10 days time.
In just 10 days, I will be leaving Australia in an Air France jet, sipping champagne in Business Class heading towards a dream that has been about 20 years in the making.
My champagne dream is becoming a reality. And I am slightly terrified!
When I first laid eyes on the now World Heritage listed sloping vineyards, I fell in love. A love that has grown stronger over the years the more I learn, the more I visit, the more people I get to know.
In 1995, when I first visited Epernay, I was still quite newly married, living just outside of Brussels and was feeling a long way away from my family and friends. Champagne then (and still now) seemed like such a magical place. A place where nothing could go wrong, where your troubles fly away with all the bubbles.
I felt somewhere inside me that I wanted other Australians to be able to experience the magic. I felt blessed that the cellar doors of champagne where only a few hours drive away, and it was the one thing that made me stop thinking how far away from ‘home’ I was. It made me realise that I had a world of opportunity on my door step in Europe and I had to make the most of it while it lasted. And I did.
I had absolutely no idea of how I was going to take other Australians around Champagne, but every time I visited somewhere new I would file it in that special place in my brain that I was reserving for ‘future tour possibilities’. I knew it had to happen one day, and it had to involve Business Class travel. Because, champagne.
When I moved back to Australia in 2006 with 3 young children in tow and after so many years being out of the paid workforce in Australia, I felt that I was pretty much unemployable. A phrase that was used in filling out forms in France to describe my ‘stay at home mum’ status was ‘sans funtion reelle’ came back to haunt me. It means ‘no real profession’ but in my hormone induced post baby blues stage I hated that phase. I couldn’t help translating it into a Franglais meaning of ‘no real function’ and it did not do my self-confidence any favours.
So here I was, back in my own country, speaking my own language, and I still had ‘no real function’. So I decided to do something about it. I wrote a list of all the things I could do. Things life had taught me about along the way. Those 15 years outside of Australia had to count for something!
This was my list:
- I can speak French
- I know all the tricks for travelling long-haul with children
- I know about champagne
That was it.
Proof then, that I really had nothing to improve my CV with.
After a bout of tears, I decided to send my CV to a travel agent – perhaps there was a place for me. I had valuable knowledge regarding travelling with children, and France is high up on the ‘must visit’ place on a lot of Australian’s lists.
The reply I got was less than encouraging. A one sentence reply that pretty much broke my paper thin spirit at the time. I had no skills that would be of any use to them.
‘If only I could work with champagne’, I sniffled at my poor husband, tears streaming down my face. ‘Like, that is EVER going to happen’.
So back to the drawing board having ‘no real function’ but still raising 3 very fine humans, if I say so myself.
In 2012 I started my blog as a way to share some of my stories and the magic of champagne. That started to get me noticed, and slowly, slowly I thought that perhaps I could still hold onto that dream of taking a group to Champagne. I just still didn’t know how it was going to happen.
Then, about a year later, The Fabulous Ladies Wine Society, in the fearless form of Jane Thomson came to town. We hit it off, and after a few months, Jane asked me to write about champagne for her website. While we were discussing how we could work together I mentioned ‘my dream’ to her. And wouldn’t it be great if we could pull something like that off.
‘We can so totally pull something like that off’, was Jane’s reply.
And so, the Fabulous Ladies Champagne Tour was born!
Jane put her faith in me to organise something that would appeal to her members. She believed in me. She didn’t for a second think that I had ‘no real function’. We’ve both had to take a few risks to bring it all together, but I will continue to believe in the magic of champagne and that nothing will go wrong while the champagne guardian angels are looking over us.
But I’m still slightly terrified!
If you want to follow all our fabulous shennanigans while we were there, make sure you follow the official Fabulous Ladies Wine Society posts on:
Pop on over and follow us both if you want to feel like part of the fabulousness! I’m sure it will put a smile on your face.