My decision to create a travel company is one that has been gnawing at me for many years. For 25 years I have been involved in a variety of different travel companies, none of them mainstream, and that has been a good thing!
I went on to work on the hotel barges and there found a natural facility as a tour guide. I had always hated history at school, but here I found myself rediscovering those lessons, and this time I had an answer to the question I asked over and over again as schoolboy, "...what's the point?" No one had ever been able to give me a convincing one, or maybe they had, but I was so bored by the repetition of dates and so on that I wasn't listening any more.
The next years went from ballooning to barging and back to ballooning working for The Bombard Society, European Waterways, Continental Waterways, Objectif Montgolfières, France Montgolfières becoming pilot then chief pilot then regional director with the balloons and tour guide, pilot and captain/cruise director on the barges.
I also did spells as a chef, a chauffeur and was Christopher Lambert's (Tarzan) double in a not very good film where he flies a balloon to woo his girl. I had a brief spell of trying to create my own balloon company but the time was not right, and my business skills had yet to be honed.
I started in 1987 working for a company called Horizon Cruises, which operated luxury hotel barges in Burgundy and the Loire Valley and also had its own fleet of hot air balloons. Following the landing of one of their balloons in a field near my parents holiday home in Burgundy, and a subsequent chat with the Australian pilot I sent off my CV and waited for an answer. I wanted to work on the barges as my previous job had been as deck hand on a transatlantic yacht, my father was a master mariner and so playing around in boats was in the blood. I got an answer from Horizon Cruises and, you've probably guessed it, they had a job for me as a hot air balloon ground crew for a couple of months. The ballooning was great fun and on the 10th of July 1987 I took to the skies, terrified, on my first ever flight. It was the beginning of a career that was to last for the next 25 years, and will continue on for at least 25 more I hope.
|1988 on the hotel barge Vios|
Being able to bring history to life by recounting the stories of the past and finding that my listeners wanted more was something I could never have imagined, my history teachers even less, but it was true!
|L'Impressionniste 12 passenger luxury hotel barge arriving in Pouillenay, that's me a the wheel reading a book.|
|Me with my makeup and wig ready for my movie debut|
Interestingly enough I have remained on good terms with everyone that I have worked with, burning my bridges is not something that I practise if I can avoid it, and some of my great friends are amongst those I met on that very first day in 1987 when I started by tourism career with Horizon Cruises in Burgundy.
And so, 25 years on and a mid life crisis later, all that I had learnt and all those that I had met became the foundations for my travel agency Kairos Travel and its luxury portal Unique Provence.
I enjoy meeting people, and I believe that you can’t visit a country without meeting those who make it, and I’m not talking about the guy wearing a traditional costume for the tourists, or the funny waiter who entertains for tips. I have met so many wonderful people over the years and I still am and I wanted to share these encounters with my future guests. My travel agency is the official agency for L’Occitane en Provence to create unique experiences that reflect the Provence that they represent, which is an honour for me and also a guarantee for my clients.
Writing is something that I am not so good at, but in order to share my meanderings across Provence the idea of a Blog seemed the right thing. I don’t just talk of luxury travel, but sometimes a place or an encounter that I feel is worth writing about.
So if you will forgive my lack of journalistic skill, I hope you will enjoy my offerings here.
If you would like to contact me then use the contact form here, and I will get back to you by return mail.