk.
Are there any trends you’re excited about right now?
Summer is my favorite season so I’m really excited to refresh my wardrobe. I love all the fun ways straw and basket bags are being presented and I’d love to add some fun espadrilles to my closet.
If you could switch closets with anyone, who would it be and why would you want their wardrobe?
You – my sister! We often gravitate towards some of the same pieces, with some differences along the way, but she styles them so much better than I do. She always puts a fun spin on things!
What is your favorite type of jewelry to wear?
I have a two pieces of jewelry that I wear day-in and day-out: a heart necklace, and a gold band ring. Both of them are petite pieces. But if I’m changing things up to go out or for a special occasion, I love statement earrings and bangles.
Let’s talk Beauty…
What are your beauty must-haves?
Burt’s Bees chapstick, mascara and blush.
What perfume do you spritz on as you walk out the door?
Let’s talk Décor…
Describe your decorating style in three adjectives.
Classic, beach, cozy.
If your mother taught you one trick about interior decorating, what would it be?
Take your time. I tend to rush things because I like specific pieces and want the decorating to be complete; however, it never blends well together in the end! My mom taught me to take my time to make sure each pieces lends well to the entire room, and not just on it’s own.
What is your favorite piece of art or furniture you own?
For my 23rd birthday, my mom bought me a Teil Duncan beach painting. I’d been looking at her work for years and she surprised me with one once I had my own place out of college.
Do you have any must-have coffee table books?
Let’s talk Travel…
Beach or Mountains?
Beach! But I’m always surprised by how much I feel at home in the mountains.
East Coast or West Coast?
What is your favorite destination?
Charleston, Barcelona, Vietnam.
Are you planning any upcoming trips?
I’m heading to Grenada in the Caribbean this July and Panama in September for work! I’m also really excited for my girls’ trip to New York City this June with my life-long friends from home.
Who is your favorite travel buddy?
My family (see the photos below with my siblings and parents)!
Go-to cocktail when you’re traveling?
I love trying the local drink. I recently enjoyed Pisco Sours in Chile! But in general, I love a good mojito.
What is your top bucket list destination?
A Safari – I’m just not sure which African country yet!
How do you pick places you want to travel to?
Currently for work, I’m choosing places I would like to know more about for current and future clients. I’ve traveled a fair bit in Southeast Asia when I lived in Vietnam, and in Europe with my family and when I studied abroad. I’m really trying to learn more about the Caribbean, as well as Central and South America now!
Do you have any expert travel tips for travel beginnings?
One of the biggest mistakes that I see people making, and that I’ve had to overcome, is trying to fit way too much into one trip! I’d prefer to spend a handful of days in one place as opposed to 1-2 days in multiple stops.
Let’s talk Atlanta…
What does living in the South mean to you?
I adore the South! But I guess it’s in my genes because my dad is originally from Atlanta. The people are friendly. The slow pace of life allows you to really take everything in. The food is rooted in decades and decades of tradition but is now becoming modernized by really amazing chefs and restaurants.
What is your favorite part of living in Atlanta?
It’s a really young city with a lot of activity going on. There’s always some sort of food or music event on the weekends. The Beltline, a 20+ mile sidewalk spanning throughout the city, makes Atlanta very walkable and people are always outdoors. There’s paddle boarding, tubing and hiking within 30 minutes of the city. I love that each neighborhood – Midtown, Inman Park, Virginia Highlands, Decatur, etc. –has a different vibe but they are all very close. And the list goes on and on!
Best date night restaurant?
Best brunch restaurant?
Ladybird. There’s a great outdoor patio and pitchers of fun drinks.
Best southern restaurant?
Best boutique(s) or shop/shopping?
Anything else we need to know about Atlanta?
Atlanta is such an underrated city – I’d suggest planning a trip asap to find out why!
Photography by Sarah Attaway