Judy Polkinghorne has turned her love of travel into a business called Girls on Tour, taking groups of women overseas.
Judy Polkinghorne has turned her love of travel into a business called Girls on Tour, taking groups of women overseas. Nicola Brander

Girls On Tour a wife's passion

FOR many years Judy Polkinghorne struggled to get her husband to travel and her dreams of visiting exotic locations around the globe remained unfulfilled.

So the Mooloolaba woman did what anyone with incurably itchy feet would do – she left him at home.

Now Judy has gone a step further and turned her passion into a business, which enables her to spend about 20 weeks each year travelling the world.

“My husband and I have been married for 30-odd years, but he just doesn’t like to travel,” the former accountant explained.

“We’ve lived in Mooloolaba for 20 years and he says it’s a beautiful part of the world, so he has no reason to leave.

“He’ll jump on a cruise at the drop of a hat and I got him overseas in 2009 when we went to see his relatives in the UK and I took him to Paris to see the Moulin Rouge ... but he would much rather stay at home.”

These days that’s what he gets to do while Judy escorts groups of women around the world.

Some, like her, are married to men who don’t have the travel bug.

Others are single, divorced or widowed.

All of them want to see the world without having to go solo.

Girls On Tour was launched in 2006, with Judy and two women visiting Egypt.

Now she leads several trips a year to destinations as exotic as Italy, Turkey, Kenya and Tanzania.

Then there’s the ever-popular England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the battlefields of France,

This year alone her travel diary includes a 30-day tour of France, a European river cruise and visits to Canada, Alaska, Vietnam and South America.

“I don’t understand the concept of dragging your husband or partner around the world when they don’t want to go,” she said.

Egypt has long been Judy’s favourite destination and she has been there five times, but she says a recent visit to East Africa – Kenya and Tanzania – almost tipped the balance.

“It was mind-blowing,” she said.

“The hospitality, the people, the animals and your accessibility to them.

“It’s such a friendly place and the accommodation is unique – on top of a small mountain in a tent or cabin that blends into the environment.

“Egypt has always been my favourite, but now East Africa comes close.”

Even with so many Frequent Flyer points under her belt, there are still some places Judy dreams of visiting, with Morocco at the top of the list.

And she has three very simple tips for anyone wanting to hit the road.

“Travel light, travel light and travel light,” she said.

“Put your things out on the bed, then halve your clothes and double your spending money.”

More information on Judy’s planned trips can be found on her website www.girlsontour.com.au

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