For most of our careers, we worked in the corporate world. Kathy spent 25+ years as a Human Resources executive, and Charley spent most of his career in sales. We discovered European travel on our honeymoon trip, and it’s changed our lives. In Europe we’ve found everything we enjoy, in the most beautiful places we’d ever imagined. Now we love sharing the special places we’ve discovered in Europe with others. And although we sure didn’t plan it this way, our earlier career experiences have given us just the right skills for organizing trips and working with people.
In the past 20 years we’ve made 30 trips to Europe, most of them involving our daughter Kelly (now 19). One trip was more than a year, and the last nine years we’ve been able to spend most of each summer in Europe. Our travels have taken us to 17 European countries, usually involving the “slow travel” approach of spending a week or more in each place. We’ve especially enjoyed our seven long-distance walking trips, including a 192 mile walk across England in 2004. We love the great cities of Europe, but we’re most drawn to the countryside, mountains, and smaller villages: the special places we visit in our European Experiences trips.
After taking a family sabbatical in 2004-2005 to travel and live in Europe for 14 months, we decided to change direction. We launched our Luberon Experience trips and pursued flexible careers that would enable us to develop and lead trips in Europe several months each year.
Charley is semi-retired and enjoying his dream of writing novels. He’s now published two books, both available on Amazon in paperback and for the Kindle: A Chateau in Provence and A Villa in Tuscany. All his books are set in places in Europe that we know and love…. he’s working now on book number three, A Cottage in the Cotswolds.
In addition to our work with European Experiences, Kathy is on the faculty of business school at the University of Tennessee, where she teaches international business and human resources. Her work at UT has enabled her to travel to China and India to learn more about business and culture in these two countries. She’s also been involved on several internet travel sites and taught a popular class in UT’s non-credit program for several years, “Planning Your European Vacation.” You can find a list of Kathy’s online European travel articles and trip reports here.
Our first Luberon Experience trips were in September 2006, and we’ve since welcomed 37 groups to Provence, Tuscany, the Cotswolds, the Salzkammergut, and Bavaria. Our groups have enabled us to get to know wonderful people from all over the world, and we’ve formed lasting friendships. Many of our early Luberon travelers asked about the possibility of joining us for a similar experience in other parts of Europe that we love. So in 2009 we expanded to include other trips each year and hosted back-to-back weeks in the Salzkammergut of Austria and the Bavarian Alps of Germany. In 2010 we offered The Cotswolds Experience in England for the first time, and in 2011 we hosted two groups in the Chianti region of Tuscany. We returned to Chianti and the Salzkammergut in 2012 and will offer a new trip to the Dordogne in France in 2013. It’s been fun to prepare for these new trips and to share other treasured places in Europe with old and new friends.
In late 2012 we began a new adventure… another dream come true. We now have our own apartment in the heart of the village of Bonnieux, a place we’ve tried to make very special. We can’t be there most of the time, so it’s available for weekly rentals. See our Luberon Experience website for photos and information about our apartment… maybe a vacation rental in Provence is right for you!
This is more than just a business for us! We know the needs, expectation and interests of travelers, because we’re travelers too. We truly love sharing special places with others and creating unique experiences, lasting memories, and “best ever” vacations.