Missouri woman turns traveling into her dream job

Missouri woman turns traveling into her dream job

DE SOTO, Mo. – For those who are looking for a weekend getaway or to simply make a memorable day trip, there is a newer traveling tour agency that is providing those opportunities to those of all ages.

Connie Bryant worked in childcare for 30 years and decided it was time to try something different.

“I had gone on a field trip, a band high school field trip, (and) I chaperoned,” she said. “We went to Memphis, TN. I kinda watched the tour guide and everything she did and I was like, ‘She’s got a great job.’”

Her passion for traveling with her family throughout the years sparked the idea to create her own tour agency, as there wasn’t another one around the area. At the same time, her mother is a widow who didn’t get out of the house very much.

Photo courtesy of Connie Bryant

“I thought maybe this would be great for (my mom) and people like her to get out, to meet other people, and to make friends,” she said. “As we started talking about it, we were like, ‘It’d be great if they can get out and about more.’”

So in May 2023, Bryant opened up Out & About Tours.

Bryant and her family began slowly advertising the business around town. Whether it was through word of mouth, flyers or setting up a booth at fairs, people slowly but surely caught on to the idea and helped it grow.

Now, the agency has day trips and longer vacations planned, including Mackinaw Island, a yacht cruise, group trips to the Muny, Fairmount Park, the Missouri State Penitentiary, and more. Since the first trip in August, Bryant says she estimates they have gone on roughly 20 trips, and she hopes the number continues to grow as the years go on.

Photo Courtesy of Connie Bryant

One particular favorite Bryant has noticed with crowds is visiting the Amish community in Arthur, IL. The group visited once in September with a nearly full bus, and the trip to return later this month is sold out with a waiting list.

While there are still plenty of younger people who travel with the group, a large number of guests are older. Bryant says the experiences are designed to accommodate anyone and everyone.

“(I hope I give tourists) a passion for life,” she said. “Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t still get out and about, and have a good time, and still love life, and still get to see things you’ve never seen before.”

Bryant described the feeling of providing these experiences as humbling.

“I’ve had a lot of people just hug me and say, ‘Thank you for doing this…I just want to make new friends and meet new people.’”

As the business continues to expand within the community and beyond, Bryant says she hopes to eventually bring groups outside of the United States.

To view a list of upcoming trips with Out and About Tours, click here.

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