Bags Out at Seven
Perfect Bound Softcover
Bags Out at Seven by Peg Harvey is a collection ofvignettes ofvarying lengths relating to people and places involved in traveling in tour groups. Ms. Harvey was a Tour Director for twenty seven years. She free-lanced during her entire career, working for five or more companies, in order to get a more varied travel experience.
These stories reflect many aspects of human nature as it relates to circumstances, both planned and spontaneous, which occur in the course of travel by any means, but in this book, travel in groups. They reflect on the differences in expectations oftravelers, some opting for adventure at any cost, any inconvenience, some wanting the ultimate luxury, again with no limitations. Some tours are structured for learning experiences, some for sharing cultural or hi storical background, some j ust for sheer enj oyment. And the people who book escorted tours are just as varied in personalities, interests and reactions.
The tales are not concentrated on specific countries or locations.. Although they do include interesting facets ofthe areas visited, the focus is primarily on people, and their reactions to different situations, events, occurrences and special occasions, most beyond their control.
The stories are not told in chronological order. They are not told in the order continents, countries, areas were visited. Rather, they are sectioned according to the happening involving one or more ofthe participants in the tour. They are all true stories, although some are composites ofdifferent people in the same or similar situations.
One section, entitled Pathos and Pain deals with individual physical problems brought about or exacerbated, by the rigors of travel and usually dealt with positively. Another, Flying - Eating - Sleeping includes mostly funny experiences with airline glitches, hotel shenanigans, and adventures or misadventures in dining.
Baggage Blues will bring to the reader’s mind all the problems with baggage inherent in traveling, most ofthem funny, especially as one can relate to them personally. Oops! refers to individual or group behavior which created inconvenience, fright and j ust plain careless boo-boos . Most o f these happenings are funny, some bordering on the ridiculous Enduring Friendships is relatively self-explanatory. Many people on tours, as well as the tour leader, discover common bonds or shared histories that bring a closeness that continues long after the tour has ended. There are other sections dealing with the strengths and frailties ofhuman beings, or successes and failures of products and services. Hopefully, there is enough description in each vignette of the areas visited to stimulate interest for travel to new and interesting places and new and exciting adventures.
As noted, most of the vignettes are humorous, but a few are poignant; sad, but heart warming, some evoke pride, some simply explore personalities as they relate to travel and to other people. All are entertaining.
This is the type of book that can be picked up and read at any time, and put down just as easily. There is no continuous narrative. The reader can choose the vignettes he would like to read, and finish them - one or more, in one sitting. They are stories which can be read and reread to firmly absorb the facts, and to happily reflect on the silly, serious, warmth and sometimes indifference of our fellow man.
Traveling in tour groups is very often maligned as being too regimented, leaving little room for personal interests and exploration, and very tiring. It is true that planned tours are not for everyone. However, for sheer scope of the experience with more time enjoying the attraction than spent driving around looking for it, group travel has no parallel. It goes without saying that group travel is also a money-saver, given the discounts afforded to volume business by airlines, hotels and restaurants, which are passed on to the consumer/traveler by the tour agency.
Sometimes there is concern that not all of the tour members will be pleasant, likeable or amenable to group, or any, travel. Of course, there are isolated instances of obstreperous people whose goal seems to be making everyone else unhappy. This is often the case when a disgruntled spouse is on the tour because of the pleadings, threats, promises of their partner. A seasoned Tour Director can, often with a little reverse psychology and flattery bring about a reversal in attitude.
This book, therefore, is planned, not only to entertain with a little education thrown in, but to encourage people to at least give tour travel a fair trial. In most cases people who do are sold on this method of travel, or use it as a preliminary to further travel in a leisurely and independent fashion to locations of particular interest.
The author, of course, is a proponent of group travel, and even in her personal travels, now geared primarily to seeing places she did not visit as a Tour Director, this is her method of choice.
Peg Harvey was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, from where, at an early age she vowed to depart “as soon as I’m big enough” to escape the dreaded winters. And, she did. After graduation from high school she went to Washington, D. C. (not a whole lot better) where she worked for the War Department at The Pentagon. She met and married her husband, and their first daughter was born there.
After a few years moving around the country with her military husband, eventually making their home in Southern California, her goal was achieved. She happily settled into her role as wife and mother, of their now three daughters, in a warm and sunny climate.
She dabbled in some courses at San Bernardino Valley College, including creative writing classes, and when she suddenly found herself alone and ultimately needing to support herself again, she went to college in earnest at California State University at San Bernardino. She graduated cum laude just before her 50th birthday, with a degree in the Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology and History) and a minor in English. She decided on teaching as a career, so that she’d have summers free to travel, which was a long-held dream.
The first summer, after a year of contract substituting at high school level, she enrolled in a tour to Mexico, specifically the Yucatan Peninsula, to see first hand what she’d studied in Anthropology classes about the early residents of the area, the Aztecs and the Mayans.
The Tour Director was the owner of a small agency which offered tours, mostly in North America. By the end of the tour they were friends, and Peg was asked to go to work for the agency as a Tour Director. She had a hard time believing you could make a living at such a wonderful job, so agreed to work summers, Easter and Christmas breaks and keep the teaching job. She worked for the agency for four years, becoming thoroughly enamored of travel. She eventually came to realize that she was not happy teaching, She sent applications and resumes to several large Los Angeles tour brokers and began free-lancing, working for five companies through the years.
In the twenty seven years she worked as a Tour Director, Tour Escort, Tour Manager she conducted tours all over the world, mostly the South Pacific (Australia, New Zealand and the islands), Asia, South America, much of Europe and, of course, our continent. Out of those travels came her book, Bags Out At Seven which describes in vignettes the people and places of her assignments as a Tour Director. They are poignant, warm and happy, sad, funny, and entertaining.
When she retired, after twenty-seven years as a Tour Director, she moved to Florida to be close to her three daughters and their families, and two siblings, who live from Fayetteville, N.C. south to Clearwater, Fl. Even though she missed her job, it was a move she never regretted.
In the first year after the move she met the man who owned a small agency doing local historical tours to Northeast Florida sites. After a short conversation he asked her to go to work for him as a step-on guide. She continues in that capacity with TourTime of Middleburg, FL. conducting day tours of St. Augustine, Jacksonville and Amelia Island.
Through the years she has written short articles for local newspapers, travel agency and tour company publications, created, edited and wrote school, church and volunteer organization newsletters. This is her first book.
At 83 she admits to having visions of perhaps being the Grandma Moses of the literary world.
Perfect Bound Softcover
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