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Follow your dreams - Work. Play. Love. Learn.

August 30, 2015 4:53 A.M.
Work while you play, or play while you work.

TRAVEL CONNECTS us to the people, places and experiences that we are interested in. It is easy to delay or deny ourselves the opportunity to follow our passions or take time out to do something different. To stray from the familiar and chase our dreams can be a big commitment, complicated with concerns and uncertainty. However, success and happiness can follow a journey beyond the ordinary.

Many milestones, momentous memories and moments of discovery are the result of travelling outside the comfortable and familiar. I used to be extremely shy and scared of speaking in public, but overcame it when I started travelling; talking to new people expanded my comfort zone. I went on to become a tour guide and discovered an aptitude to be a leader in certain contexts. I enjoyed showing people the sights and sharing information.

In addition to travel and adventure, I really enjoy snowboarding. I followed my dreams and moved to Whistler for a season, and then to the world’s largest ski areas in the French Alps for three seasons. I discovered that my passion for sharing knowledge with people was a skill that was perfectly suited to teaching. I became a certified snowboard instructor.

Along the way, I met a lovely young lady from England who took a one-way flight to follow me to Canada where we got married and “settled down.” As much as it is great to follow your dreams and do what you enjoy, there is always the reality of commitments, which often involve finances. To pay the bills, I continued to employ my interests and skills to supplement my income through various contracts.

In addition to my aptitude for teaching, I have a considerable depth of knowledge with computer software. My strength is in helping people to understand programs such as Excel through practical examples. I have taught in many different environments with an impressive list of international clients. I teach useful skills that save time and increase productivity.

I continue to follow my dreams and interests, combining my skills and interests to offer unique experiences in a travel context.  Now, I am offering others the opportunity to mix business and pleasure. I am putting together training retreats for professional development in enjoyable environments. This is a business expense that has many benefits. You can take a step back to relax and catch your breath while taking some time to learn some new skills that will help you to be more efficient in the office. I can put together custom itineraries and lesson plans. Here are a few examples:

All-inclusive Package in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 
Sept. 19-26: $975 per person including taxes (double occupancy)
Direct flights from Vancouver, transfers, accommodation, food & drinks. Bring your laptop along and learn tips & tricks to help you become more proficient in Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Access and other software in your own beach-front room or in another meeting space at the 4-star Royal Decameron Resort.  The package includes 30 hours of instruction, a combination of one-on-one training and group workshops.

I Bet You’ll Learn Something Useful in Vegas
Oct. 19-22: $625 per person including taxes (double occupancy)
Airfare from Kelowna or Kamloops with accommodation at a 3 or 4-star hotel on the strip or Fremont street and 10 hours of instruction. Participants can e-mail ahead of time with questions and files that they would like to work on. Lessons will be tailored to your needs and will include group sessions as well as individual consulting.

Cruise & Learn – Alaska Inside Passage Including Sitka, Juneau, Glacier Bay & Ketchikan
May 23-30, 2016: $1,299 per person including taxes (double occupancy, inside stateroom)
Starting and ending in Vancouver, see glaciers, whales and spectacular scenery. Learn a lot at sea with 25 hours of instruction time.

James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his website:

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