Even the most menacing circumstances didn’t quell Bill Boyd’s wanderlust.
By 22 years old, Boyd led tour groups throughout the Caribbean, South America and Europe for the travel incentive company Top Value Enterprises.
“I stayed on the road for a year and eight months,” the Hillcrest Forest neighbor says. “If I was home for a month, that’d be unusual.”
Boyd never left the country, much less owned a passport, before he was hired. Guiding hundreds of people through unfamiliar cities was daunting, but the mishaps are some of Boyd’s favorite tales to tell.
On a trip to Jamaica, he was in charge of 250 tourists, who piled into busses headed from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios. A torrential downpour trapped the vehicles on a flooding road during the two-hour ride. The bridge they needed to cross was submerged underwater.
“It’s supposed to be their holiday,” Boyd says. “It’s supposed to be their bright, sunshine-y vacation.”
Boyd jumped out of the bus and waved a $100 bill at a passing beer truck. He bribed the driver to chain the busses together and pull them to the nearest hotel.
No one had their luggage, and some went without necessary medications until the weather improved.
“I had nightmares about it for months,” he says.
The high-stress environment wasn’t a deterrent for Boyd, who later opened his own agency and incentive company, Sunbelt Motivation and Travel. He retired from the business in 2016.
Now Boyd and his partner, Joe Cortina, meander across continents on their own terms. Their upcoming itinerary includes trips to Rome, Athens and New Zealand. When they’re not overseas, the couple escapes the Texas heat at their vacation house in beach-front San Diego.
“Now I can see the world the way I want to see it,” he says.
Boyd documents every place he’s explored in a 6-inch binder, but there’s still a few on his to-see list, like Bhutan and Nepal. He’s contemplated taking the Trans-Siberian Express from Moscow through eastern Russia, but he “never built up the courage to go on an eight-day train ride,” he says.
The couple has favorites they return to constantly, too. Cortina visits Paris yearly, while Boyd’s heart belongs to Rome.
“It’s the antiquity of Rome combined with the flare of the people,” he says. “They exude class. They’re not strutting. They’re not arrogant. They’re stylish.”
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