BY JOANNE SASVARI
For boutique travel agent Cathy Scott, the world is just waiting to be explored.
Cathy Scott just got back from a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, and she can’t stop raving about it. “It was absolutely spectacular,” says the owner of Departures Travel. “Just life changing.”
Departures Travel is Victoria’s oldest and only independent travel agency, one of three companies Scott owns and operates. (The other two are Niche Travel and Niche Women’s Tours.) It specializes in boutique travel, what Scott describes as bucket list experiences. Think: hiking up to the Tiger’s Eye Monastery in Bhutan, or hot air ballooning over Cappadocia.
Of course, the pandemic took its toll on her business. More than half of all travel agents in North America closed permanently as a result of COVID-19, and she herself was in a negative revenue situation for months. But now she’s busier than ever.
She works closely with clients, designing their travel plans for years at a time, and considers herself more of a travel concierge than someone who simply books flights and hotels. But ask Scott to choose her own favourite destination, and she’s stuck.
“The last place I was is always my favourite destination,” she says with a laugh. “Antarctica gave me faith in our world. India has always been on top of my list. Bhutan was huge for me. Myanmar. I like these untouched destinations.”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being out in nature, preferably near the ocean, with friends or family.
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
When I interrupt people when they are talking! I really work on this but …
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire? Why?
My mother. She is passionate about family and community, and even during difficult times she embraces life fully every day.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Owning my own home. Travelling the world, I see so very many people without even the basic necessities in life. It feels profoundly decadent to own my own home in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
What is your current state of mind?
Chaos! Take a look at my hair. What you see on the outside is a reflection of the inside. Pure chaos!
On what occasion do you lie?
I learned very young it is NOT a good idea to lie. (There is a story there!) If I do lie, it is to protect someone’s feelings.
What do you most value in your friends?
Kindness and respect. Also being totally badass!
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Who: My three adult children, Danton, Lyndon and Kiara.