Want to travel with flair? Veteran tour consultant, Wendy, is well-traveled and uses her firsthand knowledge to put a special spin on travel for her clients. Get to know our Elite Tour Consultant, Wendy, in her Q&A below!
Name: Wendy Murray
Title: Elite Tour Consultant
Hometown: South Side Chicago
Time at Yampu: Six-year Anniversary is fast approaching!
Q: Before working at Yampu Tours, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
A: In High school, I worked in a concession stand at an indoor ice rink. The best times were doing hockey games when I could ride the Zambonis! Maybe not the most interesting but most fun as an avid Hockey fan!
Q: How did you first learn about Yampu Tours?
A: My friend worked there. She loved it, I loved travel, I soon followed her there!
Q: If you could pick one theme for Yampu Tours to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?
A: The Invisible Hand (always there with to plan, assist, take care of emergencies in the background so you enjoy individual travel without worry or stress)
Q: What advice do you have for prospective travelers?
A: Remember that you are traveling to experience other cultures, embrace it! Learn hello and thank you in the native language – the locals will love you for trying! Things aren’t always on a strict schedule like in the US – plan extra time when booking flights, trains and other modes of transportation. Local transportation and other strikes are common outside the US – be sure to get travel insurance that protects you in case of missed services / delays. ALWAYS travel with a sense of adventure! Unplanned weather events, impromptu parades, road detours can lead to new discoveries, meeting new people, and great storytelling later if you keep your mind open!
Q: What has been your favorite project or trip planned at Yampu Tours?
A: Most rewarding is the feedback from happy travelers. One of my recent favorite trips was for a group of 11 college graduates for whom I planned a 14 day trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. In addition to the main sites, I included some fun activities such as local beer tasting, street food tours, tickets to Thai Kickboxing tournaments, etc. They loved the trip and their feedback warmed my heart!
Q: What is your favorite line from a movie?
A: ‘I feel the need for speed.” – unfortunately it often gets me in trouble!!!
Q: Are you messy or organized?
A: I am an organized mess!
Q: What is the best vacation you’ve been on?
A: Every destination I have been to has been special – each has its own distinct memories of the people I met and unique experiences but the dearest to my heart is a Father- Daughter safari to Kenya and Tanzania. It was an amazing experience that bonded us like nothing else could! I am so thankful to have shared that special time with him and hope to get the rest of the family to go soon as well!
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Not what – who! Marie Antoinette or Cleopatra – Not that I knew anything about them at all except they lived in exotic places that I wanted to go to!
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: Just one of many: “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan
Q: Do you have an office nickname?
A: What is it? You tell me! (Note from the editor: I think you’re just Wendy 🙂 )
Q: What is your most embarrassing moment at work?
A: I’m too embarrassed to say!
Q: What is your dream travel destination?
A: All of them!
Q: How do you define success?
Q: If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?
A: Superman/woman so I could travel to anywhere in the world anytime – and quickly (oh, and, of course, to help those along the way)!
Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
A: Drew Barrymore- she’s quirky and down to earth.
Q: If you could have coffee with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?
A: I don’t like coffee!
Q: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
A: The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Q: If you were an animal what would you be?
A: A pampered cat
Q: What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
A: My motto is to generally try things at least once: Jumped out of a plane (tandem skydive) , am a certified diver, have snow and water skied, para-sailed, surfed, ate chocolate cover ants…but I will NEVER EVER bungee jump!
Q: What are you afraid of?
A: Hatred, Prejudice
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Jack Reacher
Q: What is the last movie you watched?
A: Table 19
Q: What do you like to do on your days off?
A: Go to the beach – lucky I live 10 minutes away!
Q: What is on your travel bucket list?
A: Anywhere I haven’t been yet! I want to do it all!
Q: Who did you see at your first concert?
Q: What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
A: A house to fit my parents and sisters family in so we can all live together!
Q: What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
A: Ostrich, Guinea pig, Hartebeeste, bear burgers, reindeer chili, chocolate covered ants and mealy worms, alligator, crocodile, zebra…
Q: What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
A: Be true to yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!
Q: Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster?
A: Since elephants are afraid of mice, I would rather be the giant hamster.
More about Wendy: Wendy has been in the travel industry for over ten years and was attracted to the profession because she loves to meet people and immerse herself in different cultures, discover exotic places and experience the beauty of cultures and landscapes worldwide. Beginning in a customer service department in the high-end travel industry, Wendy is very empathetic and understands the importance of the fine details. Wendy has traveled throughout Latin America including Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and Panama, and around Africa, taking several safaris in both Tanzania and Kenya.