The Leisure Travel Team

More than world travelers, Forbes Travel Leisure Consultants are world-wise and travel savy. They can secure the best rooms or scoop the best deals. They’ll suggest unusual locales, or book your favourite spot year after year. They’re as comfortable orchestrating an elaborate expedition as they are managing a weekend sporting trip. Always professional and ever-committed.

It’s about knowing the world. It’s about knowing their profession. And more importantly it’s about knowing you.

Lisa Bain  –  Senior Leisure Consultant

LisaB_BioFor a foodie like Lisa, learning how to make Nasi Goreng and Gado Gado from scratch, while staying at the Honeymoon Guesthouses (in Ubud, Bali) ranks high on her list of favourite vacations. Waking up every morning to find freshly baked croissants and steaming lattes on the veranda was a much appreciated added bonus.

Egypt inhabits a special place in Lisa’s heart. Her cherished memories include barging up the Nile, from Aswan to Cairo, having her childhood imaginings made real. At Giza, she rode camelback past the Sphinx, and explored the claustrophic depths of one of its pyramids. The whole experience was capped by a visit to Cairo’s Egyptian Museum to witness the astounding collection of artifacts from all of those temples and tombs.

Once, after taking a nasty fall in Majorca, just prior to embarking on a Contiki tour, Lisa ended up with a badly injured leg and was faced with tough decision. The choices were either an operation in Madrid  followed by a 2-week hospital stay to recuperate, or getting her leg set and flying home armed with a needle to inject part-way through the flight to avoid getting a blood clot. She ended up choosing the latter option, and subsequently awarded the best ever air crew to the Lufthansa staff who cleared an entire row for her to fly home in relative comfort!

Here in Vancouver, Lisa and her friends love visiting Four Seasons’ Yew Restaurant for its fantastic food, and half-price wine specials. Or you might find her poking around in her backyard garden, steadfastly trying to avoid earthworms.

Manya Kellou  –  Senior Leisure Consultant

ManyaExcept for the stream from which they got their drinking water, the first body of water Manya ever saw was the Mediterranean Sea, as her family left war-torn Algeria to join her father in France. It was the first time out of her country of birth, and the first time she’d ever seen anything as large as the ship they travelled on.

Since then, she’s visited much of the world, from the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the splendor of the Serengeti. Along the way she’s witnessed snow in Phoenix, a massive thunderstorm in New Orleans (the likes of which she’d never seen before or since), and floods in Venice in the late 80’s. Once, while walking in the pouring rain in Grenada Spain, she bumped into her nextdoor neighbour – and she had no idea they were travelling in the same country!

Manya loves reading, mostly novels from French or Canadian authors, and it’s her favourite way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The list of people she would have most loved to meet include Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Josephine Baker. Her childhood dream career was to be a flight attendant, and now her retirement goal is to spend three months a year on the French Riviera!

Sally Samler  –  Senior Leisure Consultant

Sally Bio Photo 2014Sally, being B.C. born and bred, has fond memories of summer road trips with her family from their West Vancouver home out to a cottage her family rented out in the Okanagan Valley, on the shores of Skaha Lake. As an eight year-old, she was specifically impressed by a huge wooden cigarette, suspended from a roadside gallows at the entrance of Manning Park, warning of the forest fire danger caused by careless smokers! The destination was a cottage called “The Lazy Leprechan”, and it was a cherished annual pilgrimage for many years, extending well into her teen years. As an adult, she was able to pay a return visit with her husband and her own two daughters. It was these trips which later led to the construction of their own getaway home in Tulameen, near Princeton.

Sally has been many places during her lengthy career in the travel industry, and the place that has stood apart from them all is Sandy Lane in Barbados. A particular little detail, not overlooked by Sally, were the snazzy peppermills that caught the crushed pepper to allow for accurate and even distribution on her plate! She’s looked high and low ever since and has never found a gadget quite the same. Another highlight of this agent familiarization trip was a stay in Princess Margaret’s villa on the island of Mustique. Each agent had their own private room (Sally’s was complete with outdoor rain shower), and they were treated to a meal prepared by the villa’s own chef. The infinity pool had to be seen to be believed.

And finally, as testament to the formerly glamorous heyday of the travel agent, Sally remembers a time in the mid 60’s when a bunch of agents from Vancouver hopped on a Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) propeller-powered flight from here to Grand Cayman to pick up passengers. Most of the DC-4 aircraft’s seats were stacked up and out of the way on the flight down, allowing plenty of space for the select few to roam around the plane unencumbered. After a quick turnaround in Grand Cayman, the flight headed to New Orleans for a necessary refueling stop, combined with an overnight stay. While in New Orleans, although hotel rooms were supplied, the intrepid travellers decided to forego sleep in favour of an all-night rum-fueled party stop before heading back to Vancouver. Doubtless today they would have been denied boarding for that leg of the trip!

Gisela Maskell  –  Senior Leisure Consultant

GMaskellAnyone who knows Gisela well would tell you that she possesses boundless energy, and is rarely found in a state of rest! In 2007, after nearly a dozen years at the helm of Hastings Travel and then corporate partner at Forbes Travel, Gisela decided to move in a different direction. She has reduced her workload to spend more time with her three grandchildren, but still finds time to help her devoted clients with their unique travel requests.

Since her semi-retirement, Gisela has travelled to a growing number of fascinating places. She has escorted small groups to Africa, visiting Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In 2012, she again visited her beloved Africa. Highlights of this adventure included observing the migration in the Serengeti, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, and volunteering in a clinic in Zambia.

Gisela has also hosted cruises around South America and the South Pacific, including several weeks on board the unique ship known simply as “The World”. She loves assisting clients with every aspect of their travel plans, and is very happy to accompany individuals or groups requiring a savvy and experienced travel companion.

Notable among her achievements, Gisela was twice included in Chatelaine Magazine’s list of Canada’s top 100 woman business owners. She appreciates the synergy of Forbes Travel’s office and enjoys sharing experiences with her colleagues.