Meet Lucia Barnard, African Travel Specialist based in Sarasota. Lucia was born in South Africa and moved with her husband and two kids to the USA in 2009. After living in Atlanta for a year, they settled in Sarasota, Florida. This well-traveled and energetic Travel Professional has been in the Travel Industry since 1992.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the must-sees on a first-time South African Tour?
Lucia: Nothing beats the African bush surrounded by an African sunset; however the Cape Town experience is filled with everything I want in a vacation… amazing food, culture, shopping, and exploring eco wildlife is a must-do.
Q: Besides family, what do you miss most about living in South Africa?
Lucia: The food hands down. Life can be hectic here, and in South Africa I had far less chores to do vs. here in the States.
Q: What time of year is your favorite to visit and why?
Lucia: February to May in the fall is great as it’s not as crowded. I manage to get great flight prices during that time.
Q: What do enjoy most about living in Florida?
Lucia: The laid-back lifestyle with less hectic traffic compared to most cities in the US we have visited. But I do think my hubby and I will end up in the Carolinas one day.
Q: Where do you like to go on vacation?
Lucia: My husband and I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to many parts of the world, and with so many new destinations ahead to explore, my favorite place is always the unknown. I love exploring, walking and discovering new towns, people and food.
Q: What are some of your favorite foods?
Lucia: I love healthy different diverse dishes, fresh fish, seafood bursting with flavors are my favorite especially if we are in a new town. Anything I can’t cook, that I am tasting and guessing the incredible flavors.
Q: What is the most interesting part of your job?
Lucia: I am very passionate about South Africa, its people, culture, and food. I am generally an energetic, enthusiastic person, so when I present South Africa to prospects, I’m always hopeful that I do it justice. But what makes it most interesting is that I can make a client’s dream trip a reality by going to South Africa, especially when they never thought about going, or knew it was so affordable. When they tell me afterward they did not think of South Africa, it gives me butterflies in my stomach.
Q: Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.
Lucia: My parents never spoke English to my brother and I as they were Czech immigrants that moved to South Africa. I grew up speaking Czechoslovakian. So I speak three languages (English, Afrikaans, and Czech). Most people will be surprised to learn that I am naturally a shy person. I always guard against making myself vulnerable in any way.