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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Have Guide, Will Travel

Tracy Wilson's guided travel business shows her the world.

Imagine work that takes you around the world via air, rail, roadway, and boat with vacationing travelers. It uses detail-oriented research and organizational abilities, quick-thinking solutions, and a driving appreciation for new experiences, cultures, and people. Is it a career or a lifestyle?

“It’s definitely a dream job,” says Tracy Wilson, founder of Mount Vernon, Indiana-based travel tour company Tourcy, LLC. That said, “It was never on my radar to work in travel until the opportunity came about.”

Three college degrees and more than a decade’s experience in the education field helped when the 2008 economic crisis meant Wilson suddenly needed a job. She landed at a Posey County tour agency.

Using on-the-job training, Wilson says she quickly picked up the necessary specialty skills to lead guided group tours: “I started in August 2010 and by October, I was on my first trip to London and Paris.”

Nine years later, she knew it was time to strike out on her own. She says owning Tourcy is much like running any young business in growth mode. Travelers select from guided tours that Wilson organizes, and she helps link them with a tour package that meets their budget and interests. Email, phones, and social media consistently make her available for clients and vendors. Of the 25 tours scheduled this year — some of which are arranged through area non-profits — Wilson will lead two or three, and the remainder are helmed by group leaders at each destination. She also has an employee trained to lead groups.

“Part of what makes my job a ‘dream job’ is the anticipation and excitement that I see Tourcy travelers experience,” she says.“Hearing about their trip and seeing their pictures is a thrill. I never tire of it.”

Being a guided tour specialist has provided numerous favorite travel experiences. “For just jaw-dropping scenery, it’s the Canadian Rockies — just stunningly beautiful,” she says. “My favorite for food would be Italy, and my favorite for the most unique destination was Morocco but I think the thing that amazes me most is, it really is a small world.”

Sometimes, that means discovering unlikely connections in far-flung places. “My very first tour … we ended in Paris and had some free time. It had been a long day, so I just went across the street to eat and drink. It was an Irish pub in Paris. … Turned out that the gentleman that I was speaking with was a pilot for FedEx and he was from Vincennes, Indi- ana,” she says. “So, in Paris, in an Irish pub, talking to someone from Vincennes about the covered bridge festival … it was a surreal moment.”

“People travel for a lot of reasons, and being able to help make their travels a reality is joyful. It’s the true highlight of what we do at Tourcy,” she adds. “All the many details in arranging tours … are just details at the time we’re work- ing on them, but when we pull them all together, it’s powerful. It makes for an unforgettable travel experience.”

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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