People & Stories

'It was as if one big happy family was doing a road trip together' – Trafalgar Unlocked Award winner Tracy's story'

Recently updated on July 4th, 2023 at 03:28 pm

Our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards has now closed and after combing through over 10,000 incredible entries, the lucky winners have been announced. Each of these winners will be joining us with their travel companion on a 12-day trip to the Balkans this June. 

One of the lucky winners was Tracy, who shared this story as part of her entry in the Trafalgar Unlocked Awards: 

Canadians were teaching me to make snowballs in Austria. Coming from South Africa, this was my first encounter with snow.

We sat down with Tracy to find out how it feels to be a Trafalgar Unlocked Award winner – and who she’s taking with her! Tracy also shares more about her special Europe trip and why travelling is so important.

GET INSPIRED BY: Balkan Delight

Tracy holding a snowball in Austria

1. How did it feel to be one of the lucky Trafalgar Unlocked Award winners?

There are no words to describe how it feels, to be one of the winners of this incredible trip. Humbled, honoured, thankful, EXCITED doesn’t even begin to explain it.

RELATED CONTENT: Beyond Dubrovnik and Sarajevo: 10 off-the-radar Balkan towns to explore with Trafalgar

2. Have you ever been to the Balkans?

Yes, I did a trip to the Balkans, with the amazing Gasper as Travel Director, before Covid. That was the best trip ever. My fellow passengers were fabulous people and some of us have kept in touch.

GET INSPIRED BY: Balkan Adventure

Tracy in India

3. Who will you take with you on your Trafalgar trip to the Balkans?

My friend Kim is going along. We started off as penpals, then decided to do a trip together. That was in 2011 and this trip will be the 9th one together. So grateful to Trafalgar for allowing her to come along, as we will be travelling from different countries.

4. What are you most excited to see and do during the 12-day Balkans Trafalgar trip?

I am looking forward to revisiting this stunning region. Croatia and Montenegro are spectacular, while Bosnia has so much history and tragedy. On the previous trip, there was an optional dinner with a local family, and I hope to experience this again. I am also looking forward to meeting new friends.

RELATED CONTENT: Experts tells us why the Balkans should be on your list of places to visit

Tracy and her penpal friend travelling Europe together

5. Your Trafalgar Unlocked Awards entry is about your Imperial Europe trip. Why did you choose this Trafalgar trip and when did you take it? 

This trip was in 2011 and it was the first trip I did with Kim, my penpal from the USA. We both liked the countries visited on the trip and the duration was just long enough, in case we did not get along. We met in person, for the first time, at the airport. Luckily, we hit it off and have been travelling together since.

6. What are some of your favourite memories from this trip?

Meeting my penpal for the first time was special. The trip itself was fantastic too. Collette, the Travel Director, is a wonderful lady, with an incredible sense of humour. Everyone on the coach bonded and it was as if one big happy family was doing a road trip together. The places we visited will remain in our memories for a long time, as will the many “firsts” I experienced.

RELATED CONTENT: Why friends you make on a Trafalgar tour last a lifetime

Tracy and friend seeing snow

7. Can you tell us more about what it was like to see snow for the first time in Austria

Where I live, in South Africa, it does not snow. I had seen snow in movies and on TV, but actually touching it for the first time was magical. Some Canadians taught me how to make snowballs and we had a mini-fight, something I am not able to do at home.

8. Why is it so important for you to travel and experience new places and cultures?

Travelling is an educational experience, exposing us to new cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. This enables us to have a wider understanding, tolerance and acceptance of the diversity in the world. Ultimately, it makes us better people.

RELATED CONTENT: 11 things travel can help teach you about yourself in 2022

Tracy at Machu Picchu in Peru

9. What is your all-time favourite travel destination or Trafalgar trip?

It all depends on what you want. If lying on the beach and doing nothing is the aim, head for a place like the Maldives. For history, any country in Europe will satisfy this need. For culture, visit Asia or South America. My favourite Trafalgar trips were Imperial Europe, the Balkans and Venice.

10. How many Trafalgar trips have you taken?

I did a Contiki trip when I was younger. Between Trafalgar and Costsaver, there have been 8 trips. The 9th trip starts in two days’ time, visiting Britain and Ireland.

Tracy travelling in Europe

11. What is your favourite thing about travelling with Trafalgar? 

Most of the trips have been with a friend who lives in the USA. I love that we can each book the trip in our own country and the bookings are linked so that we can share a room. All our trips have been fantastic, with Trafalgar taking care of all the schlep. You just arrive and all the arrangements are in place. Everything runs like a well-oiled machine. Travel Directors sometimes have to think on their feet and revert to Plan B, but it all works out well.

12. Where else is on your bucket list? Where are you travelling to next (besides the Balkans!)?

Scandinavia and the Baltics are on the list. I would also love to visit Russia, but that is not possible right now, for obvious reasons.

Congratulations to Tracy on being a lucky Trafalgar Unlocked Award winner and thank you for sharing your story. You can read more stories from our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards winners on The Real Word blog.

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