Journey of Self-Discovery: A Travel Agent’s Tale

by Rosemary Gooding


Denise, working at Turners Travel Agency, was thrilled about her trial period, hopeful of securing a permanent position. The office environment appealed to her with its open-plan layout, lush potted plants, and vibrant posters. The manager, Mr. Potter, appeared harmless, despite his sporadic flirtations with Denise and the clients.

Mr. Potter explained that the role of a travel agent involved sales and attentive listening to customers’ preferences and specifics. Denise, having gathered selling experience from previous roles, felt assured in this position. She rapidly took on tasks like swapping old posters for new ones, advertising excursions to forests, and spotlighting wildlife encounters.

One day, a couple, Adam and Sonia, came in asking about finding the Arctic Fox. Though Denise had no knowledge about it, she decided to improvise some details to convince them. She described the Arctic fox’s appearance, its colour-changing fur, and its playful disposition, endearingly nicknaming it the “clown of the tundra”. She suggested they venture to the Tundra in Churchill, Manitoba, where they could go hiking, witness the Northern Lights, and even take a private charter flight to photograph the polar bear migration. Impressed by Denise’s description, the couple signed up for the trip.

The next day, Jane O’Neill, recently divorced and seeking a glamorous destination, visited the agency. Denise recommended an exploration of the Canadian wilderness, national parks, turquoise lakes, skiing, and experiencing the Northern Lights. She assured Jane that Turners Travel could provide exclusive and extraordinary experiences. Jane was convinced and booked a trip to Alberta.

Mr. Potter praised Denise’s success, declaring that she had a knack for sales. He revealed that the agency’s owner, Aaron Turner, wished to meet her. A few days later, Aaron arrived in a plush Bentley and personally thanked Denise for her achievements. He invited her to lunch at a restaurant, leaving Mr. Potter disheartened. Denise felt flattered and excited as she joined Aaron in his car.

During the lunch, Aaron shared his travel experiences and plans for Turner’s Travel, mentioning new safaris in Botswana. Denise savoured every moment, relishing the stimulating conversation and the luxurious atmosphere. They discussed business, with Aaron expressing interest in sending Denise to London to evaluate hotels and agencies. After lunch, he dropped her off at the office, promising to keep in touch before heading to the airport for his Botswana trip.

Denise’s life at the agency became dull in comparison to her exciting lunch with Aaron. She anxiously awaited his call, hoping for new adventures and recognition. However, when she saw Aaron’s wedding photos with an Italian woman in the company newsletter, her heart sank. It was a turning point for Denise. She realised that her expectations had become unrealistic, and she questioned her desires and aspirations.

Deciding to make a change, Denise left the travel agency and enrolled at a university in Nottingham, UK, to study Geography. She underwent an intellectual transformation and found comfort in the company of a sympathetic female student. This marked a new chapter in Denise’s life as she sought personal growth and pursued her academic interests.