An unexpected life change in retirement saw Queensland-based Emerald Scenic Club members Sue and Brian DeBruyn, embark on a travel quest of more than 30 journeys with Scenic – and counting.
The start of a travel Odyssey
Waking each day at their home on a property in Cashmere, just north of Brisbane, husband-and-wife Sue and Brian DeBruyn fondly reminisce on all their wonderful experiences. The couple moved here with a long-term plan to care for their disabled adult son Steven during their retirement, with Sue having been Steven’s full-time carer for 28 years. In his retirement, Brian had planned to share the load and support Sue, enabling her to enjoy some well-deserved free time.
As with many family plans, it didn’t all go smoothly. After six months of trying to establish a new routine with Steven and with their own health failing, the couple were offered four weeks of respite care, to allow them to take their first holiday in 30 years, while Steven was offered a place in full time supervised residential care to see how he might adapt to a more independent living arrangement.
ABOVE: Scenic Eclipse, Canada; BELOW: Emma Gorge, Western Australia
“It was a difficult time for us all,” recalls Brian. “We remember visiting our local travel agent, Helloworld in Strathpine, and speaking to them about our circumstances. Expecting that this would be our one and only travel opportunity, we asked for something special, and they recommended a Scenic tour of Western Canada. It was an amazing holiday experience, and on our return, we found that Steven too had benefited from the new living arrangements. He was a new man with a level of independence that he clearly loved. This was the start of our unexpected travel journey. Steven still comes to visit us every second weekend, but now enjoys his own life with others having similar needs, but still with full time care.”
As the retired couple’s stay-at-home situation changing so unexpectedly, the DeBruyns embarked on their travel adventures with vigour.
“With our wonderful experience on our first Scenic tour, it was impossible not to use Scenic again for our second trip, a European River Cruise. We’ve travelled every continent with Scenic on 30 trips – on land-based tours, river cruises and ocean expeditions including on board Scenic Eclipse,” says Brian.
"After so many years of managing and looking after people at work and caring for family at home, it’s so nice that on a Scenic trip, we become the ones who are looked after"
The DeBruyns find it impossible to say which of their 30 trips with Scenic has been the favourite, as each one has been so different and each offering amazing insights. One particular cherished memory however was their trip for the christening of Discovery Yacht, Scenic Eclipse, cruising out of New York on a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the new world of 6-star expedition voyages.”
Brian and Sue recall meeting with the Scenic Eclipse godmother, Dame Helen Mirren and the founder of Scenic, Glen Moroney. “Visiting small ports, interacting with the local population and not having to compete with thousands of other travellers certainly gave us a taste for small ship ocean cruising,” they say.
“We will always be grateful for our amazing travel opportunities, particularly when we never expected to travel at all due to our personal family limitations – how things can change! After so many years of managing and looking after people at work and caring for family at home, it’s so nice that on a Scenic trip, we become the ones who are looked after.”
Where to next?
Despite their many travels already with Scenic on all continents, the DeBruyns say there are many more wonderful journeys awaiting them. During recent months, they’ve taken the opportunity to see more of their own backyard.
“While we’re limited in our overseas destinations at present, we’ve already travelled the Queensland Outback on a new Scenic handcrafted land journey and will be following this up with the new Oceans to Outback Adventure later in 2021.
Our highly anticipated cruise of the Northwest Passage on board Scenic Eclipse is our next major adventure and it will take us to the some of the most pristine areas in the remote Arctic. This adventure is something that we’ve been planning for some years with friends we’ve met on other Scenic tours and it will certainly be a highlight for all of us. The cruise will offer some amazing diversity including stunning landscapes, incredible history, cruising luxury, amazing culinary offers, adventure opportunities and so much more. The remoteness of the polar regions will offer us unique romantic and adventurous opportunities and truly outstanding memories for our travel journey.
Travel is our passion and to remind us of our great memories, we have placed a large wall map in our family room and every Scenic trip is represented with pins and a few select personal photographs.”