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Danny Kaopuiki's

Kama`aina Profile

February 2006

The Traveling Man

I call my Profile guest the Traveling Man…a man who makes the dreams of many of us come true by putting wings to our visions, flying us to far away places that we usually only dream about…or wishing us a Bon Voyage as we board our luxurious cruise ship headed out to sea! In many, many cases, our Profile guy gets to do the part of his job that he loves most: he becomes our tour guide to exotic places in the far corners of the Earth! You don’t have to look at the shiny travel brochures to find out what it’s like to visit such exotic places as Gibraltar, Fiji, Bolivia, Peru, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tahiti, Portugal, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Argentina, Guatemala, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore. Just ask Terry Uemura, the Traveling Man, who can tell you stuff about those places that you’ll never find in a travel brochure because Terry has been there! What makes Terry so special is that besides loving to travel himself, he truly loves to help others get to the special destinations they’ve dreamt about finding!

Those of you who have flown via Hawaiian Airlines (out of SeaTac Airport) in recent times have noted (and been happy for) a unique “Travellers Assistance Program” wherein volunteer staff help Hawaiian Airline Travellers through the sometimes complicated and occasionally frustrating checking process! The volunteers get free parking and breakfast and work for “air miles” which they will Terry in Tahitieventually apply against flights aboard Hawaiian Airline flights (usually back to Hawaii). Terry Uemura was one of the key components (along with Assistant Station Manager Nohea Alapai and Aunty Manu Lono) in establishing the first of these programs. The program has become so popular that similar ones are now being established in several other large airports throughout the nation! [See Johnny Kai’s story from Portland.] What a unique method for spreading Aloha…the customers all end up happy and smiling while the volunteers end up happy and smiling when they board their flights to Hawaii with free tickets! Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer in this program should contact Terry as, with at least two Hawaiian Airlines flights departing from SeaTac each day of the week, there is always a need for more volunteers!

Obviously, Terry’s most frequent travel requests are from people wanting to travel to Hawaii and Tahiti. Terry is definitely an expert on where-when to go/how to get the best price for travel or lodging/most expensive-least expensive places to visit/etc in Hawaii and Tahiti but Terry’s personal favorite places to visit are South America and Spain! Terry schedules at least two guided group tours that he leads each year. This year Terry is putting out a call for “all da Portagees from Hawaii like Stephen Gomes and Uncle Danny” to join him in September 2006 to the REAL Portuguese Aina la Hanau e Kupuna (Land of their ancestors’ birth): PORTUGAL and SPAIN! He will lead the tour group to the original homelands of the longtime Hawaiian Ohana like the Silvas and Gomes and Correas and Fernandez and Souzas, et. al. Should be a fun trip!

Terry’s parents Masakazu and Betty Uemura are second generation Hawaii Japanese who were born/grew up in the Honaunau area on the Big Island. Terry is one of five siblings (sisters Lorna, Ruth and Lori-Ann, brother Aaron). Terry remembers growing up amidst coffee and macadamia tree farms in Honaunau. After graduating from Konawaena High School , Terry began his college education at BYU-Hawaii. He became very fluent in the Spanish language and spent a couple of years working as a Spanish Tour guide at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. Terry served a religious mission in Bolivia after which he completed his college education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Of course, his Bachelor of Science degree was in Travel and Tourism Management. He moved to Seattle in 1989, working as an executive assistant. The “call of the wide, wide world of travel” enticed him back into the travel industry in 1994 where he has been since. He worked for World Class Travel for several years where he first became known to the Hawaiian community population (word was that if you wanted a good deal traveling to Hawaii, Terry was your man.) A year ago, Terry decided he wanted to work more closely with the people he knew best, people from Hawaii . He ended up partnering with Hawaii General Store in creating the Hawaii General Store Travel Agency, a move that has benefited everyone as customers can now get their poi and crack seed while Terry schedules their flights to Hawaii or wherever!

Terry Uemura is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet. His work day runs from 4am each morning when he leaves to work with the Hawaiian Airlines volunteer traveler assistants and doesn’t end until the Hawaii General Store closes at 6:00pm each evening Mondays – Fridays. He works with the Hawaiian Airlines volunteers most weekends.

Want to go to that exotic land of your dreams? Or just back to Hawaii ? Terry Uemura is always willing to help you get there.

Until next time….be kind to each other…..me ke Aloha pumehana……Danny


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