Shane Mahoney is the owner and partner at Lugos Travel LLC, an executive-level travel company that curates bespoke journeys for discerning travelers who want to live life to the fullest. He is passionate about travel, an avid researcher, and a renaissance man with wide-ranging interests from the adventurous to the sublime.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I had an interesting childhood, as the son of a French mom, and an American dad. Growing up, my dad worked on an oil rig ship in the Indian Ocean. As a result, we lived in Borneo for one year, and Australia for three years. I had the accent and everything when we finally settled in Lakeland, Florida in 4th grade. I stayed put until my senior year of High School when I was an exchange student in Barcelona, Spain. You could say that travel took root in my life early.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
When I was 34 years old, I had spent 12 years professionally doing sales and marketing jobs and doing very well. In spite of my success, I was unhappy, and I realized that I had been following a path I did not chart. I had gotten a great job out of college and just continued along a career path without asking myself what I really wanted to do in life. Things had come to a head and I needed to change.
Not ever having asked myself what I really wanted to do with my life, I was searching for meaning. That led me down an interesting path where I thought I would take advantage of my French dual citizenship and become a ski instructor in the French Alps. Mere weeks away from walking away from everything and everyone I knew to navigate a new path, my mom saw an article about a gentleman from Colorado who sold a 20+ year Real Estate business, moved to France, and started a ski school. Naturally, I thought this was a perfect dovetail and I reached out to see if I could secure a job. He was gracious enough to write me back the next day, and the following day we spoke for nearly four hours.
The culmination of that conversation is a recommendation that I try to become a tour operator instead. I spent nearly a month researching what a tour operator is, and decided that my way forward – Plan A, B & C were to make this endeavor a success.
As a tour operator, I have the ability to plan and execute complex but personalized itineraries for couples and families the world over, and for the last ten years, I’ve greatly enjoyed my career. I am happy to be a part of so many people’s best stories and memories!
I wish I’d realized it earlier, but I have no regrets.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I would caution anyone using a travel agent to look closely at the relationship they have. Most travel professionals work on commission, offering their services to their clients free of charge. This is not a good idea because ultimately, your best interests are not at the travel agent’s heart – it’s all about who pays a better commission.
Lugos Travel was one of the first agencies to consider ourselves a professional service, not unlike your accountant or attorney. We do charge our clients for our time and expertise but are able to ignore the commission component and build our tours with our client’s best interests in mind. Because of our experience, we are also able to negotiate better deals with the various suppliers, which offsets much of our costs.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Most recently, COVID-19 served a healthy dose of problems to our company and industry as a whole. We were lucky to be able to weather the problems, and as a result, have come out even stronger than before. We used the time to enhance our tours with added services our clients want, strengthen supplier relationships, and streamline our onboarding process. It is a great lesson in never taking anything for granted, as things can change without warning. It is also a good lesson in knowing how, and when to make lemonade if you catch my meaning.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Perseverance and dedication to quality are our keys to success. We have always built every trip with our client’s best interests at heart. It is how we are able to make a genuine connection to the world for our clients. We also never accept that something is impossible and work very hard to make every request, no matter how difficult, a reality.
We have given our clients experiences they never thought were possible, including a private breakfast in the London Tower, flights over WW1 battlefields in Belgium courtesy of a P-51 Mustang, Formula 3 experiences on the Monza track in Italy, and even a Sound of Music-themed tour in the Alps. We live our motto, The Art of What’s Possible.
What is your morning routine?
For me, morning time is spent getting the family ready. My wife and I have a 6-year old son and getting him to school (or summer camp) is quite the task. I am sure others can relate! I wake up at 6 am to accommodate for a workout, family time, and a shower. After I drop our son off, I take some time to read or prepare for my day and generally begin working at 10 am.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Meditation is a habit I have cultivated for many years, and it has been central to learning about myself and what I can do to be a better human. The practice has helped me develop patience, and gratitude – both of which are daily needs.
For those that find it difficult to learn this practice, I’ve found Sam Harris’s app, Waking Up, is a great place to start and learn the basics or even dive deeper.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Knowing what is produced in the sense that it moves your goals forward versus being busy doing things that do not necessarily accomplish much is central to a good life. We can all get caught up doing busywork that doesn’t really serve our goals, but being able to drop those tasks, or even delegate them to others is a very big deal.
For those that have read The Big Leap (referenced above), I try to operate in my Zone of Genius as much as possible and delegate all other tasks. It allows me to focus on what is important and move large projects forward quicker and easier.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
This is always a solid question. Growing up my brother was always the ‘reader’ of the family, and it took me many years to develop the habit. Reading has become a source of personal growth, and added perspective to my life, my business, and my family. In general, I try to read one fun book, followed by an educational book, and focus on trying to read just 10 pages per day.
As for the book or books that have influenced my life the most, I’ll categorize them for ease. For philosophy, and a good life outlook I like the Dalai Lama’s book, The Art of Happiness, and Alan Watt’s Buddhism: The Religion of No Religion. For business, Ray Dalio’s Principles, Gay Hendrick’s The Big Leap, and Chris Voss’s Never Split the Difference. For enjoyment, Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Chance favors the prepared mind.” That’s my favorite, as it’s a great reminder to always be ready for the next thing, whatever that is.