Hello, I’m Jimmy Johnson from Rock Hill, SC, and hopefully we’ll be traveling together somewhere soon. I come to GNT as someone who absolutely loves to travel with others that love to travel!
As a young US history teacher, I took a group of 30 teenagers on a YMCA sponsored travel camp from Rock Hill to Los Angeles for the 1984 Summer Olympics and back camping all along the way. Yes that’s right, camping. But, we made it. What I do still remember about that trip is the facial expressions when we first looked down into Yosemite Valley, when they dashed out on Santa Monica beach for their first taste of the Pacific Ocean (a little colder than they thought!), and the sights and sounds of the parade of nations into the LA Coliseum. I was hooked for life! I “dragged” my wife and 2 sons all across the country to every national and state park we could find for years to come!
Over the years, I have been a dad (to 2 sons, Tripp and Lane), a grandad (to Hadley, Hunter, and Henry), a husband (to Julie), a history and English teacher, a coach, a middle and high school principal, assistant superintendent of schools, educational consultant, and chief operating officer of a regional YMCA. But quite possibly one of my most enjoyable over the last 9 years has been leading a travel group in Rock Hill called the Silver Fox Club sponsored by the YMCA. We have traveled to China, to the Canadian Rockies, to Alaska, to British Isles, to Spain and Portugal, but also to “out of the way” places like Shatley Springs, near West Jefferson, NC, and Korner’s Folly in Kernersville, NC.
I can say without reservation that it is the “experience” of actually being somewhere that you have always imagined being that makes travel magical. It’s the anticipation of looking over Bright Angel trail down into the Grand Canyon for the first time, or seeing the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park that makes it all worthwhile. It’s ALL good. I take great pleasure in making the experience for those traveling with me to be interesting, engaging, and as enjoyable as it could possibly be. It goes without saying that when we travel together, share new experiences and discover new places, we become a family or sorts. I want to get to know you and all those traveling with us in a way that makes these discoveries just more meaningful because you are with friends.
A good tour manager should have your travel experience organized, coordinated, and orchestrated in such a way that each traveler simply has little to be concerned about at all (other than having a great time and maybe what to eat for dinner!) It’s my job to make sure that your experience is a delightful one. Finally, being a teacher at heart, I love a good story. I think that a well told story always helps make new experiences more meaningful (if it’s a good one!)
Finally, take with you a sense of adventure. Trying or doing or seeing something new or maybe just differently. Sure you need a toothbrush, cell phone, umbrella, and a change of clothes, but don’t forget to be prepared for something new and different, maybe even to be amazed. I hope that you will consider joining me as experience new lands, peoples, and cultures, some far away and some in our own back yard!