Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Norwegian Experience Wrap Up

As the sun sets on another Norwegian Experience trip, we bid a fond farewell to this year's winner, Judy. I thought a nice way to round out this series was with a wrap-up interview with Judy. So, without further adieu, here we go:

How did it feel to be back home in the U.S.?
It actually feels fine being home again. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since we came home… it’s gone so quickly. I have a new appreciation for home as well as an extended appreciation for Norway.

Please tell me what your favorite part of the tip was?
Favorite part of the trip??? That’s a great BUT difficult question. I can’t think of anything that was not a favorite part: the beauty and cleanliness of the country, the friendly and helpful people, the delicious food, the glorious hotels, the modes of public and private transportation, the private tours, EVERYTHING!

If you could do the trip over, is there anything you’d change or do differently?
I would have appreciated having at least one (or two) more days in each city to sit and relax – to enjoy the atmosphere a little more.

How was it working with Borton Overseas before and during the trip?
Borton Overseas was absolutely fabulous to work with for our trip. Linda McCormick (the Scandinavian Director) and Elaine Nelson Peik (Scandinavian Specialist) are professionals who went way beyond their “call of duty” to ensure our trip was truly “one of a lifetime.”

I can recommend them without reservations to anyone who wants help and/or advice when planning a trip to Norway. I am definitely thinking about returning and would call on Linda to help me again (and again and again).

What would you say to next year’s winner? Any advice?
Enjoy every minute of your trip; they’re not kidding when they describe it as a “once in a lifetime trip.” Be ready to be amazed from the moment you receive the call that you’ve won this wonderful trip. The planning process is just the beginning.

What would you say to all the people who are recruiting to win for next year’s trip?
Keep up the good work. Although I’m a good example that quality is just as effective as quantity. I recruited four new members – which may not seem like a lot – but the results were the same.

What is your favorite souvenir that you brought back from your trip?
I’d have to say that it’s a tie: my “father and mother” Henning trolls (which I planned to look for and hoped to find) and the beautiful glass vase and “plate” that I purchased at Hadeland Glassverk.

How has this trip helped connect you with your Norwegian Heritage?
I can appreciate the country of birth of my grandpa and great-grandparents even more than before. Their rich heritage is a part of me that will always be a part of who I am. I can also appreciate the beginning of the lives of many of our members who were born in Norway and immigrated to our area (Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood) even more. It meant a great deal to many of them who followed my travels, especially when they knew we visited their home towns or traveled through their birthplaces. (“You went right by our family farm when you were on the train to Stavanger.”) Their excitement made me even more excited about my trip.

Now that you’ve been home for a while and had some time to process everything you saw and did in Norway, any final thoughts on the contest, the trip or the experience?
It’s obvious that my trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I doubt if I will ever be able to afford a trip like this myself. As a retired school teacher married to a retired state employee, our vacations have been and will probably always be very modest in comparison.

However, I will ALWAYS have my memories of this fabulous trip – where I had the opportunity to fly business class, be met at an airport by a driver holding a sign with my name on it, be driven in a Mercedes or Jaguar “taxi,” receive personalized tours with a private guide, stay in five-star hotels, and eat at some world-famous restaurants. In other words, be treated like “queen for a day” for twelve straight days!!!!


MJ said...

Nice interview

Erik Evans said...

Thank you. Judy was a lot of fun to interview.