This article was originally published on July 15, 2011.
There are tourists, there are travelers—and then there are the Treworgys. Tourists are the people who go to theme parks and national monuments to snap a few photos, while true travelers make time to experience the diversity of the world far from their own shores. But the Treworgys—Charlotte and Harry of Orono, Maine—are in their own league: They’ve spent a full five decades exploring the cultures of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America side by side. From the Sahara to the Himalayas, they’ve joined us for 42 Grand Circle and OAT trips.
Charlotte and Harry Treworgy have traveled with Grand Circle for more than 20 years, exploring diverse destinations like Angkor Thom, Cambodia (pictured here).
Now 83 and 87 respectively, Charlotte and Harry have been globetrotters for more than half their lives. Married in 1948, they didn’t travel abroad until 1961, when the oldest of their sons was a teenager. Those first trips were to Austria and Italy for skiing, and the boys loved the adventure as much as their parents did. Over the next few decades, they also took family trips to England, each year completing another segment of the 260-mile route from Cornwall to Plymouth.
Even so, the couple had no choice but to stay close to home most of the time. Charlotte was busy raising their three sons, while dime-store owner Harry served on the Maine Governor’s Council, then in the legislature, and eventually multiple terms as mayor of Orono. But when the boys were fully grown, the Treworgys began to travel more often to far-flung locales. In 1987, they heard about Grand Circle from friends, and began what would become nearly a quarter-century of trips with us.
Harry Treworgy visits a local school in Turkey, where he met these charming students.
Their first stop was China. Harry recalls that, everywhere they went, there were sights and sounds he had never quite imagined. “It was great,” he says. “Especially sailing down the Li River in a little boat with 15 people.” That experience whetted their appetite for more, each year bringing a new trip (and sometimes two or three). They traveled with Grand Circle for so long that they enjoyed itineraries and—in some cases—even countries that no longer exist (like Yugoslavia).
With so many vacations to so many destinations—India, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, and Tibet, just to name a few—it’s hard for the pair to single out favorite memories. But Charlotte always recalls an elephant ride (a former optional tour) during her Heart of India adventure. “We got up on their backs, and I remember how it felt looking down from that height. And when the trainers started washing the elephants, well, the elephants just seemed so excited. I could feel how happy they were!”
Charlotte has met many fascinating local residents as she’s explored the world with Grand Circle and OAT, like this friendly horse in Rabat, Morocco.
The Treworgy’s Inside Vietnam adventure offered a different kind of perspective. “We talked about the war quite a bit on that trip,” recalls Charlotte. “And we had a chance to crawl through the [Cu Chi] tunnels to really understand what that was like.” But the greatest revelation was how thoroughly welcome the couple felt in Vietnam, despite the history of that conflict. “Everyone was so inviting and friendly! Once, we stopped to watch a celebration in a village, and they asked us to take part. They made us their guests just like that.”
As the decades passed, Charlotte and Harry proved themselves to be ideal travel partners. “Harry is terrific,” she says. “He’s curious about everything and pleasant to be around.” Harry returns the compliment. “She’s my back-up—great to travel with, and never any complaining.” If good attitudes were everything, they’d still be traveling today; but the effects of age have finally caught up with them. Charlotte explains, “We’ve got the wobblies now. We just can’t walk the way we used to.”
Charlotte (second from right) enjoys a warm welcome from this local Turkish family during a Home-Hosted Dinner.
With a final Classic Costa del Sol vacation earlier this year—the “golden” anniversary of their very first trip abroad—the Treworgys drew their 23-year-long journey with us to a close. But they don’t have to look far to find reminders of the world they’ve seen. Underneath their feet lie carpets and kilims from their trips to India and Tibet, while a Vietnamese water puppet sits near their home phone. Best of all, they have each other: sharing memories that span five continents, dozens of countries, and a half-century of exploration, they’re truly in a class of their own.
I'd love to hear about your own recollections of discoveries around the world. You can share them with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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