More than enriching, travel is life changing. Stepping into another world, often times vastly different than our own, requires one be open, accepting of new cultures, food and beliefs. The gift that travel gives is a new level of self-confidence and understanding of the global world in which we live.
I began my overseas adventures in 1997 with a trip to Israel and Egypt and was unprepared for the impact of seeing places and worlds that I had only read about in books. I found that people are generous, kind and willing to help at every corner, in every place I stopped. The bug to travel bit me hard and I again found myself in Greece in 1999 and Germany in 2000. In 2007, I was given the opportunity to become a travel leader by my friend who was retiring. And, the rest is history!
The tours I lead are for education and interaction with other people, cultures and worlds that are not our own. They are well planned and orchestrated for those who may require a less physically rigorous adventure, with more emphasis on the experience and savoring of the places we visit.
Unity Travelers is a division of HarrisHouseStudio. We have our own Facebook Page that allows us to post each day as we move through our itinerary and you can always “follow” the page for upcoming announcements.
HarrisHouseStudio is the story telling, photography end of our travel adventures. Check out our staff who stand ready and able to help you!
Harris House Staff
Mary Anne Harris
Mary Anne Harris is a speaker, author, photographer and world traveler. There are three main passions that have played their song throughout the course of her life: travel, photography and her spiritual journey. Over the years she has found that rather than being separate and distinct, they are actually interwoven parts of who she is and what she came to be in this world. Mary Anne deeply believes true and lasting peace will come to our troubled world when people reach across the barriers of belief and experience the worldview of others.
Mary Anne was born is Akron, Ohio and through a series of jobs and life adventures ended up in California in 1981 working in the banking industry until studying to become a Unity minister in 1998. She remained in California until 2008 when she accepted the position of senior minister at the Unity Church of Christianity in Tulsa, OK. Her love of history, photography and storytelling create an atmosphere of exploration and adventure in all her many travels.
Father Beak as he is known around the house, Patrick’s job at Harris House Studio is fun. And he does it well. Patrick, born and raised in Alameda, California was suddenly thrust into the life of Middle America when he and Mary Anne moved to Tulsa in 2008. But along with the move were folks who loved to hear his bird stories and who enjoyed travel.
Patrick left his real estate career behind when they moved to pursue becoming a nurse. Sadly, that all came crashing down when he fell from the roof in 2011. Gratefully he has fully recovered from his injuries but is now using his nursing skills to aid people recovering from surgery or on hospice care. More often than not he can be found in the Busted Knuckle Garage (his man cave) wrenching on his own car or that of a friend or neighbor.
Panama is a yellow-naped Amazon parrot. These birds are known for their talking and cognitive abilities, research shows they have the developmental level of a 5 year old child. Our best guess is that she is approximately 35 years old. She came into our lives in 1995 when a friend decided she was too much work and wanted to sell her. He said, “You can have the bird for $300 and the cage for free, or the cage for $300 and the bird is free, whatever you like.”
Because Panama is not banded, we believe she may have been wild caught and illegally smuggled into the US. Traumatized and scared, she was purchased by a couple in southern California. They placed her in a cage with an older parrot without gradual introduction and she was attacked. Taken to the vet, she was left in lieu of paying the bill, as many vets will attest to this sad practice.
The vet gave her to a family member and partner, but ultimately they divorce leaving Panama with the husband, who now traveled a great deal of the time. Like any child left alone, with minimal food, fresh water or the stimulation of activity, toys and contact, she became aggressive and sullen.
The husband asked my friend to take care of her for a year while he took an assignment overseas. But at the end of the year he said, “Keep her, sell her, I don’t want her.” So my friend decided to sell. She is a one person bird and Patrick is the man in her life!
Our mascot, Merlin is a Moluccan Cockatoo. Unlike the tragic tale of Panama, Merlin was a pampered hand-fed baby purchased by a family for their young son. Years passed and the university felt that the dorm room was no place for a cockatoo, especially a very loud and exuberant one. Life changes forced the family to seek a new home for Merlin and he came into our lives in 2000 at the young age of 10 years old.
Parrots do not change color based on their sex, so we always believed that Merlin was male. Much to our surprise three years ago, Merlin laid an egg! Having achieved Cockatoo adulthood spring brought out her true nature.