November 2016 changed everything for travel expert Christian Tamte. Like many women, it sparked a fire within her that she hadn’t known was there before. She went from simply living and enjoying life into a life of action and activism.
She had to do something when President Donald Trump was elected to the Oval Office. Donald in the White House wasn’t what she and many other people expected.
“We have to step outside of our comfort zones,” Christian, who described herself as an “armchair activist,” told the Columbus Monthly. “We have to get up and move and make change because if we don’t do that, then change will happen and it won’t be in the ways that we want.”
The non-activist suddenly became an activist. She used her travel agent skills founding Rise Travel, a niche travel agency focused on helping people raise their voices by creating their itineraries and booking their travel to political events, such as protest marches.
Rise offers clients two types of trips. Christian’s travel expertise arranging travel to events or she can host a Rise-sponsored trip where her company finances the trip and books the guests.
Rise Travel is a nice addition to her agency, Tamte Travel, which is become a network of niche travel agencies with the addition of Rise. The agency also includes Zone Travel, which is focused on luxury philanthropic travel that provides travel opportunities in philanthropy, education, and voluntourism, which she founded in 2016.
Christian is a former award-winning videographer for NBC and ABC-affiliate news stations throughout the country, reported Columbus Alive.
Despite having a blast working behind the scenes covering the news, she called it quits when media moved away from being unbiased and more commercial.
“I realized that it wasn’t where I was supposed to end up and to do my life work,” she told the media outlet.
Travel didn’t leave her blood, she just joined the travel industry as an agent booking people’s vacations.
“I loved just being able to live vicariously through people and plan vacations all day,” she said. “It was like, if I can’t go on vacation all the time, I’m at least gonna talk about vacation until I figure out what I want to do.”
Christian helped women get to both Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C. chartering three busses she sponsored, arrange for accommodations, coordinated payments, and scheduled workshops and lectures to educate participants during the trip.
On January 21, 2017, she took two buses filled with 110 activists, mostly women, to the Women’s March. Her friend Mary B. Relotto, who is the founder and CEO of Dames Bond, a women entrepreneurs networking organization, organized speakers for the bus ride turning it into a mobile women’s empowerment conference with workshops covering advocacy to crowd safety.
Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and former Ohio Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) were among the speakers that included Chelsea Varnum and Marjorie Rizalvo, Christian’s wife, and Christian herself.
Teresa and Mary Jo told the participants their personal and political stories of their lives as elected officials.
Chelsea taught a workshop about values and creating a mission statement and Marjorie led a workshop about personal safety.
Then the women marched.
Mary was so moved by the trip, she ran for the Ohio House of Representatives for District 24. She was defeated by Allison Russo in last month’s primary.
“I thought, ‘My God, I have to get involved,” Mary told the magazine.
Traci and Mackenzie Lewis were on the bus for the March for Our Lives rally for gun reform in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. Mackenzie, 11, isn’t a stranger to activism.
Her mother, Traci, was on Rise’s bus to the second Women’s March in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
She’s accompanied Mackenzie organizing political actions for years. Some of the actions Mackenzie has taken was organize a benefit for kids in Flint, Michigan, to support other kids affected by the water crisis that started in 2014. Mackenzie marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary of the march to Birmingham.
“I wanted her to be able to exercise her voice and know that even though she’s 11, her voice does count,” Traci says.
Being sponsored by Rise to ride on one of three Rise busses that took 165 riders to Washington, D.C. for the March for Our Lives made Mackenzie ecstatic, she told the magazine.
Her mother and she carried signs.
Traci’s sign read, “Not my child, not anyone’s child #EnoughIsEnough.”
Mackenzie’s sign read, “I want to go to school to learn and not be killed.”
Traci and Mackenzie are just the travelers she wants to inspire activism and travel.
Open Business for Political Differences
So far, the trips curated by Rise have all been in line with Christian’s political views.
Christian is open to booking travel for political values that don’t align with her own, she told the magazine when the reporter asked, but it would be a challenge she admitted. It would be a challenge as a business person who wants to serve everyone. Personally, it would be a challenge as a member of the LGBTQI community. She pointed to examples of other service-oriented businesses that have refused to serve LGBTQI people, such as Colorado’s anti-LGBTQI baker.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor 7-2 of the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple citing his religious beliefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado June 4.
She said she would serve them, but she would keep the Rise name out of the advertising for the group striking an uncomfortable balance.
However, Rise-sponsored events will always align with her own political views, she told the magazine, because she has put so much of herself into the trips.
“It’s the free market, and that’s what America is about, and we’re patriotic. We love this country,” Christian said. “We love what it stands for and what it can be, and it’s our job—every one of us—to defend that and to make it a better place.”
So far, Christian hasn’t come up against that challenge.
Since the launch of Rise, she has put together trips for organizations like the Sierra Club’s Climate March in 2017.
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