My mother called me “Sherri Go Gardner.”
Why? Because she said, “If a car is moving, you’re in it. Half the time you don’t even ask where you’re going!”
I always figured it was because I lived in four different states and two different countries before I was 6 years old.
From age 6 to 18, however, I stayed put in Tennessee. From age 18 until today: I stayed put, albeit in a different part of Tennessee.
The wanderlust, however, stayed put, too, even though I had little time to indulge it. Since 2011, I have indulged.
Now I am starting a new adventure that combines a lot of the things I love in my life – travel, planning, finding good deals and sharing good times with friends and family. I guess what I really have is a new job, but it feels much more like a new adventure.
SGH Go Travel is my new home-based travel agency. I actually began planning and implementing this new business at the end of 2019 when I started planning and booking cruises and vacations for a few of my friends and family. I planned to kick it off with my new logo, business license and big plans in February 2020.
Okay, so that didn’t turn out to be the best idea. I spent most of 2020 and part of 2021 canceling and redoing the vacations I had booked – both for Neville and me and for friends.
On the positive side, I also had a whole year to do more training, forcing me to not do my proverbial “cart before the horse.” I affiliated with a group called Cruise Brothers. We specialize in cruising, but also do a lot of bookings for all-inclusive resorts, beach vacations and any other kind of travel you can imagine. Want an African Safari? I have a lead on a good one!
Because you are all my friends, I will admit that it’s a bit scary. My normal over-extended confidence is taking a back seat to some doubts and fears. Until today, I felt comfortable and confident in the jobs I do. I love writing this column, and the boss says I can keep writing it. I enjoy writing and sometimes photographing events for VIP Knoxville magazine. I love the work I do for AMENSupport, a non-profit that offers support to people with the rare disease Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia.
This is a new set of skills with much to learn and a lot of responsibility. Am I too old to learn new tricks?
When my Alcoa friend Dr. Jane Qualls retired, I asked this busy, vibrant woman what in the world she was going to do with her time. She told me that she wasn’t 100 percent sure yet, but that her intention was to do something totally different from anything she had done up to this point.
“It’s important to get out of your comfort zone and learn new things. Use ‘muscles’ you haven’t used in your old life. Learn, experiment, try new things.”
Good advice, I think. Let’s Go, Wander, Travel!
Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons.