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Tanya Haigh – Making Her Dreams Come True

As a child I was obsessed with travel, and collected foreign coins and dolls dressed in their national costumes. The wanderlust in me came from my father, who also loved travelling. He wrote travel journals for every destination he visited, and took amazing photographs.

As a grown up I was an accountant, but my heart was in the world of travel.

Every day of annual leave was spent abroad, following in my Father’s foot-steps, I wrote travel journals, took thousands of photographs and really immersed myself in local cultures.

My father had always wanted a travel business in his retirement, but sadly didn’t make it, we tragically lost him Christmas 2007. It hit me really hard, and made me realise that we must fulfil our dreams before it’s too late. About a year after his death, I took a trip to the Amazonian Jungle, Rio Carnival and Iguazu Falls. This trip blew my mind, not just because of the amazing scenery and weather, but also the people that we met. A beautiful mix of Indigenous Jungle Tribes, Brazilian city dwellers, and tourists who we shared happy memories with. One of those chance meetings was with a tourist from Leeds, on Copacabana Beach.

He was the reason that I’m where I am today, but we didn’t know it at the time. My partner and I spent time with him in Rio. We enjoyed Carnival parties together, and promised to keep in touch when we got back home. We also met a wonderful couple from Berkshire, he was a gemmologist who was fascinated with the crystals mined in Brazil and Argentina. He knew how much I loved Citrine, but stopped me buying any whilst we were there…… A week after our return to the UK, I received the most beautiful piece I have ever seen – a birthday gift from him to me. For those of you who don’t know, Citrine is the stone of abundance, and it certainly made my dreams come true.

So, going back to the man from Leeds, he invited us to a party for his birthday a month later. At this party he introduced me to a lady who managed his property, and also worked part time in her father’s travel business, we all kept in touch from time to time.

I’d really started to get the bug to travel more, there was so much to see but I couldn’t ask for any more time off from my accountancy job, so I decided to leave, and secretly planned my trip to South America.

On the evening that I left, I poured myself a glass of wine, and thought oh hell what have I done?   Ten minutes later, I received a phone call from “the lady I met at that party” – her father wanted to retire and sell his travel business to someone who was well travelled and could run a business ……… they had picked me!   Now isn’t that proof that if you dare to shut a door, another one opens?

My next trip was such a special trip for me because it healed a lot of grief following my Dad’s death, it released stress from my longstanding employment in accountancy, and made me realise it’s a big world out there, so see it, and show others how they can too.  But more importantly, our time with the Peruvian Street Kids, they really did own nothing but beautiful souls and happy smiles, which gave me strength to come back to the UK, and not worry about walking away from a decent salary to earning nothing in my first year of travel training.

6 years on, I have never looked back, travel is “my world” and all the things I did previously, were preparing me for this business, I do it for me and my Dad.