After shepherding my tour company from a startup local sightseeing company in 1978 to planning and operating interpretive tour excursions across the entire western United States for 43 years, I was gob-smacked (along with the rest of the world) to have my entire livelihood swept away in one swell-foop!
Oh, I walked the walk, and talked the talk, along with everyone else in the travel sector, but it is utterly demoralizing to plan an entire slate of tours, make all the reservations, publicize them to our clientele and a few months later, be compelled to cancel the whole lot.
Next year: repeat.
The year after that: repeat, yet again.
But this year - finally - things are different. It’s early winter, and I’m already having trouble finding hotel availability for June, many venues offering far different services than previously. It’s like starting all over again. And frankly, I wasn’t quite sure I was up to it!
Even though I wasn’t exactly vegetating. Well, OK, some days I was pretty close. I did work a fair number of crossword puzzles. And read a record number of library books. But I was also researching new travel destinations, keeping up on all my travel connections - though not nearly all of the travel shows I used to do.
And that brings up another piece of the puzzle: my health. I caught Covid in the Denver airport - where I spent three of the longest days and nights of my entire life - in March of 2020 trying to get home from Spring Training in Florida - when life as we know it was completely cancelled. (It was Friday the thirteenth, after all).
That was personal obstacle number one.
Number two came along just last year. In fact at this time last year I couldn’t even walk. The excruciatingly slow diagnosis was osteo-arthritis, requiring hip replacement surgery. Why it took until May 31 to schedule robotic surgery, I’ll never know. But I do know that hip replacement surgery is made necessary because the original equipment we were supplied with wasn't up to the task.
So now you are up to date (in case you were interested) and I am ready to rumble! As I write this I am preparing a full slate of tours, both for onesies and twosies (a technical group travel term that means filling a motorcoach the hard way) and for custom groups, and less than a week away from the first big travel conference of the year, the American Bus Association Marketplace in Detroit.
I’m SO looking forward to switching from warning people to mask up, to asking them to refrain from petting the fluffy cows!
Looking forward to seeing you on the trail this season!