Thursday, May 24, 2012


Christine in Lourmarin France

Christine loves travelling more than anything else in life. Of course her faith is of importance and her family is precious to her, but her passion is travel because her spirit longs to see and to know and to hear and to taste that which exists in other places. It is not the distance that makes the travel a delight for her, and the locations do not have to be the most outlying or remote places on earth. In fact a hop to New York City or Savanna Georgia or numerous other locations steeped in history wets her appetite and draws her to read in advance and to know upon arrival where she wants to go and what she wants to experience. 

She watched travel shows and longed to go to all of the places that Rick Steves described so charmingly. Travel costs money and that resource was rather fixed for Christine. So, one day, this woman gifted with leadership skills, an engaging personality and a compelling conversational style decided to do something about her enthusiasm and her fiscal shortage. She decided to take a crash course if tourism and to launch a career as both a travel agent and a tour guide. She googled her brains off. She started talking it up. She had not been to Spain but she had friends who had just come back so she plied them with questions and she read books, and decided that Spain would be the first tour she would promote and lead. She got her husband to design some online promotional stuff and a website which later was revamped and redesigned by one of her son’s friends who was positively professional about it. She had fliers and pamphlets printed and the company with which she became associated sent her all types of promotional material. She began with her friends and moved on to acquaintances, and thirty three people signed up for that first trip.

The result was a trip of a lifetime for some people who wrote glowing testimonials for her to use the next time. She managed the tours with gusto and fervor and led the tourists in impromptu songs that she had quickly learned. They were even willing to practice now and then on the bus rides until they were confidant enough to get off the bus, go into a restaurant and sing an entire song in Spanish, so all the other guests smiled and applauded. She had stamina, and she lost some weight and looked like a million. She went back to coloring her hair and it knocked ten years off her appearance. She couldn’t care less about her husband who had chosen not to accompany her on any other trips past the first four, which by the way were to southern France, Tuscany, and Italy; then to Scandinavia; then to Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Britain, and finally to Austria and Germany and a fantastic river cruise. So the career was launched. People, particularly the older guests who felt they couldn’t do a tour any longer, raved about Christine because she cared for their every need, understood, was so kind to them, arranged for special considerations at all the stops, even pre-arranged with doctors in most stops to be available should one of her guests require some assistance.

She was learning so much about the world and she was a popular historian and deeply gratified, and soon making enough money that she moved her and her husband our of the condo they had bought in Langley, to a spacious 2000 sq ft condo on Marine Dr in White Rock.

That's Better - this is the Real Trophy
OOPS!! Wrong Trophy Image
Gradually she persuaded Ron to accompany her on some trips which she promoted as art history trips and many of the tour guests would sit with Ron and draw and paint at certain key sites. She began to do this specialty touring using other professionals in various disciplines such as with musicians when she would arrange music history tours. As time went on she noticed people who could not afford to travel but whose life circumstances were appallingly difficult and a trip would be a lifetime memory, so she found sponsors for that person’s trip or gave up some of her income to accommodate this. Five years after embarking on this new path in life, she was named tour guide of the year by one of major companies with which she worked.

This piece was another one of my imaginative flights, something akin to the one I wrote entitled, 'ON STAGE.' These trips of fictional fancy give me a laugh and sometimes catch you by surprise. Gotcha!

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