It’s My Story
Welcome! I’m glad you’re here!
Let me introduce myself to you… My name is Elaine Johnston.
I’m the head of Culinary Cruises & Tours.com a division of The Glade Explorers Travel in Crossville/Fairfield Glade, Tennessee.
You guessed it. A travel agent. Now-a-days, we like to call ourselves “travel consultants.” Travel agent, travel counsellor, travel consultant – whatever – I’ve been matching folks to destinations ’round the world since 1972. During those years, I’ve worn many hats – some at the same time…I’ve gone from travel agent to travel agency owner – one in New Jersey, one in Florida – to tour operator to tour manager to group leader to travel writer and back to travel agency owner.
WOW! 37 years! Those were “the good old days” when writing a simple airline ticket for someone going from New York to London made you a hero just because they didn’t have to schlep all the way to the airport or major city ticket office to get that ticket. Your travel agency was right there somewhere in town near their local bank, post office or corner grocery store. How easy was that?
Life for a “mom & pop” store-front travel agency was pretty good for a long time – at least 50 years or so – give or take a few, until the onset of the internet.
Those Internet Giants…
The BIG INTERNET giants have tried their best to sway travelers to their way of thinking. I must admit, they have been successful – to a point. However, there is nothing like the “personal touch” given by a travel agent. According to a recent report by PhoCusWright Inc., the leading research company in the travel industry, “home-based” travel agents represent 28 percent of all agents. (I work from home…) There are 31,000 legitimate agents (not hobbyists) that are home-based. Additionally, as a group – this is the part that blows my mind – we sell more than $9.7 billion a year in travel! Not bad for being able to work from home – wherever that may be – in your pajamas and slippers if that’s what strikes your fancy…(my personal choice is sweats and a comfy tee shirt…) and make as much or as little money as you want.
Find something you love to do
and then find a way to make money at it…
You might say I’m the perfect example of finding something you love to do and then finding a way to make money at it. I’ve done just that for many years…
The neat thing about owning your own travel agency and not having to answer to anyone other than yourself is that you can be as creative as your little heart desires….37 years ago I concentrated on corporate accounts. The bulk of my income came from commissions received from airline tickets with a few cruises thrown in for good measure. Cruising was just coming into its own about then. Carnival Cruises was a “maybe idea” with one ship – the Mardi Gras that went aground on its maiden voyage. Look at them now!
Look at me now!
Corporate travel led to leisure travel which led to leisure group travel where I have stayed for the past 10 years. January – 2009 marks the 10th Anniversary of The Glade Explorers Travel. Time flies when you’re having fun!
Culinary Cruises & Tours.com stems from what I have accomplished with The Glade Explorers Travel and the latest trend in culinary tours. Traveling to cook in someone else’s kitchen half way around the world is a fascinating concept. Don’t know how to cook? Don’t even like to cook? That’s OK. It’s just a fun way to take a vacation, and vacation is what it’s all about!
If you are looking for advice or help with planning your next culinary adventure, be it air, land, or sea…please contact me. I’m here for you!
Photos of Culinary Trips
Yours truly at Viking Cooking School, Nashville, TN
Viking Cooking School Classmates & Future Iron Chefs!
Suite Lunch with Captain Harris onboard Holland America’s msWesterdam
(don’t you always look better with a tan?!!)
Holland America Private Suite Luncheon
please stayed tuned….to be continued…