At 92 years of age, most hardworking careerwomen have long since hung up their hats and are enjoying perhaps their second or third decade of a well-deserved retirement. But full-time travel advisor Ann Trost will do no such thing.
Following the example of her father, who worked until he was 89 years old, this dedicated mother and grandmother has spent 49 working years waking up each morning eager to talk to her clients and plan their next vacation. After experiencing her first AmaWaterways journey seven years ago, she has made it her goal to encourage families to join her on river cruises.
The Spark and the Stamina
An only child growing up in Oklahoma, Ann developed her passion for travel from a young age, taking yearly cross-country summer road trips with her father. She embarked on her first cruise on the Great Lakes in 1939, saw Josephine Baker dance at the famous outdoor Copacabana Club in Havana on a 1950 New Year’s Eve cruise to Cuba, and sailed her sixth river cruise with AmaWaterways on the Nile River in 2022.
Since she began working at various travel agencies in 1973 (even starting her own agency in 2000 at the age of 71), Ann has escorted over 100 tour groups all over the world, averaging two trips per year and organizing as many as 61 travelers per journey. She has visited approximately 65 countries and has set foot on every continent except Antarctica. Throughout it all, she always asks her clients and loved ones, “Where are we going next?”
So, what keeps this nonagenarian, as she says, “singing for her supper”? “I absolutely adore what I do,” remarked Ann. “If you find something you love, as I have, you don’t ever want to quit.”
The Beginnings of a Business
After World War II, Ann and most of her peers got married and started families as soon as they could. Having lived through busy times while raising young children, many of her friends never had the opportunity to travel further than Disneyland and certainly not beyond US borders.
In 1972, Ann was invited by a friend to go on a free promotional trip to Europe. She was thrilled at the opportunity, but did not yet have a passport and was sadly left behind. The day after her friend left for Europe, Ann applied for her first passport. If asked to go again, she vowed not to be left behind. “Thankfully, I was asked again and the rest is history. I was on my way to a wonderful life of seeing the world and helping others see it along with me.”
Soon, Ann went from being simply a traveler to becoming an organizer and guide for her friends who wanted to explore the world. When her friends returned from a journey with Ann, they could hardly wait to embark on another adventure. Such was born Ann’s group travel business.
Why River Cruising?
After years of escorting groups as well as sharing trips with her sons Lou and Scott, Ann experienced her first river cruise with AmaWaterways, a Paris & Normandy sailing aboard AmaLegro in 2015. She felt that it was, in her experience, a “step above” other river cruises.
“Everyone who works at AmaWaterways just loves it – and it sure shows,” she raved. “From the people on the phones to the crew on board, you can tell everyone is doing their very best for you.”
Her son Lou agreed. “The crew on board is very nice. The guides especially are more interesting and engaging than any I’ve encountered on any other cruise.”
An expert family traveler, Ann loves to lead clients who are river cruising with three generations of family. “The different paces of AmaWaterways’ tours ensure everyone can do what they want. You can rest, or take a gentle walking tour, while your kids and grandkids go out on a bicycle tour, and you all come back at the end of the afternoon having had a wonderful time at your own speed, and having great stories to share over dinner with the rest of the family.”
Unique Tactics That Unite Families
Ann has helped many struggling in-laws find their perfect common ground through travel. As her son Lou shared with a chuckle, “A lot of her friends really want to get their adult children home with the family for the holidays – but who wants to spend their holiday with the in-laws? After Mom suggests getting the family together on a river cruise, amazingly, everyone can’t wait to go for two weeks in France, Germany, or some other exotic location where the cruises go.”
Ann has also used positive thinking techniques to encourage her own sons to travel with her. “When Mom asks me if I want to go on her next cruise, I usually tell her ‘I’ll think about it.’ Two weeks later she will call and tell me that she has put a deposit down for me on the cruise, but ‘you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.’ Two weeks after that, she lets me know she’s made some refundable airline reservations for me ‘just in case you want to go,’” recalled Lou. “I always end up going, and I always end up very happy that I did.”
“Our relationship with our mother has grown tremendously from the experiences we have shared with her while traveling,” said Scott. “Through our many trips together, we’ve gotten to know and appreciate her in ways we never would have by visiting her at home.”
Inspiring our AmaWaterways Family
Ann recently worked with AmaWaterways Group Specialist Chrishanda to help plan her February 2022 Nile River cruise – and it is clear that Chrishanda, as well as everyone who connects with Ann – holds her in very high regard.
“Ann doesn’t count the hours or the days. She is always looking for the next river cruise she can do,” gushed Chrishanda. “Whether it’s technology or a pandemic, she never lets anything hold her back.”
In fact, Ann is already looking forward to taking a group with her on Portugal’s Douro River. Nearing the end of her conversation with this writer, she was ever the travel advisor: “I’d love to meet you and sail with you sometime soon – wouldn’t that be nice?”
Ann proves that there is no age limit on traveling internationally – especially when it comes to creating memories on the river with AmaWaterways – and that working in travel is a labor of love. “I am the luckiest person in this world that I found something I love so much,” she said. “My life is so unbelievably enriched. How fortunate I have been to see the world and share it with my friends and family. It’s all out there waiting for you too.”
Take Ann’s wise advice and contact your travel advisor to start planning your multi-generational family vacation on the river with AmaWaterways. Learn more about our fascinating destinations and reach out to your travel advisor today!
*A nonagenarian is a person who is from 90 to 99 years old.