They told me this was to be a diary, so pardon me if I divert from a lot of travel talk for a moment. So we are half way through summer and all of a sudden, my world was turned upside down. I received tragic news that my brother passed away suddenly, and my life came to a halt. Being from Scotland (with family back there) and living on the west coast of the US makes this news even more difficult to fathom. The distance, and the inability to grieve with family members make the burden virtually unbearable. When I got the news, everything came to a standstill.
Of course being in the travel business I tried to call in some favors to get home, but airlines are not very accommodating, and last minute airfares are at their highest right now. And of course, being in the travel business, it was the kind of money I simply did not have. My work also came to a halt, as it was extremely hard to concentrate and get things done. One bright spot was that my clients were very understanding. When given the situation, they can only try to comprehend what you must be feeling.
An emergency like this has always been something that lingered in the back of my mind while traveling the world these past 15 years. What would I do if something like this happens? How would I cope? It’s not like I am able to run home and share in the grief with those closest to me. I thought about maxing out our credit card and just leaving; but what about work? Unfortunately I cannot take an unlimited leave of absence; and how am I supposed to know when I will feel better to return? It was a confusing time and after it sunk in, and when I did return to work, I tool it day by day.
I do have an amazing partner and friends and they have been my support and rock throughout. I thought instead of spending the dollars on last minute flights, why not bring my family here and we can do something special together in my beautiful city of Boise? It would give my family a change of scenery from the sadness in Scotland.
To my surprise my friends all rallied together and put a fundraiser together in memory of my brother. It was the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. With funeral costs being so high back home, my family certainly couldn’t afford to come here now. So with a fundraising raffle, my family will be able to come here to visit later and we can celebrate the life of my brother together as a family.
My friends hung posters in local stores and bars. Sold tickets to their friends and complete strangers. It touched my heart. I found myself smiling again at all the efforts and hard work of folks. Not being from Boise, and only having lived here 2 years I was amazed at the compassion.
Well the raffle was drawn last Saturday. More than enough was raised and the winner got a trip to Hawaii and $1000 in spending money—he initially thought it was a joke.
And now, I have just booked the flights to bring my mum, sister and nephew here; and I’m back at work ready to conquer the world again.
Nikki Smith works in a Boise based brick and mortar agency, Global Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Nikki got her start in her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland when she started in the industry as a flight attendant. She has also worked as a guide for ski and snow vacations worldwide.