Making Every New
For loyal Scenic guests Heather and Ray Pyzik, travel is more than simply ticking off destinations. The couple are on a quest to live life to the fullest, and with good reason.
Heather Pyzik remembers the moment as if it were yesterday. A long-lashed giraffe locked eyes with her, sauntered over, and stood just a few inches away. Towering six metres tall, the giraffe then slowly came down so the pair were face to face. “And she gave me a big kiss. Right on the lips,” laughs Heather. “It’s a moment I will never forget.”
It is just one of an abundance of extraordinary memories that Heather and husband Ray have made during their travels with Scenic. Since 2009, we have taken them to over 20 spectacular destinations around the world. They have been to the furthest reaches of the planet to Antarctica, travelled through almost every pocket of Europe, and into the heart of Africa. There’s been India, China, Vietnam and Laos. “Scenic make travel so easy. I had a wonderful time” says Heather.
Once there, the couple, who live in Brisbane, confess they really want to get to the heart of the destination. A balloon ride over the breathtakingly beautiful Cappadocia in Turkey. Waking up to the awe-inspiring sight of the pyramids in Egypt, from their luxury hotel during a Scenic land journey. A visit to the Winter Palace in Russia, and a guided walk along the historical Hadrian’s Wall in England.
“Africa was something else though,” explains Heather. “When we were leaving, I broke down and cried. I just didn't want to leave. I loved it so much. It was just truly the most amazing journey, I had said to Rikus our Tour Director, that Antarctica was always my number one, until here. It got inside me. It got into my heart. I just loved the place.”
LEFT: Getting a kiss from a giraffe during a handcrafted land journey in Africa
Ray adds, “What really made that trip as well is that we had the best tour director. Over the years, that’s something we’ve really noticed: Scenic has some of the best tour guides, and that really makes such a difference to your journey.”
By their own admission, the couple have a deep passion for seeing the world. It is, however, fuelled by something more than a simple intrigue for experiencing life outside of their native Australia.
In 2001, Heather received a phone call explaining that her son, Nicholas, had died in a bus crash in Egypt. He had been working for British Prime Minister’s Office in London, when he decided to take a six-week sojourn from Egypt to Jordan.
“Since then, it’s been about experiencing everything the world has to offer,” explains Heather, a retired age care nurse. “It’s about seeing what is out there. I lost Nicholas when he was travelling, and I want to do all the things he didn’t get to do. I want to live every moment to the fullest.”
Ten years after his death, Heather retraced some of his trip during a Scenic land journey, swimming in the Dead Sea and Petra. “That’s two things he really wanted to do but didn’t get to do them,” says Heather.
RIGHT: The couple credit a great journey in Africa to their tour Director Rikus
Getting to the Heart of Spectacular Destinations
The couple have undoubtedly been true to their promise to live life to the fullest. Their first journey with Scenic was in 2009, with their travel agent recommending a 5-star Europe river cruise down the Danube.
“We got back and immediately booked another trip with Scenic,” says Heather, a grandmother of two. “We went to Canada soon after and since then, we have always had two or three journeys booked ahead. We have never had a time when a Scenic journey wasn’t planned.”
They have been on almost every itinerary through Europe, on many land journeys throughout the world, and were one of the first guests to book Scenic Eclipse, with the couple set to sail on the Discovery Yacht in 2023.
“We had Scenic Eclipse booked and she wasn't even completed,” laughs Heather. “We got a phone call from a girl in the Scenic office the night that they had the private launch. Before anybody even knew about her.
LEFT: The Pyziks enjoyed a Scenic helicopter flight over Uluru
And she said, “Heather, tomorrow you send an email through to the office and say you want to be on the launch cruise”, and that was back in 2017. Anything we hear about, we want to do it. And we do.”
Even during the last two years, when international travel has been limited, the Pyziks kept their wonder alive. In 2021, they journeyed through the Northern Territory and into Western Australia. Once there, the couple explored the breathtaking scenery on a Scenic helicopter flight over the Kakadu National Park, Uluru, and King’s Canyon.
Ray says, “What really stood out was Uluru. There’s nothing like it. We spent the whole morning there, but you could spend day after day out there taking in the scenery.” For Heather, it was the early mornings that she remembers vividly. “We are so lucky in Australia to truly have the most incredible sunrises,” explains Heather.
LEFT: The pair described the magic of Uluru in Australia
The Difference is in the Details
With Emerald Member status, the Pyziks believe what sets Scenic apart is the staff and crew’s unrivalled eye for detail. For Heather, she can pinpoint the moment she knew Scenic was a cut above the rest.
“I am a girl who only drinks Moscato wine,” says Heather. “When we boarded the ship on the Mekong, the maître d comes over and says, “Mrs Pyzik, is there anything that you would like us to have on board?” I told him that I Iiked Moscato, and he looked at me and said that we do not have that… but we will.
“And I will never forget this. Two of the staff got off the ship, and one jumped in one tuk-tuk and went in one direction. The other jumped in another tuk-tuk and went in the other direction. And they came back with five cases and said, ‘Will five cases be enough, Mrs Pyzik?”. I thought that was very special. That care and detail is unique. And yes, five cases was more than enough.”
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LEFT: The couple swapped international travel for exploring the Australian outback in 2020
Everlasting Friendships Formed
It’s more than an abundance of ever-lasting memories the couple hold from their journey, but also long-lasting friendships. The couple now not only stay in regular contact, and also organise Scenic journeys for reunions.
“From that first trip on the river cruise, we made friends with two couples and discovered one of them were from Brisbane,” says Heather. “And we’re still close friends with them now over a decade later.
“We made friends on our South American trip, and we've travelled again with them since. We did Russia with them. As soon as they heard we booked it, they said they were coming too. We also made close friends on our French trip, and still keep in contact with them.”
In 2023 and 2024, the couple will reunite with a couple they met during a Greece and Turkey voyage, with Heather adding, “This will be our third trip with them, and we have two years to make up for. So much fun!”
RIGHT: A refreshing drink with their tour guide Danielle in the outback
Seamless Travel in Every Situation
When it comes to travelling again, the Pyziks admit they are more than ready for international discovery. On their bucket list are now the Scandinavian countries. Their confidence, they say, comes from knowing they are in safe hands. “Scenic make it so easy. It's something else as far as I'm concerned. As soon as we are out of our front door and into the limo comes, you haven't got a worry about a thing, and you don’t,” says Heather.
“Very early on, we heard about how Glen [Moroney, Founder of Scenic] and his team respected the people. On our Christmas cruise, for example, we had started in Paris and they had a strike in Belgium. We couldn’t go on the fast train so Glen organised buses to take us to Amsterdam. And because he felt we had been put out, they created this special night in Paris where we toured the city at night time, and were taken up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I always think, it isn’t what travel companies do when everything is going well. It’s what they do when things don’t go to plan. That’s what I really like about Scenic.”
LEFT: In Ecuador, the Pysiks received their traditional dance certificate from locals