With a successful conclusion to the 1987 Top Deck training trip Malcolm, Frank, Wayne a.k.a Wags, and I headed out on a road trip of our own design to test our mettle as tour guides.
We would drive from London to Aviemore Scotland and back; taking in all the sights along the way while being pleasant citizens full of youth and exuberance.
One stop was Annan; a quaint English country village. The FA Cup was on that day so we headed into the first pub we encountered in order to watch the action. We were oblivious to the fact that we had already crossed from England into Scotland and the Scots had little interest in the English soccer match. Annan turned out to be more of a quaint “Scottish” country village. Tour guides, all of us.
Another stop was the Johnny Walker factory in Kilmarnock. Birth place of the whiskey label; Red, Blue, Black, Double Black, Green, and Gold. Like the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam the whiskey distiller offered tours and we wanted in on that. We arrived on the one day they were closed. Continue reading Scottish Television
Top Deck Travel began in the 1970’s; a tour company that revealed a world to budget minded travelers via the confines of a double-decker bus where you would eat, sleep, drink, and enjoy life in what was, for most, their first taste of an unfamiliar reality. It was a wild ride.
Becoming a member of Top Deck Travel’s double-decker road crew in the mid 80’s had only two prerequisites. Number one was curiosity about the world that surrounded you. Today we refer to it often as a “Passion for Travel” but it all boils down to the same thing; you have to be curious.
It’s easy to find yourself in Paris, take the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, climb the steps of Montmartre, stroll the promenade overlooking the Seine, or feast yourself through a series of crepes prepared by beret wearing street vendors.
It is the curious however who not only want to see and experience but also ask why and how. It is the curious who find beauty and fascination no matter what the weather or set of circumstances. A rainy day does not lessen the magnificence of the Notre Dame Cathedral or the surety of its famous flying buttresses.
Travel is all about broadening the scope of your outlook to a global scale, understanding that cultures, traditions, beliefs, can differ from your own, and realizing the good fortune that is bestowed upon all who have the privilege and luxury to see this for themselves. Continue reading Training to Travel
I arrived in London on a direct flight from New York in the summer of 1986; sometime in early June. I had spent the previous few months traveling across America from west to east; coming to terms with a sense of euphoria that is so often the companion of travel and relishing every moment. It was new to me.
A complete and utter feeling of freedom that provided a natural high; one that will be chased forever…like a rainbow. I am sure comparing a passion for travel to drug usage is a little over the top but there are definitely some parallels.
Travel can become all-consuming and in my early years I sacrificed more than one relationship or job opportunity in order to satisfy the craving. To chase the sun over multiple seasons, to seek out unusual destinations, and experience things most would never.
It was a thrill ride and I was not looking for it to end any time soon. In fact my arrival in England was the start of an amazing chapter I feel lucky to have had the good fortune to be a part of. A chapter I knew was extra-ordinary from the very beginning. Continue reading A Double Decker Life
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss
I would like to take you back in time; probably before some of you reading this were even born. But if you indulge me, I will tell you what set me off on this path of world exploration. I’m sure my reasons back then are probably not that different from your reasons today.
It’s 1985, keep that in mind. I have a job at the investment firm “Broadbank”, where I worked as a loan officer. I had a cubicle but by today’s standards it was an office. Plush ruby-red carpet, dark wood furniture, five-line intercom, and a lion pawed coat rack standing guard in the corner; right next to the entrance.
Along the right side, from floor to ceiling, was a bank of windows that looked out onto the historic Strand Arcade. The arcade acted as a pedestrian artery through which pedestrians could walk from Queen to Elliott Streets. It was lined on both sides by shops lending themselves to nostalgia; in appearance only.
My desk was a place for writing then organizing paperwork and forms. It was a place where clients would sign documents and I would double-check the amortization results of my calculator. Continue reading Broadening Horizons
Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! Dr. Seuss
To ponder why we travel and from where the passion to explore is derived is a complex question; often not determined by one quick answer. For me, and I would guess for many, it would be easy to give all credit in the direction of one or both parents however just as often influences can be found in a multitude of experiences occupied by our youth.
In primary school I had a teacher, Mr. Tooze, who introduced me to the life and culture of Hong Kong’s Junk Boat citizenry. For a couple of weeks Mr. Tooze worked our imaginations into a frenzy as we drew pictures, crafted stories, encouraged our study, and read about life in the harbor of Hong Kong.
I was mesmerized. I still have vivid memories of my romantic and innocent imagination as I envisioned my own life on board a junk boat. Never setting foot on land and living in tune with the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. Walking with buoyancy to allow my knees the ability to bend and flex along with the rolling of the sea. Continue reading July 1969