Introducing Anne!

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Anne in BaliAnne Fairlie is joining The Travel Society at the end of September to ensure our clients are well taken-care of while Jill is on maternity leave.

Anne comes to us with a wealth of experience, including 30 years selling adventure travel at one of Toronto’s best-known retailers – if it’s even slightly adventurous, she knows all about it. Having visited well over 100 countries, she can provide the advice you need to make your holiday a success.

Right now, however, Anne is lounging in Bali – where this picture was taken! She is currently on a three month trip around Asia, and she’ll be sending regular updates as she goes. Read on for the first updates, and stay tuned for more.

I started travelling young and, as they say, have never looked back. As a family, we drove out to Vancouver in 1966 and to Nova Scotia in 1967. This set me up with a wonderful foundation for travel and a feeling for the greatness of our country.

Fast forward to my 20’s and the job hunt after a 7 month Circle Pacific trip with a girlfriend, I only knew I wanted to work in travel. 3 years in retail travel sales made my feet itch so I went back on the road – this time solo – for an 18 month journey through Europe and Africa. When I returned home in 1984, I secured a job that I kept for the next 30 years.

During my time at The Adventure Centre, I topped the 100 country count and have just kept on going. After 30 years at a desk with the “token” 2 and 3 week holiday periods, it was time for me to take a longer trip similar to those I had helped plan. So here I am now. I’m at a small, family-run hotel a block from Sanur beach in Bali sitting at the table on my verandah typing out my thoughts. What a way to start this sojourn!    

So you may ask: why South East Asia and why 3 months? As it sometimes happens, the decision was mostly made for me. Two years ago, a friend and I booked a Mongolia Naadam festival for July of this year, because the tour we wanted was already full for 2014.

Then, later, tempted by a trip to the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia and the textile weavers that live there, I booked a trip for May of this year. A few months after booking that trip, my company closed the division I was working in. I no longer had a reason to come home between the Indonesia trip in May and the Mongolia trip in July. 

Voila, the linkage of the 2 tours – each about 15 days long – with 7 weeks in between that would include my 60th birthday! For over 30 years I’d been helping clients plan their break from their work/sleep/family cycle and now it was my time! And I had a year to pull it together.

I am a planner. Working as a travel consultant has always been the perfect job for me.

But, given the fact that I have just spent 30 years doing travel research, I was still gobsmacked by the amount of time I could and did spend looking up travel stuff online. One question always leads to another curiosity and before you know it, you’ve missed your favourite TV show! Seriously, it is shocking to me how much time I’ve spent pulling this trip together. If I had been working I am not sure I would have enjoyed the process – I think I would have asked a travel agent for help.

Anyway, back to the trip: having been to all the SE Asian countries before, it was a case of going back to my favourites. Since so much depends on the weather, my first idea was to check for rain. At that time of year, Myanmar was out. I’ve been to Thailand 6 or 7 times, so that was out too. 

I’ve also been to Siem Reap, Cambodia before but not to Phnom Penh or Battambang. So those two places were added in. And, since I loved the Bantay Srei temple and wanted to see it again, I added a 3 night stop back in Siem Reap anyway. And, I’d been to Beijing once before but only for 3 nights and had always said I would go back. So that was slotted in for the week.  Staying with a friend in Singapore made the connection from Indonesia to Cambodia. 

And finally, but most importantly, I wanted some down time in Luang Prabang, a little town in northern Laos. It is place I have been to before and knew I would feel comfortable on my own. I plan to explore a bit, do some writing and play around with my photography. The food is not expensive but yummy and the night market is lively and right downtown.

Sounds just perfect – a place where I can plan the next chapter of my life!

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