Peg Aikman

Worldly Woman

The name of her business is Travel Experts, and there is no doubt that Peg Aikman lives up to the name. Her business as a travel agent is based around not only helping clients plan and book worthwhile trips, but also giving them advice on places to stay, eat, etc., which she finds is best discovered through first hand experience. She recently returned from a three-week trip to Australia and New Zealand where she travelled between hotels and took in the culture for her clients thinking about visiting those areas. "I try as much as possible to travel in 'like' accommodations as my clients so that I may give them first hand recommendations," Peg said. "As a specialist in various parts of the world I am required to return on a regular basis to maintain my certifications. Any time I get to travel to a new destination, to see new sights, experience a new culture and culinary experiences to learn firsthand the history of a place, I get an adrenaline rush."

This travel expert has already been to six out of the seven continents, excluding only Antarctica, which she plans on visiting some day. Throughout the course of a year she generally takes two to three "long-haul" trips (Asia, Africa, South Pacific etc.), three to six trips to the Caribbean, Europe and Mexico and two domestic trips. Although it is almost impossible to pick a favorite place on the globe, she has managed to narrow it down to two. "It's a tie for first place: Africa because it is a life altering, life enriching experience; a re-affirmation of life, and New Zealand because of the sheer undiluted jaw-dropping beauty," she said. "My least favorite is probably Germany. I just did not find the culture friendly. Tried it twice. Love the historical content though."

As one can imagine, all of the travelling Peg has done has given way to some pretty spectacular adventures. One particular still sticks out in her mind. "On my first safari in South Africa we came to a lovely tree to observe a baby elephant. The baby approached and our guide told us to sit perfectly still and we would be fine. I whispered under my breath 'where's the mother?' when out from the brush came a very large mama. She sauntered over to just behind my right shoulder. I was terrified and barely audibly I asked, 'can we go now?' Just then, Mama Ellie lifted her trunk just above my head. Then I heard, 'Ok, we go NOW!'  Since then I have been in vehicles "charged" too many times - each time I am terrified, but exhilarated at the same time. It is no surprise to my friends that I do not like ellies."

Although travelling is a big part of Peg's job description, the majority of the work she does in the states is done in front of a computer screen or communicating via cell phone. "I can virtually work from anywhere - all I need is my computer and a cell phone. Since my clients are all over the country, I very rarely meet them, although it is not uncommon for me to fly to a city to meet clients and discuss an upcoming trip," she said. Peg has been affiliated with Virtuoso Agency since 1995, but made the move to become an independent contractor four years ago to give herself more flexibility.

The travelling that Peg has done has only made her appreciate the concept of "home" in the United States, specifically in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and here in Hilton Head. "Traveling the globe has definitively changed my perception of the world and the United States, especially when I travel to third world countries and realize how much abundance we have and the freedoms we enjoy. We sometimes can take for granted the lives we enjoy here."  She believes that her friends and family create "home", and she always loves coming home to share her adventures with them. "Traveling impacts my family and friends in a positive way. I share all my travels with them and they really enjoy my 'Christmas's from around the world'. In sharing with all the children in my life I hope I am encouraging them to travel in the future and opening them up to new cultures and ways of life around the world," she said.

-Up Close-

Family Members: four siblings, seven nieces and nephews, two grand nieces and one grand nephew.
Pets: None, I travel too much!
Favorite TV Show: Amazing Race
Movies: Any period piece and Out of Africa.
First trip ever taken: I was 11 years and my parents took my four siblings and me on a cross-country trip to the newly opened Disneyland in California! We took a southern route out and a northern route on the return. I am not a fan of road trips, however I did replicate the trip in my mid-twenties!