Sojourn bike tour guests tell us time and time again that our tour leaders are the best in the business. For those who have yet to travel with Sojourn, our bicycling vacations feature two world-class tour leaders who are truly jacks of all trades. In addition to ensuring guest safety and enjoyment while on vacation, our tour leaders also make for exceptional travel companions. Needless to say, we take great pride in these ‘curators of fun’ who are not just employees, but rather, like our guests, they are family.
Every tour leader has a remarkable story to tell and would be happy to share more with you on tour next time you ride with Sojourn. You might just end up with a new life-long friend!
Next up in our Meet Your Tour Leader series is Barb Lougee, aka “Louie” or “Kingdom.”- a reference to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, where Barb was born and raised. Though she currently resides in South Burlington, you’ll be able to experience her stellar tour leader services on our Southern Arizona, Texas Hill Country, Finger Lakes, Niagara Wine, Lake Champlain, Vermont Fall Foliage, and Palm Springs Tours.
Barb is tough as nails and embodies what it means to be a leader. As one of Sojourn’s shining stars, she has been showered with praise due to her inherent genuineness, always encouraging guests to pace at their potential on her tours.
Green Mountain Girl
I was born in Island Pond, Vermont, a small rural town that is a whopping 4.6 square miles large. I stayed there until my family relocated to southern Vermont, where I graduated from High School.
Prior to Sojourn
After graduating from Keene State College, I was offered a position in their Admissions Office, where I stayed for several years. However, being a native Vermonter, I was eager to come back to the Green Mountain State and accepted a position at Johnson State College as the head coach of their women’s basketball team. From there, I was granted the opportunity to become the new Athletic Director. In addition to my responsibilities as Athletic Director, I developed programs that integrated the local community.. We offered memberships to people of all ages, so I had the privilege of working with children, college students, and the senior members of the community. The facility provided swim lessons, a fitness center, spin classes, and much more. This experience has really helped me to accommodate diversity of riding skills and abilities on our trips to ensure that the week guests spend with us is sure to be a life changing experience for them.
The Sojourn offer followed an early retirement from Johnson State College. My first tour was the Texas Hill Country Tour in 2013. 5 days before the trip, one of our regular leaders at that time had to pull out for an emergency, and I was asked to step in as a replacement. The rest is history.
Best Moments at Sojourn
I truly don’t realize when the best moments are happening at the time, until a tour has ended and a guest contacts me to share their experience. To hear how a guest rediscovered themselves or their relationships or had an epiphany while on a trip with me are truly the best moments. There are always fun and creative things going on while on tour, but it is really a highlight for me knowing that I helped someone beyond what they expected coming in.
Sometimes I wish we could take bits and pieces of all the tours and put them into one. Our tours have so many great aspects that it is hard to pick a favorite. If I had to choose, I would say any tour in Vermont. My heart wants to showcase Vermont, and getting people to come up here and experience it for themselves is wonderful.
My personal favorites are the small, intimate boutique hotels in which we stay. The Waybury Inn on our Vermont Fall Foliage Tour or Geneva on the Lake for our Finger Lakes Trip would be great examples, as they embody the personal nature of Sojourn tours.
Favorite Meal on Tour
I really enjoy supporting local farmers and knowing the origins of my food. Being raised on a Vermont farm, it goes without saying I am a huge meat lover. A duck or steak dish on any of our trip dinners makes me a happy girl! It makes it extra special when it comes out of the kitchen from one of the award winning chefs and restaurants we visit on our trips.
Who is a Sojourn Guest?
My image of a true Sojourn guest is always evolving but if I were to try and group them together, I would say the average guest enjoys an active life filled with exploration, seeking a healthy lifestyle, and is a connoisseur of the finer elements of travel that Sojourn offers. Riding abilities vary, but their commonality lies in a passion for the saddle or the hike and the excitement for what's to come on the road ahead.
We hope you’ll get the chance to meet Barb and our other amazing Tour Leaders as you choose to explore new destinations with Sojourn in 2018. For more information on our upcoming tours, view our full tour schedule.