The Titan Traveller Stories: Roseanne Kelly
Titan traveller Roseanne Kelly grew up reading her grandfather's copies of National Geographic and always dreamt of visiting the far-flung places on the pages. In recent years, she finally managed to make the leap and started travelling to new destinations. We caught up with her in between adventures to find out more...
Hi Roseanne, what’s your story?
I am a divorced 72-year-old woman (really I’m 27- I wish!) and I was born in Belfast in 1943. My father was from Belfast and, in fact, I was born in the house he was born in. When I was just ten we moved to Glasgow, which was my mother’s hometown. I am one of eight children, although two of the boys died in infancy, so I was brought up as the eldest of six, with four sisters and one brother. I have always been a voracious reader, like my father and grandfather.
What started your love affair with travel and what was your first travel experience?
When we lived in Belfast I used to go round to my grandfather’s house and read his National Geographic magazines and Detective magazines. I believe my travel bug started there. I wanted to go to all the places I read about in the magazines.
I was used to travelling alone because I used to go on the boat back and forth from Glasgow to Belfast with my younger sister. That would have been from the age of eleven onwards.
When I was seven or eight, I knew all about Machu Picchu, Petra, Lake Titicaca, etc. I remember in the sixties and seventies, when I was older and talked about those places, people didn’t know what i was talking about! Now everyone wants to go and see them.
How has your experience with travel changed as you’ve gotten older?
I think it is much easier to travel now. There is much more choice when it comes to airlines and routes and you can book online. When I went to Australia and New Zealand I booked the whole holiday online myself.
I have more time and I work hard for the extra money to enable me to travel. It is much easier to find holidays as well! Just look at the pages of the Weekend section of The Times – the number of holidays is amazing. I find that as I’ve grown older I have much more confidence to speak to people and discover more about the place I’m visiting. At one time I would have been too shy to mix with other people or to complain about bad service, but not now.
How many Titan holidays have you been on?
I have been on three Titan holidays and I have already booked my next two holidays with Titan.
Which has been your favourite?
I had a truly wonderful trip last year with Titan to Alaska. We could not have asked for a better guide or driver and the accommodation and excursions were excellent too.
I have two highlights that really stood out. The first was a trip to the Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, and the other was to the Denali National Park; we visited on the day that President Obama, to the delight of the Alaskans, changed the name of Mount McKinley to Mount Denali.
What is your favourite destination and why?
Oh Lord! That’s very difficult! I loved New Zealand when I went there and Alaska too. My most emotional and momentous trip was to Petra. I had first seen it in the National Geographic when I was nine. At the age of 60 I finally made it. Just as we reached the end of the Siq and when I had my first glimpse of the Treasury, the tears flowed. I had waited 51 years, it was well worth it and I would love to go back.
Do you go to the same place more than once?
Not usually as there is so much to see in the world and not enough time. But, there are places I would go back to, given the chance and the money.
What’s your experience of travelling with tour guides?
I can only give praise to the guides I have had, especially to Danté – the guide we had in Alaska. He was absolutely wonderful; I think all the ladies fell in love with him! He was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and friendly – he got to know everyone’s likes and dislikes. He would point out places of interest that maybe someone had mentioned. He even found quilting material shops for me to visit. I can’t praise him enough. Other guides on river cruises along the Danube and the Rhine were also excellent.
Do you mind travelling solo? What’s your experience of travelling in a group?
I tend to travel solo within a tour group. I do wish that my friends would travel, but I have become used to joining a group.
I do socialise with the group when I go. Initially it is a bit difficult to strike up conversations with strangers, but once you get over the initial meeting it becomes easier. I made three really nice friends on my Alaska trip and I am going on a trip with one of them next year.
Where’s next and why?
My next planned trip is called Southern Sights and Sounds. It goes from Atlanta to Nashville before taking visitors to Memphis, New Orleans and lots of other places. I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans for the Jazz. It’s my sister Joan’s 70th birthday this year and my siblings are helping me to take her on this trip as she is a big Elvis fan.
I am going on a very special trip next year with Liz, who I met on the Alaska trip. We’re going to do the Trans-Siberian Railway. Since I was a wee girl in Belfast I’ve wanted to see Mongolia, China and Russia. Genghis Khan! Wonderful horsemen! Mongolia! I could go on and on!
Article published on: 9th June, 2016