We have had some sad news that our most frequently travelled customer has died recently, and her daughter has asked if she can pay tribute to her here - amongst her beloved fellow travellers. This is her story...
57 Explore holidays in 22 years the last one in the August 2009 ‘Eastern Seaboard and Cape Cod’. For those who have travelled with and remember Shirley, she peacefully died on 21 December 2009.
Shirley first traveled with Explore when she was 63 after her husband died and her family of five were able to look after themselves!
Her first trip was to the Himalayas and since then she hasn’t stopped. She really enjoyed the way the Explore trips worked finding many friends in the different groups and making sure she got involved with the local people. She would always try to buy something on those occasions when people were weaving or making pots in their homes just to help them. Her friend Jean showed her how great it was to take an Instamatic camera and leave pictures. She insisted on bringing back an animal and a fridge magnet from every different country she visited as well as the assortment of hats, pictures, cushions, throws and other strange articles. She has a house full of memories from around the World including scrap books of pictures from every trip.
She was a very fit person, Inca Trail when she was 64, Kilimanjaro when she was 73, Camino de Santiago when she was 82 and loved to be outside looking at the scenery.
Her daughter, Pam, has been contacting Shirley’s traveling friends and has uncovered a real network of people who knew her. She thought the website might be a way of letting people know. There are really big thank-yous to Jean Yee and Jan Davie who started meeting up with Shirley on trips when she was worried (unnecessarily) that Explore wouldn’t let her travel as a single after a certain age. One email to Judith Winterbine found that her traveling guest at that time had also traveled with and shared a room with Shirley.
Pam had first hand experience of ‘Shirley on tour’ when she traveled with her to Bolivia. As they went through passport control at La Paz airport she was already going through past holidays with Brian who recognized her from a trip and then later Julie. All 3 had been on the same trip before.
And a really big thankyou to Explore for giving Shirley such an interest in her later life. Shirley has had time to reflect on her past life over the last couple of months and described it as being in 3 parts. The first 25 years before she got married (school, radio engineer in the Wrens, working in the pharmacy), 38 years bringing up a very close family and the last 22 years traveling. She enjoyed all of it, had no regrets and was very content and peaceful at the end.