Nancy Osborne

Wild for Adventure

On a sunny February day, dressed for success in shorts and flip flops, with a severe case of contagious joy, Nancy Osborne exudes a boundless enthusiasm for life, just as it comes, every day. Whether she's working with clients at Affairs to Remember (her insanely busy event rentals company) or zip lining through a cloud over a gorge in the rainforest, she greets each moment in time as a new adventure. If you want to see her eyes light up, just ask about her granddaughter. Ask about her travels and set her soul on fire.

One of Nancy's most exotic and most memorable trips was a familiarization trip to Africa when she was working as a travel agent in Indianapolis in the early '80s. "I've enjoyed everywhere I've gone," she said. "I loved Costa Rica and I loved the Amalfi Coast and Provence, but Africa. It's one of those things that's hard to talk about. Unless you've been there, you can't get a feel for it. It's so vast and so beautiful and so different. That was by far the best. the big old lump in your throat on the day it's time to go home because you don't want to go. It's that overwhelming."

Describing rather primitive accommodations at an African tented campground, she continued, "You eat every meal outside. There are no bugs, no screens, no windows." And no blow dryers. "When you go out for photo safari, you're not in nice hotels; you're in the bush. But once you are there, you don't care. All you care about is getting up at six in the morning to go on the caravans to see the animals," she explained. "I could go on forever and ever. That's how much I loved Africa."

Nancy enjoys traveling alone on escorted tours and making friends along the way. "You get there and you meet up with like-minded people," she explained. Taking a break from the usual holiday hoopla, her most recent trip was to Costa Rica this past December. "This was the first time I ever traveled during the holidays," she said. As part of a group tour, she described a passing sense of collective guilt. "We all went out to watch the moonrise and toasted the families we left behind!" she said.

The two biggest draws for Nancy are nature and adventure, both of which she found in abundance in Costa Rica. "I was lucky enough to see baby green turtles," she said, adding that she has also seen the hatchlings right here at home.

But the greatest thrill was zip lining (a.k.a. canopy riding), her chosen adventure in honor of her upcoming 60th birthday. (On her 50th, she went skydiving.) "You take a tractor up a mountain. Then you walk up these stairs until you really realize how out of shape you are," she joked. "There's a cable attached to a tree. You get hooked up with these belts and you jump off. Here's this huge gorge and a cascading waterfall. It's angled such that you just fly," she said.

Yet, of all the exotic places she has seen, the recurring lesson is how very fortunate we are. After traveling all over the world, Hilton Head Island is still a special place to be. "I like the idea of living on an island. I like it green all year round," she said. "I can walk here and wear shorts in the middle of February."

Up Close
Hometown: Rochester, NY; moved to Hilton Head Island 14 years ago from Indianapolis Family: daughter, Jennifer; son, Todd; granddaughter, Danielle, age 7 Describes herself as: energetic and happy When not working or traveling, find her: walking the beach, exploring the forest preserves, taking in the moonrise over the ocean or watching old movies. Her favorite souvenir: Memories In the future, she plans to: sell her business, buy a motor home and travel cross country.