Saint Augustine is credited with the quote, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” So it is only fitting that two retired school teachers would take that literary analogy to heart and help many in Eastern Kentucky read reams of the world’s pages.
“We both love to travel,” says Kim Graham, who formed G&M Tours with Mary McWhorter. “We wanted to do something after we retired, and we love helping people from Eastern Kentucky see the world.”
Graham and McWhorter hatched plans for their travel company while they were teachers at Rogers Elementary School in Wolfe County. Their classrooms were across the hall from one another, and the pair would talk about the idea throughout the school day. Graham became principal of the school, and the ladies formed the business before they retired in 2009.
G&M Tours was the perfect business for them. They usually each work from their homes, often sitting on their couches with their laptops researching destinations and hotels, as well as planning future trips, through their Internet service provided by Mountain Telephone. They generally communicate with each other through an instant messaging feature or email.
The first trip was to the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C., but since then G&M Tours has taken groups to New York, New England, Alaska, Nashville and Chicago — just to name a few. In 2014, the duo is planning trips to the Bahamas; Hawaii; Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Williamsburg, Va.; Memphis, Tenn. and many more. G&M Tours will work with school groups, churches and businesses, but their main focus is on groups of individuals.
“We may repeat destinations from time to time, but we always try to do something different,” says Graham. “The itinerary will be completely new.”
Both Graham and McWhorter say they love their new careers. “The most rewarding thing about it is the people we meet,” McWhorter says. “We’ve made some really great friends, and we have helped many people travel, especially some elderly people, that wouldn’t be able to do it without a company like ours.”
Most trips require a $100 deposit to reserve a spot, with the balance due closer to departure. Travel information, testimonials, photos and itineraries for future
trips can be found on their website,
Graham says people interested in going on one of their trips can call them with questions, or they may contact them through their website or Facebook page.