STORY BY EMILY REED
The open road, and unseen places, provide motivation to travel for a group of Chilton County residents known as the “Easy Going Travelers.”
“There is something about going to a place you have never traveled before and discovering things you never knew,” group founder Evie Greene said. “My greatest delight is to travel with someone who is seeing something for the first time.”
When Greene, a retired teacher from Maplesville Elementary School, found herself facing the reality of spending a lot of time by herself, she decided to do: book a trip with a tour guide.
live life to the fullest and did something she had always wanted
“It was on that first trip that I got hooked,” Greene said. “I had so much fun. After so many years of teaching school, I had taught geography and was finally getting to see so many of the places I had taught about for so long. It was incredible.”
The friendships Greene formed with some of the people she first traveled with also served as motivation to continue traveling, which served as the catalyst for Greene creating The Easy Going Travelers group.
The year was 1994 when Greene first booked a bus from Montgomery for 50 people to travel with her.
“I invited church people and community friends, and we went to Atlanta, Georgia to an Easter church service for a one-day trip,” Greene said. “Everyone just had a wonderful time, so we decided we just had to keep on doing it.”
The day-trip to Georgia turned into a second trip, which then turned into overnight trips.
At first, the group would only take a Christmas trip and a trip or two in the summertime, but now, the group takes trips regularly.
“We can go at any time now,” Greene said. “My husband is now retired, and he can go as well, so as long as we have people wanting to go, we do.”
Greene admits that the Covid-19 outbreak this year resulted in the cancellation of the group’s trips planned for the remainder of the year.
“We did have to cancel our upcoming trips because we just didn’t want to take the chance,” Greene said. “We are hopeful we will be able to get back on the road next year.”
The group limits travelers to around 45 people to allow plenty of “stretching” room on the bus. Greene said some of the travelers are from neighboring states, or neighboring cities, but by the end, everyone is good friends.
“You can learn a lot from people when you travel with them,” Greene said. “We take a break every two hours when we travel, and we bring snacks, snacks and more snacks, but by the end of every trip, we are all very close and have a lot of great memories.”
The group has traveled to Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Branson, Mo.; South Carolina; New York; Washington D.C; Louisiana; Texas; Florida; Ark Encounter: Noah’s Ark in Kentucky; Maine; Nova Scotia; Arizona; Georgia; New Mexico; Amish Country in both Pennsylvania and Tennessee and various parts of Alabama.
Travelers often contact Greene after hearing through word-of-mouth about some of the group’s previous trips.
“We do sometimes put a trip we are planning to take on Facebook, but we do not advertise most of our trips, it is simply word of mouth,” Greene said. “We now have travelers that have joined us from all over the state, as well as neighboring states.”
Greene said anyone interested in traveling is welcome to contact her about a future trip.
“We have no stipulations when it comes to who goes with us,” Greene said. “It is mainly seniors because it is rare you find someone that can take off 13 days to go somewhere. We do not encourage small children, unless their parents, or grandparents can come with them, but we love to go and would love to have anyone willing to go with us.”
All of the trips include a lot of laughs, and plenty of games played, most especially — bingo.
“I was sitting at the Grand Canyon recently eating my lunch when I got a phone call from a lady in Mississippi telling me she would like to go to Prince Edward Island,” Greene said. “I told her, ‘well OK, let’s start talking about it.’”
Greene said for her and her traveling friends there is no adventure too big.
“Going and seeing the beautiful places we have all around us is a true gift,” Greene said. “It is just the best time.”
For more information about the Easy Going Travelers, Greene said contact her by calling 334- 327-8309.