Take time out to enjoy..

Take time out to enjoy..
Relax, renew, regain, regrow, reflect

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Interview.. its Moi.. tra la la..


Meet Jean ....

January 26, 2013
Have you ever wanted to travel in style, but without the husband and the kids? Or perhaps you’ve had the means but just not the gutzpah or the travel partner? Meet Jean Wethmar, CEO Cape Lux Travels - an all-round amazing woman who may just be the answer to your prayers.
‘‘Recover, Renew, Reflect, Regain, Regrow, Reconnect, Relax’’ she says. Today, we sat down with Jean to pick her brain and discover where she gets her passion for travel. 
Q1. Jean, you’re Australian. Where is your family from?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. My husband and I immigrated to Australia only 12 years ago. The first nine years we lived on the North Shore of Sydney, and then two years ago, had a ‘tree change’ to experience life living on a golf estate in Queensland.
Francois and I have just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. I have two married daughters, both living in Sydney, and one very delightful granddaughter, Willow. I am totally connected to this age I’m currently living. I am in excellent health and good state of mind. In fact, I’m loving my senior years more than than when I was a mum and had my daughters needs to first take care of first.
Cape Lux Travels includes full concierge travel services, and extra benefits like, author, chef, pilates and even an image consultant.

Q2: Have you always loved travel?
Yes, totally! I am a gypsy at heart! I’ve travelled to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar, Namibia, New York, Key West and Miami. Further south, I’ve been to New Zealand’s North and South Island, as well as Asia – Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the wonderful Rajasthan triangle in India. As yet, Germany is the only European country I’ve visited, but there are still lots of places left to discover.
I’ve got my suitcases ready to go travelling at the drop of a hat!  I think the best journeys in life are those unexpected ones. I think back to a trip to India I did with a small group of girlfriends – oh my gosh, we shopped up a storm! I can still taste the wonderful food we discovered together. Travelling with like-minded friends is truly life-changing! I think this is important in ‘aged’ living – not to settle into that groove too quickly or think that you’re limited in any way. Life, Love, Laughter!
Q3: How many years have you been running Cape Lux Travels?
The Cape Club started in 2008 in Sydney, Australia, when I became aware of a great niche market geared towards high-end travel for individuals. I discovered a growing number of like-minded travellers who relish learning and enjoy life to the full. Cape Lux Travels, began offering classic escorted journeys with unparalleled flexibility, personal attention and seamless, discreet travel arrangements.
Our innovative personal itineraries and pre-organized tours aim to provide freedom and flexibility. The choice is always yours as to how busy or relaxed you want to be. Our escorted tours come with a dedicated specialist – a personal stylist/shopper, an author, a chef, a Pilates instructor, an interior decorator, food and travel writer – the choice is yours! Our aim? To add the ultimate value to your tour.
Cape Lux Travels, is run in association with a fully registered local Vietnamese travel company based in Hanoi. Together, we’ll show you ‘The Timeless charms’ of South East Asia, providing local English speaking guides, excellent drivers and reliable vehicles for all tours.

The fishing boats had just arrived back after four days of fishing – the wharf wet with slimy, slithery fish. That didn’t stop my camera from working overtime, trying to capture that unique shot! What an experience, especially after getting there on the back of a moped!
Q4: The concept is so thoughtful… where did it come from?
I realized that women who want a chance to travel may prefer the camaraderie, convenience and fun of small group travel.
Our groups average only 14 travellers with a great mix of couples, friends & single travellers. On our tours, we choose mainly French Colonial type accommodation – perfect to soothe my inner French romantic! The places we visit – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – still all ooze authentic French charms, from the architecture and coffee shops, to the croissants and baguettes. Not forgetting the tree-lined boulevards, of course – they don’t call this the Paris of the East for nothing! Cape Lux Travels has a style which is simply unique. Solo travellers, baby boomers, book clubbers, girlfriends’ re-unions, you’re all welcome! Interested?
From Saigon to Hanoi, though to Luang Prabang, French Architecture will charm you! Get your camera ready!
Q5: Who are your main customers and where do they live?
My clients are mainly from the USA and Australia, but actually all over the world.  Just looking at the statistics from our website www.thecapeclub.com, we have visitors from South Africa, Vietnam, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Germany and New Zealand. My daily blog vietnam-hiddenrichesofacolonialpast.blogspot.com.au  shows further interest from as far afield as Ireland to Russia!

Q6: How has the evolution of communication supported your business?
In an instant, I am able to stay in touch with anybody worldwide through Skype, Facebook and the like, which is great for meetings. I can get in touch with my photographer friend in Nha Trang, or my jewellery designer in Hoi An. Living in Australia also means that time zones are not a problem for me – I normally finish my day at the office just as everybody else is starting theirs.
Q7: How important do you believe financial awareness and responsibility are for women today?
I fully support the need for female independence – not just financially, but also the ability to stand on their own in making important decisions alone without being dependent on their partners/husbands. I have raised my two darling daughters to be level-headed, independent thinkers; to go for every opportunity that arises and grab it with both hands. Financial awareness is important not only as a target, but as a budget these days! The credit card noose draws tighter and tighter around some women’s necks. They don’t take responsibility for their actions, and rely on their partners/husbands to bail them out! No, beware, ladies.
Meeting the tailors in Hoi An.. a highlight always! Talking of black numbers! Get that Chanel copied here at a fraction of the cost!
Q8: How have you managed the price-point of luxury travel, given that the world has become so fast and price-conscious with travel and online offers ?
South East Asia consistently offers great value for money as a travel destination. Currently the currency conversion for the US$ is roughly 20,500 Vietnamese Dong, so instantly one becomes a millionaire when you travel there. You can afford to check into 5-Star accommodation knowing that your dollars are providing much needed and highly valued work opportunities for the friendly local people. Your money is helping them raise their standard of living from the harsh realities of a decade of war.
This exotic resort is situated on the Island of Ninh Van Bay, only accessible by speed boat. Once there, you lose all track of time, TV and mobile phones! Spa therapists are on hand to remove any knots of stress or strain.
Q9: Has it been hard running a travel business which ventures into foreign lands?
No, having a reliable and trustworthy partner based in Vietnam has been invaluable, for their business as well as mine. We assist each other with marketing materials, trade shows etc. I have been most fortunate to have them on my side, our partnership based on mutual trust and honesty.
We are the only tour operator in Vietnam to offer fully escorted concierge services. The term “concierge” evolved from the French ‘Comte Des Cierges’- The Keeper of the Candles, who tended to visiting nobles in castles of the medieval era. Allow me to be your concierge – together we’ll discover  timeless charms.

Here Jean is being interviewed by the local TV channel in Vietnam. When asked her opinion on the art display at the Ana Mandara Hotel? Jean replied ‘Absolutely, fabulous! I was tempted to buy more than just one!”
Discovering Vietnam totally filled my heart with an unexplainable completion! I had arrived! I had found my ‘eureka’! Those French colonial buildings, the soft white beach sand, the five-star resorts and hotels all oozing a certain charm. The crisp baguettes and coffee served in blue/white crockery… gorgeous!
I adore décor; I’m still continually updating our home with my romantic Colonial-influenced background playing a huge role.  Crisp, white linen, dark wooden furniture, wooden floors, white wooden shutters, and lots of palm trees swaying in the garden. Silver hip flasks and white panama hats and swaying palm trees add the finishing touches.
Q10: How have you managed the business side of Cape Lux Travel given your adventurous personality?
Thankfully my husband is an accountant. He provides the stability and balance to support me. I also have a team of marketing assistants who help put together our stunning flyers, brochures and marketing material.
Q11: What is your definition of time verses money?
I am a firm believer of making time and enjoying life to the full! I say, if you have money, but have no time left of your life… what is money worth anyway? Seize the day, carpe diem!  I’d rather have a life well lived, than come to the end of my journey one day, and discover that my bank account is going to cause fights between my family. I’d rather enjoy the money now!
For anyone wanting to take part in Jean’s next trip to Vietnam/Laos and Cambodia, you can contact her on 
And remember what Jean says “It’s my time now to shine… and shine I must!” 

Scheduled Tours – 2013
  • Girls only Retreat  Vietnam – Personal Stylist/Shopper Emma McDermott 9 - 15 March
  • Pilates Retreat Vietnam -  6 – 15 September 2013
  • A Feast for the Senses Vietnam & Cambodia with Author Kim Fay… 27 September – 10 October
  • Travel and Food Journal Tour – Vietnam and Laos –19-30 October 2013
  • Chic Indochine: Chinoiserie Design Tour Vietnam & Laos – 2-16 November 2013
thanks Janelle.. I loved being interviewed by you.. thanks for taking time out for me. 
I so appreciate your contact, and look forward to meeting  you in Hoi An soon,

Be sure to visit Women, Money and Style 

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