International Women don’t you just love ’em? I even married one.
On today’s International Women’s Day a shout-out then to some of the international women who took me under their wing.
Of course, the international woman of mystery whose oxter always gives me shade is my own English rose.
And there are many more women from our nearest neighbours in Travel who have guided me on my path than I have room here to mention.
Now if anything underscores this year’s message on International Women’s Day #BeattheBias it is the success of those who occupy the biggest positions in our trade.
And so ladies take a bow, I would be nothing without you… you are all worthy Bandanettes.
Organising my life is hard enough left to just one man which is why I leave that job to my aforementioned English rose.
But when you’re on your travels to the good old Oo Es of Eh you really do need someone on the ground.
And that someone is Jo White who heads up the UK & Ireland media delegation for the American Travel Fair.
I know I speak for all of us indulged travellers who have sought her out to help with dodgy dongles, accommodation and transfers.
And who have danced the night away to the best music acts put on by her American counterpart and fellow superstar Cathy Keefe Reynolds.
Now hosts have a right, nay an obligation, to enjoy the activities they put on for us.
Alas, the generosity of a stranger (moi) to take a passenger’s ski bag meant I was out of commission.
For the day Kate, Jon, Helen and Heather trekked up to see the Hollywood sign, check out Warner Studios and go on a boat trip.
I did have more to write about my West Hollywood hotel though that day.
And I did bounce back to see old friends at Universal Studios the next day.
I love a strong woman, probably as I’m begotten of an Irish Mammy.
And in the Caribbean they don’t come much stronger than Cheryl Carter, Barbados’s Head of Global Markets.
One raised eyebrow will quickly remind you that there will be no going AWOL on her trip.
And so I was left in no doubt when I asked early leave from our dinner to hook up with my half-Scots/half-Trinidadian pal Jevan for Foreday Morning of my obligations.
To be ready for the next day’s activities.
Now what happens at Foreday Morning stays on Foreday Morning.
But when I turned up for our meeting with my leg gashed open I gritted my teeth… the rum through the day helped.
Cheryl is a Bajan through and through, firm, with a heart of gold and I was glad to be her patsy when the Bajans and Scots Travel trade met last year in Edinburgh.
If we’re honest no man likes to take orders (advice) from womenfolk.
But when that woman is the larger than life Marsha Patrick, of the Tobago Tourist board then you’re better just giving in to her.
And so when Marsha quizzed our little group on what occupied us outside work she found a real patsy in your Bandanaman.
Of course it was always going to be tough to follow proud Middlesbrough man and local football club archivist Anthony who only built his own house.
Marsha was less than impressed by my poetry prowess or goat racing ability.
‘Jim, you got no skills,’ she bellowed in her thick Tobagonian patois, rocking the mini-coach with her laughter.
A whole lotta Rosie
One of the best qualities of women is how forgiving they can be.
And Rosie Barcroft has certainly led the way there after I almost brought the roof down in Switzerland.
Waking late, I’d taken a quick shower before hooking up with a by now impatient park for our trek through the Alps.
Trouble was ahead though when I got back to the hotel.
And I was greeted by a stern hotel owner who informed me that the water had seeped into the breakfast room.
Whether I’d be welcome back in that Interlaken hotel is another question but miraculously the Swiss still come calling.
And even when one wonderful ambassador departs (Sara Roloff for Japan) another old pal Vive La Fran Lambert decamps from Normandy.
Most importantly Rosie is still on side and we’ll be skiing in Val d’Isere later this month.
I’ll be showering outside this time.
Of course, all international women should be celebrated, and not least Daddy’s Little Girl.
And I’m happy to do so.. here’s to you International Women.