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Interview with Trisha Johnson of Aegean Sails

Trisha JohnsonTrisha Johnson is President of Aegean Sails  which offers high end yacht (gulet) charter services in the Aegean Sea (Greece and Turkey). Trisha previously worked in tourism in the 1980s, but spent several years in the relocation business working with New York corporations, before getting back into travel in 2000. What is it that  you do exactly?
I specialize in the beautiful hand made wooden yachts called gulets in the Aegean/Mediterranean.   They cruise the Turkey coast, which they name the Blue Voyage, and the nearby Greek Islands. I am now just setting up to offer Croatia also. A typical day in my business starts early in the morning as my business is centered in Turkey, and Turkey is seven hours ahead of New York. Because we own and operate our own gulet, there are various issues which need to be dealt with, and so I correspond with Captain Yilmaz, captain of the Piccolo and a partner in my business. I then respond to the requests which have come in for information on possible trips.   People are looking for help in all aspects of their trip to Turkey, and I take great pleasure in helping them all I can.   I have worked up a network of experts in the area, so although I may not book many of these aspects myself, I can always put them in touch with someone who can help them.   It is great fun explaining to them the many advantages of a gulet holiday and talking to them about the many ports of call.   Some people want more time on land, some people more time on the water.   They might be interested in the fascinating history of the area, or they may be more inclined towards diving or water sports.   Each itinerary is based on that particular group, and putting it together, is one of the best parts of my day.   People are always happy when they are planning their vacation, so we can’t help but to have fun working on it together.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
A large part of my job is marketing and devising the needed materials to help us reach out in many directions.   This is all the creative part of the business and I get a lot of pleasure out of, especially when it all comes together.   I have a great team of talented people that I work with, who have all been to Turkey and enjoyed the Piccolo, so they all give enthusiastically of their best.   And then, all of a sudden, along comes a request like yours, which is a lot of fun to respond to.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
I travel too much to remember 3 best places, but from recent trips my husband and I enjoy a tiny little hotel in Negril, Jamaica called “Idleawhile“.   There are only a handful of rooms decorated beautifully in true Caribbean style.   There is a bar and restaurant right on the beach but the best thing for me is that I can walk from my room, through a tropical garden, straight onto the beach.   No large foyers for me.   The owners of this hotel own one of the largest hotels a little further down the beach, where you have access to all the facilities, e.g. gyms, tennis, etc. Another spot we loved to stay recently was the Sheraton Hotel in Antalya, Turkey.   It is right on the sea looking out to the Taurus mountains which ring the sea to the right of the hotel.   We were given a suite room with terrace and lots of glass to enjoy the view.   Watching the sun come up over the mountains which seem to touch the sea was truly spectacular. We have just returned from a two week trip to Australia where we spent one week in Noosa, Queensland.   There were a group of us, so we rented a wonderfully relaxing house on Witta Circle within walking distance to the town.   We had our own beach on the river, a pool, an open, well-decorated house with spacious bedrooms and great bathrooms.   The laughing kookaburras (birds) delighted us each morning, and there was always a beautiful bird song going on around us. We could walk to the sweeping, sandy Noosa beach and have iced coffees Aussie style on the way home.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
My recent dining experience was La Vida right on Hastings St., the main street of Noosa, Queensland.   The atmosphere was upmarket, it was busy with happy diners and offered delicious cuisine.   I love oysters, and here they were particularly tasty.   My main course was a twice roasted duck over a kumara mash which I followed with a truly downunder dessert of pavlova with cream and passion fruit.   Yum!   Writing this makes me wish I could dine there again soon.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
While we were in Sydney, some promoter had paid $6m for Paris Hilton to appear and identify with some Down Under beer.   How this woman, who I can’t figure out does what, gets paid to do this, is anyone’s guess!!!   One night she donned a black wig and had her own night on the town.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wishlist?
A return trip to Australia to relax in Cairns and visit more of the outback.
Thanks, Trisha. Your gulets look fabulous – I shall be following your progress with interest.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I took a cruise around Turkey with Trisha and Aegean Sails last year in May and it was bar-none one of the best vacation experiences of my life. The ship and the crew are tip-top. I highly recommend this and its great to see her on your blog Paul!

  2. It looks like the dream job for me, working and traveling in exotic places. I am seriously thinking to go one a cruise myself. As i can see you have great recommendations.

  3. Have also done a gulet tour in Turkey I loved it! You get to see a lot of different places and the scenery is lovely as you travel. The sea is beautiful if you want to jump off the gulet for a dip, and you can lay out on deck at night and look up at the stars which is magical!

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