Travel Director: Ella Ann Johnson
Regions: All over the USA and Eastern Canada
Trafalgar’s Travel Directors play a key role in providing each of our guests with a truly memorable experience. From the moment your Trafalgar journey begins, our Travel Directors share their local knowledge and provide a personalised, one-of-a-kind insider’s view of each destination. They are experienced travellers, learned historians and culture buffs whose job is to help you become immersed in the places you visit.
Travel Director Ella Ann Johnson took a few minutes to talk to the Trafalgar Blog to share some of her experiences and give some insight to why she loves what she does.
Tell us a bit about yourself Ella…
My love for travel started early, my father was in the Navy. We moved a lot, both sides of the USA. I have lived in on the Navajo Indian Reservation, and in Italy. I call Austin, Texas home. I have had several different professions, all in the service industry; I love people. I’m a connoisseur of food and wine and love to introduce guests to different foods special to a region or area.
My hobby is music, and I am learning to play the guitar, and mandolin. I live in Austin Texas for that reason; it’s the ‘Capitol of Live Music’. I enjoy music from Chicago to Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis…and of course, Austin.
I really enjoy travel with the younger generation as well. I love the Family Experiences we have; they are great fun for all ages!
What is the best part of your job?
Watching everyone’s faces as they view something for the first time, whether it is the Grand Canyon, a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls or eating a ‘cremee’ in Vermont.
What’s your best Hidden Treasure?
Massachusetts turnpike sign in the North End of Boston…good story here!
What is your most memorable on the road moment?
Whilst traveling in New England during Fall Foliage season, we had quite a bit of rain one day and after seeing a great overlook for photos, we stopped. As soon as everyone got off the coach, the sun came out followed by the most beautiful rainbow, then a bear, and then a moose! It was as if I had planned it all…
What vacation photo would you recommend our guests have to take?
In Yellowstone when you hike up to Mud Volcano and overlook the Hayden Valley, take a photo with a few hundred Bison below.
Staple travel items?
A paring knife and Ziploc bags. I like to stop at farmers markets for local food, like fresh strawberries, blueberries and melon, or cheese and salami and fresh breads, so it’s handy to have a little knife for picnics. I can’t live without Ziploc bags of all sizes when I travel. Large ones for wet bathing suits, medium ones for toiletries (so they don’t spill in your luggage) and then small ones for food and snacks!
What is your tip for feeling like a local when traveling?
Put your camera away while you walk around the farmer’s market. Stop in a library; you will feel like a local right away and most of the time they have great photos of the city. Also a good stop for restrooms!
What is your favourite food within your region?
Beaver Tails in Ottawa, Canada, ‘cremees’ in Vermont, Navajo Fry bread on the Reservations in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico. Clam Chowder in a bread bowl in San Francisco, California.
Must Buy Souvenir?
Turquoise in the southwest. Anything from key chains to jewellery from the locals.
What or who is your biggest inspiration?
My relatives. Jacob Hamblin and those who crossed the United States in the 1850s-1870s to start a better life. Crossing in covered wagons and hand carts with little food or knowledge where they were going and not knowing what was around the next turn, mountain or around the river. No comforts like air-conditioning or soft seats in a motor coach to keep them going, but the will to start something.
What is your best Travel tip?
Be flexible to a change in plans, and ALWAYS carry rain gear!