An Assorted Cast of Characters On the Trip in Northern England

On every press trip, you settle into the ‘press trip groove,’  getting used to all of this packing, moving, and note-taking, and finding out enough about your fellow journos so you know where you want to sit at dinner and a little bit about each person who is traveling with you.

This trip includes a woman named Hillary Latos who has her own shoe line. She’s invented a line of women’s shoes called journuit, (night and day in French) which are flats that have different parts that snap off. It’s a clever idea, and with four different accessories and designs of tops, a woman can make forty different combinations using the same flat or high-heeled bottoms.  She’s gotten the shoes into dozens of celebrity feet, and is on the brink of lining up a major retailer to zoom the whole thing to the next level. Hell, I thought she just wrote travel for a San Francisco arts magazine.

Silver haired Yves Ouellet is the author of 25 books about Quebec, and lives 200 miles north of Quebec City. He’s a quiet guy, hangs back, yet when I sat next to him and he told me about what life is like up there in that great big wide open place I was fascinated. He invited me to come see the great coast of Labrador by seakayak sometime.

Emma Thomas, our tall and pretty New York-based press rep for Visit England, is from Yorkshire, and said she loves being back here and hearing the accent that’s familiar to her from her youth.  She juggles three cellphones and is on top of all of the details. Yet she seems surprisingly calm and enjoying the trip, as contrasted by other press reps who seem to get so stressed out by the way journalists need care and feeding that sometimes you worry about them. Emma, no way, she’s just having a good time.

Rick Shively is a Florida-based editor of Recommend magazine, which provides ideas for travel agents to help their clients plan vacation. Rick’s the senior member of our tribe, and likes to have a gin and tonic in the evening. He is quick with a joke, and even quicker with a laugh.  He’s a fun addition, since it’s nice to have a few people ‘my age’ along with the younger set.

Marian Anderson is a Chicagoan who moved to Atlanta and writes speeches, as well as freelances for several magazines. Her beat is style, shopping, fashion and the arts. She is a big time Tweeter and is well connected to her city’s social scene and to many PR agencies. She’s an African-American who has often brought up interesting questions about how blacks fit into all of this English history we keep hearing about.

Chris Pape is the youngest member of our group. He’s an advertorial writer at NY Resident magazine, writing about hotels, restaurants and culture in New York City. He’s a loose cannon who we sometimes have to try and muzzle, he gets a bit caught up with a conversation and when we see people turning their heads, we gotta give him a shove.

It takes all kinds to make up a press trip. Now you know a little bit more about the people who are seeing Northern England with me.