Up in the Air Life, Inc. (UITAL) is proud to have Mr. Dennis on our leadership team since 2014. Rasheed is currently the Lifestyle Director on the Executive Team. As Lifestyle Director Rasheed leads Trip curation for UITAL Trips and provides a thought leadership and voice to the UITAL community. Rasheed is an avid traveler & expatriate with dual residency in the United States & Mexico whose passion for travel has taken him to over 50 countries and some of the most exotic destinations, events & festivals around the world. As a global citizen he prides himself on connecting with and meeting new people to experience the best music, nightlife, art, sport, local cuisine, and sight-seeing that a new destination has to offer. His extensive travel expertise, local connections in countries we travel to and business acumen are a welcome addition to UITAL. We are excited for him to join the team.
Describe the exact moment you fell in love with travel. Well, the moment I actually fell in love with the thought of traveling was when I was about 8 years old. My Mother loved foreign films and one day I watched the iconic Cannes Film Festival Winning “Black Orpheus” with her which depicted a love story unfolding during Carnival during 1950’s Rio De Janeiro. At that moment I was smitten on the possibilities of traveling and culture outside of my Oakland, California home and began embracing and being curious on the outside world. I had a huge map in my room and used to gaze and pin the locations I’d want to visit as a child, a tradition I maintain today which keeps tracks of the 55 countries I’ve visited along with future destinations on my radar.
What was it about the experience that was so magical? When It came to the experience of my first international traveling experience which was to the Island of Jamaica to Montego Bay I went with 3 friends on a $99 roundtrip special on the now defunct ValueJet from Atlanta the weekend after Memorial Day all crammed in a friends and family rate room at The Ritz Carlton Montego Bay. The resort was beautiful, service and rooms were impeccable but true to my nature I started chatting up the front desk agent to order a box of Jamaican Patties from town and figuring out what to do outside of the resort upon arrival. We rented a vehicle and cruised throughout the countryside to “Cockpit Country” deep in the interior, noshing on spicy jerk chicken & downing red stripe beer at roadside shacks along the highway and impromptu spearfishing for fresh catch with fishermen in the Caribbean Sea and partying late into the night with locals huge dancehall clubs. The spontaneity of it all lead to the magic that set me out on the journey of traveling for experiences for a lifetime.
Describe your journey from a frequent consumer of travel — to an organizer of once-in-a-lifetime trips? Since I began my travel journey I’ve always been the main contact for many in and out of my circle to plan travel to destinations domestic and abroad. Because of my own in-depth traveling, networking and friendships I’ve maintained across the world I’ve been able to cultivate trips on every continent so it’s a natural fit for me to create and inspire to do the same for UITAL.
What was it about the UITAL team that made you want to join? Joining the UITAL was a natural fit for me because of the beautiful relationship I cultivated with Claire Bear on previous trips we planned & attended in Panama, Paris & Playa Del Carmen which were a huge success. Her natural energy and infectious go-getter personality meshed well with mine from the beginning so to continue to work with her on a official basis was a no brainer!
What do you like most about being a part of UITAL? Being apart of a great team that has no boundaries or limits in how we plan and deliver a trip from start to finish. UITAL allows creativity to flourish when planning trips which leads to the type of travel and experiences one doesn’t normally see in a traditional travel group. It’s a reflection in its purest form of the spirit of UITAL.
What sets UITAL apart from other travel agencies/companies? The broad depth of travel experience, attention to detail, customer service, personal connections we have with the destinations that we plan for you to ensure you have the most enriching, authentic, rewarding and fun experience possible and more is what continues to set our travel apart from the rest.