One of the stories we featured in the magazine was that of Jean Wethmar, the CEO of Cape Lux Travels, a company based out of Australia that organizes tours around the world. All are welcome, but many of the tours are especially aimed towards women. Yes, please! Summer might be winding down in the US, but it’s never too early to start planning that next vacation. Maybe with a personal stylist and Pilates instructor? Read Jean’s story, in her own words, of how she came to be running a boutique travel company and what’s her favorite part about her job!
“On thinking back, I can easily pinpoint where my wanderlust was born. When I was a child, the Boswell Wilky Circus would visit our local town every year. I so wanted to join that circus. Not to be the fat lady or do an amazing balancing act! No, to travel with those gypsies, with their big hoop earrings and crystal balls. Ooh, to have the thrill of moving house every three weeks!!. Such an exciting lifestyle! Of course, my parents didn’t let me go and I thank them for loving me enough through those teenage, rebellious years. But that travel bug remained with me. After completing my education, I applied to become a hostie of the skies. An air hostess! Waking up in Rome one day and searching for African elephants the next! But alas, I met my husband Francois just before my interview, and he swept me off my feet and I canceled that air hostess appointment with South African Airlines. We got married. We honeymooned in Madagascar, had three gorgeous daughters and the only traveling I did for a long while was to the supermarket and back. We lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, “All those days that came and went… that was life.” We did have an annual seaside holiday, sometimes more than one a year, but it wasn’t until our daughters were independent that I could again address that wannabe gypsy in myself!
My husband’s business took him to he skies to travel, so I became his escort on business travels. Aah, finally! My suitcases traveled to Europe, Americas and Australia. Then they discovered Vanuatu and Laos, and even more exotic, India. We immigrated to Sydney, Australia and all of a sudden, my world started spinning. Living in such proximity to South East Asia, exotic destinations were on our doorstep. We visited Vietnam, not the harsh heat of the war-torn country that I had seen depicted, and I fell in love! After our first visit, I signed up for a co-branding partnership with a luxury travel company based in Hanoi, Vietnam and so Cape Lux Travels was born. I had the perfect fitting glove, finally and I didn’t have to join the circus to travel!
I have been escorting small groups, mainly women’s tours, since 2008 to discover the charms of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. We now travel to Canada & Alaska, Japan, Bhutan, Shanghai and even South Africa. The world is indeed my oyster. I am still married to Francois, and we now have two precious granddaughters that get spoilt by this Nonna every time I travel. I have escorted mixed golf tours but the blokes have different agendas when away and oh dear.. that 19 hole! So yes, my tours are primarily aimed at the fairer sex who like my passions- shopping, massages, good food great hotels and relaxing, regrouping and reflecting. I add greater value to my tours by including the services of either a Pilates Instructor, a Personal Stylist, a photographer or an author on my tours. Our hotel choices are in the luxury, colonial charm bracket, ideally! The Havelis and palaces of Rajasthan and cruises like Queen Elizabeth and the Vollendam to Alaska are firm favorites. But life is not always ideal! In Bhutan, for instance, we choose the local ones over the very costly overseas developers because local is always better for the locals. We do treat ourselves for that ultimate massage at an exotic hotel! On looking back (though that’s not the best way to travel ever…looking backward) I’ve been so very blessed to meet such wonderful new friends through my wanderlust travel company. Strangers who started out filled with precaution and trepidation, only to book and come away with me again and again. That to me is the biggest reward and compliment to my tour business. If there’s any wannabe gypsy reading and find themselves stirred to step out onto these wild waters, I say go for it, with full passion and love. Your gifts will make room for you. If any reader would like to accompany me on any of my tours, I’m going to donate to a cause that ‘Once Upon A Tea Time’ chooses. My commitment is my honor and that’s another virtue my tour company operates under. Integrity and honesty and total commitment. My mantra is recover, relax, renew, and reflect because life is too short to worry about the small stuff. “- Jean Wethmar.
Glam Women Tour, Saigon with Personal Stylist/ Shopper 19 – 25 Feb
Glamorous Women Tour, Japan Cherry blossom, 21 -30 March
Beautiful Bhutan II June 3 -12
Glamorous Women Tour Shanghai 5-11 Aug
Girls only tour Canada / Alaska 10 – 25 Sept
Vietnam & Cambodia Pilates & photography 7- 17 Oct
Glamorous Women Tour Rajasthan 4 -16 Nov
Images courtesy of Jean Wethmar/Cape Lux Travels.
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