Given Jody Brunner’s upbringing, she likely had no choice but to end up in the travel industry. Her parents were tried and true experience junkies, and Jody had the joy of going along when the two needed a ‘fix’. Needless to say, their ‘fixes’ were nothing short of magical.
Growing up in Wooster, OH, Jody’s father owned a 24-foot Cobia Fly Bridge. Each year, her family explored rivers and lakes for weeks at a time with no set plan and with gas tanks tied to the front of the boat in case they couldn’t find a gas station. Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake Huron, the Ohio River, and the Monongahela River were just a few of the waterways navigated by that Cobia. Jody can still feel the bow of the boat under her feet as they drifted under the center of a Kentucky lake waterfall.
The boat was not their only mode of travel, however. They had epic car excursions as well. Once when Jody was in her early 20’s, still single and working full time, her parents picked her up in North Carolina and drove her to California and back in just under two weeks. In that short amount of time, she got to board the Queen Mary, see the Spruce Goose (the massive wooden plane that flew only once), and drive part of Route 66. “We had to drive almost 500 miles a day toward the end of the trip to get me back to Charlotte in time to go back to work,” she remembers.
Sadly, Jody’s dad passed away at the all-too-early age of 51, and Jody’s mom, Marilyn, lost her built-in travel partner. Undeterred, she kept traveling but felt uncomfortable among the many couples. So she started a widow and widower’s club; a group of men and women who met for cards, potlucks, and social events. The group eventually began traveling together and Marilyn took on the task of organizing their outings. She was so competent that she turned her service into a business, planning group tours for seniors. She called her company Get Away Tours.
Marilyn encouraged her daughter open her own Get Away Tours in North Carolina, and for years Jody put it off. But very recently she realized the person who could give her coaching as well as the best (and free!) advice on starting this business was only a phone call away. Why waste time?
Jody has just started planning trips for senior groups, but she already has some fun excursions on the books. In July, she’ll take a group to Greensboro to the Barn Dinner Theater, the oldest dinner theater in the US in continuous operation. Her participants will enjoy a gourmet meal as well as the musical Soul Sistas. In September, she is planning a two-night trip to the Biltmore Estate and the city of Asheville that will include meals, lodging, guided tours, and a visit to the Basilica of St. Lawrence. She also plans to participate in a few of her mom’s organized trips – a Pacific coast adventure through Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco in August, and a train trip through the Grand Canyon area including Sedona and Scottsdale. On top of all that, she is open to creating a customized trip for any local NC groups who are interested in traveling.
Jody’s motto is “Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.” Jody has taken the trips and she knows where to find all the footwear and pastries you’ll need. Just give her a destination (or ask her for one!) and she’ll take it from there.