- Tell us a bit about yourself?
Barbara: I live at the top of the Blue Mountains and love the fresh air and quieter lifestyle. I also appreciate the fact that while being the gateway to the west it is only 2 hours to travel east to the city.
I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and have a background in travel and hospitality, plus coordinating events and teaching. This road has taken me to many interesting and diverse places and given me opportunities to meet and spend time with wonderful people from all backgrounds.
Duncan: Living in the Blue Mountains began work as a Civil engineering draftsman, wasn’t much good at it so went back to do HSC evening classes then Uni and started in theatre. First worked with Scott at QTC in’82. Like most performers, I’ve been a screen printer, service station attendant, taxi and courier driver, newspaper deliverer, set builder, carpenter, gardener, teacher, oh, and an actor! Moved into teaching conversational English around 2000 and then into hospitality and tourism.
- What attracted you to the love of train travel?
Barbara: I’ve loved train travel for as long as I can remember. From steam to bullet trains, it’s a fabulous, comfortable, exciting way to see and explore the countryside.
Duncan: Cinders in the eye going up the Mt Lofty Ranges in 1964, on the way to the Scout Jamboree. On trains, you can chat to friends old and new, look out the window, get up and walk around, eat and drink, read, look out the window, and doze. And get up close and personal with some fine old equipment the historic trains, and some superb new machinery on the modern trips.
- Favourite country in the world and why?
Barbara: Would have to say Japan as we had the opportunity to live and work there for a couple of years as conversational English teachers. The natural beauty is truly stunning with four very distinct seasons – and a rich diversity from wandering through very old towns like Takayama to the most modern of cities – Tokyo.
Duncan: Like my wife Barbara, I also have a very soft spot for Japan. It’s tightly packed, without our open space countryside, and getting around is easy. The cuisine is wonderful, and the scenery exquisite. It is a land of extreme opposites, endlessly fascinating, and at times impenetrable.
- Where haven’t you visited but is on the bucket list?
Barbara: Lake Baikal Trans-Siberian Railway, Orient Express, Canadian Rockies, Switzerland, Vietnam, North Qld, SA, VIC, WA.
Duncan: I want to take a boat trip on Lake Baikal and be there long enough to stroll on the crystal-clear ice when it freezes. And you must take the Trans-Siberian to get there!
Autumn in Vermont, Spring in British Columbia.
- How long have you worked with Railway Adventures?
Barbara: This is my second year with RA.
Duncan: I’ve done 5 tours to date and loved each one.
- Your Favourite Railway Adventures Tour?
Barbara: So far – Wings and Wheels. But also, the Mudgee Weekend Escape Tour with the truly memorable sunset cocktail reception at Ruwenzori Retreat.
Duncan: The S.E. Queensland and Northern NSW 8-day tour was lovely with diverse landscapes, modes of travel, and a great group of people, but it’s hard to beat an evening at Ruwenzori at sunset.
- Your most memorable Railway Adventures Tour?
Barbara: I would have to say the first Railway Adventures trip, the Mudgee Weekend Escape – to see all the planned daily components come together from the initial meet and greet welcome, to watching the onboard chef and team create incredible meals from such a seemingly small kitchen/prep area, and then to witness the joyful chatter and laughter of passengers enjoying these meals/wine in the nostalgic dining cars while chugging along with the passing, everchanging scenery.
Duncan: It’s a pretty exciting day at the Temora Airshow on the Wings & Wheels Tour when the aircraft whizz over, and that was complemented by 4 thousand Correllas rising from the Parkes golf course at dusk.
- What is your favourite international cuisine?
Barbara: Japanese / Asian fusion.
Duncan: I guess it’s the Japanese pancake, okonomiaki. It’s always different in different towns, and always good.
- What are your top 5 packing essentials?
Barbara: Comfortable shoes, non-iron clothes, lightweight jacket, shawl, hat and sunscreen.
Duncan: I try to keep it to a minimum, as smaller cases are so much easier, particularly on longer or fast-moving trips. Camera, hat, sunscreen and non-iron clothes.
- Tell us why you love your job
Barbara: It is very satisfying to be part of a like-minded team that facilitates a well-planned itinerary, creating lifelong memories for enthusiastic passengers.
Duncan: The guests are such a wonderfully diverse group, at different stages of life, and out to have a good time. They leave the power structures and frustrations of home behind and get truly relaxed, which makes the days full of gentle fun and laughter. Amid the tasks that must be done to keep things running smoothly, it’s great to be able to feel part of this atmosphere. And it’s called a “job”?!
Thank you, Scotty and team!
Scott McGregor’s Railway Adventures tour is more than just a holiday, it is a unique way to experience the world. By train you are completely immersed in culture and adventure, exploring the most scenic corners of the world in the comfort of a luxury train. Whether you are an experienced traveller or just beginning to explore this wonderful world, Railway Adventures has something for everyone. Transform your holiday into the most unforgettable adventure of a lifetime with Railway Adventures.