I did not grow up thinking I would start an assisted travel business. My childhood dream was to become a nurse, which stemmed from the fact that my dad had a chronic heart condition. During those years with my dad, I unconsciously committed to devote my life to helping others. After nursing school and years as a clinical nurse, I later pursued a medical sales career. Working for global medical products companies during this phase in my career exposed me to the world of extensive corporate travel. It was during these busy travel years that I would often encounter seniors traveling alone, and I remembered always feeling worried that they would miss their connecting flights due to their impaired mobility or general health issues. Honestly, though, what troubled me the most was that they were traveling all alone. I know now what I could not have realized then: the pieces of the puzzle for my life’s purpose were coming together.
The final piece of the puzzle came to me when I found my biological father in 2017. While so happy and grateful to have been given the chance to meet him while he was still alive, finding out my father had dementia was truly heartbreaking. I would never know the full story of how I came to be; rather, only see my reflection when I looked in his face. Sadly, my biological father died soon after I found him. Although our time together was all too brief, it had a very meaningful purpose. Not long before he passed, I learned of the dreadful ordeal his immediate family experienced trying to get him from Arizona to Minnesota for medical treatment after he had suffered a falling accident. While all the complications surrounding his interstate travel for medical treatment—dementia, age, mobility, physical state, luggage, who would/could accompany him, and so on—seemed insurmountable to his family, it gave me an epiphany that would ultimately lead to creating GOMO Travel.
Removing Barriers for a Smooth Journey
I founded GOMO Travel in 2019 on the belief that no obstacle should prevent a person from traveling on their own terms. GOMO Travel provides compassionate, concierge-style, assisted travel services, both domestically and internationally, to people of all ages, experiences, and conditions. Most people enjoy travel as a form of recreation, relaxation, exploration, event, or even an opportunity to bond with family members and nurture familial relationships. While travel may be a positive experience for most people, it poses special challenges for people with dementing illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, multi-infarct dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Pick’s disease, or an injury or medical/health condition that results in mental or physical impairment.
People with dementia (like my biological father) or similar debilitating conditions have ever-increasing trouble with changes of pace and location, fatigue, crowds of people, changes of time zone, noise, or other triggers. These conditions all serve to make travel for these persons extremely difficult. With CDPs (Certified Dementia Practitioners) on staff, GOMO Travel is especially adept at providing assistance to travelers living with these challenges. For example, for interstate relocation situations that require extensive coordination between the transferring and receiving facilities, GOMO Travel collaborates directly with the traveler’s family members and the care facilities’ directors to ensure the relocation process for the traveler and their family members is achieved successfully.
Making Travel Accessible for All
Assisting travelers with dementia or similar conditions to relocate to assisted living or memory care facilities is a significant area of GOMO Travel’s services. Here are a few other examples of areas in which GOMO Travel is proud to serve:
- Assisting a young Connecticut woman with arthrogryposis to attend four sold-out BTS concerts in Los Angeles, CA over a nine-day trip. Confined to a wheelchair since birth, this brave woman was able to check off a bucket-list item while GOMO Travel provided her with assistance in negotiating the airport mazes in NY and LA, gliding past the legions of BTS Army fandom at the new SoFi Stadium, and navigating the hordes of tourists as we ventured to numerous sight-seeing locations in LA County.
- Accompanying a 54-year-old man with Down’s syndrome to travel over 3,000 miles from San Jose, CA, where he resides with his sister and her family of caretakers, to Naples, FL (and back) to visit with his other sister and her family for the holiday season. With GOMO Travel, this traveler now plans to visit his sister in Florida much more often during the year.
- Accompanying the elderly parents of a bride and husband-to-be, from Seattle, WA, to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, to join them for their three-day wedding activities.
- Being an assisted-travel buddy for an accomplished corporate business executive who experiences acute travel anxiety when boarding a plane. Based in Texas, the corporate executive plans to travel with a GOMO Travel companion to Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, and other major U.S. cities to attend important business meetings, free from the grip of travel anxiety now that GOMO Travel is there to assist.
Your Family Is Our Family
At GOMO Travel, our #1 priority is our travelers’ safety and well-being. We utilize wheelchairs and walkers to help with mobility and stability and prevent falls. We remain in constant contact with the traveler’s family members throughout the trip so that they can stay informed as to their loved one’s progress and well-being. Since COVID, we take all recommended precautions to clean, disinfect, and sanitize common areas of contact to prevent germ spread and contamination. GOMO Travel companion nurses are medically trained to provide the first line of assistance if an emergency occurs with our travelers, providing that extra peace of mind.
While brief, my experience with my biological father led me to create GOMO Travel not just for myself, but to help others as well. Through GOMO Travel, my mission is to normalize assisted travel throughout the world, one trip at a time.
Founder Kerri Johnson, RN, launched GOMO Travel in 2019 to bridge the gap between her passions of travel and medical care. As a registered nurse, she is not only trained in providing medical care but in providing comfort and compassion via assisted travel. GOMO Travel has completed nearly 100 trips in a short time prior to and during the pandemic, with a superb team of travel companions assisting in travel to boundless destinations.
www.gomotravel.com or call 904.395.7500. 712 Cape Coral Parkway West, Cape Coral.
Considering assisted travel for your upcoming travel destination? Contact GOMO Travel.