Sara de Maine Kearns: A Life of Adventure and Discover

Sara de Maine Kearns: A Life of Adventure and Discover

Sara de Maine Kearns has lived an extraordinary life filled with adventure, passion, and purpose. Born during the World War II era in the UK, her parents instilled in her an undying spirit of determination. "I think I was blessed in having two amazing parents," Sara says. "They gave me basically all the encouragement I could ever ask for."  

Now at 81 years old, she shows no signs of slowing down as she continues to run her boutique travel company, Travels with Sara, which specializes in curated luxury safaris and tours to Africa.  

Sara credits her lifelong spirit for adventure to her parents, who gave her endless encouragement to pursue her dreams, even when others laughed at her career ambitions. "I wanted to be out in the world," she says, recalling how she set her sights on becoming a stewardess in the golden age of travel. Sara's first major travel experience was a safari to Africa with her father, who had always longed to visit the continent. That initial trip was magical for Sara, sparking a lifelong passion for Africa.  

She got her first job as a stewardess for British Airways, formerly known as BOAC, which launched her on a path crossing the globe and eventually falling in love with the continent of Africa.  

After meeting a dashing man, Frank Kearns, who "looked like James Bond" on a beach in Bermuda in 1966, Sara decided to give up flying to move with him to Rome in 1968. Frank Kearns (1917–1986) was an American broadcast journalist known for his work with CBS News. He began as a freelance correspondent stationed in Cairo, Egypt, in 1953 before joining CBS full-time in 1958. He went on to have a successful career as a foreign correspondent and Cairo bureau chief for CBS for over a decade.  

In 1971, Frank left his journalism career at CBS after being offered a position as a journalism professor at West Virginia University. It was there he and Sara settled down in a lovely house by the lake. Though the romance ended after he passed away from cancer in 1986, Sara described the years she spent traveling the world with him as "magical."  

Losing her husband was difficult, but Sara wasn't one to languish. "Giving up isn't part of my DNA," she says. Within months, she had opened up a successful bed and breakfast in New York City, one of the first of its kind. But her restless spirit soon led her to other ventures—first to a career as a private jet chef, then finally to founding Travels with Sara in 2009.  

"I feel like I've been blessed in having the encouragement to choose the career I wanted," Sara says. "Where there's a will, there's a way."  

The company specializes in highly personalized, luxury African safaris and tours. "Travels with Sara is exactly what I do," Sara explains.   

She accompanies clients on trips, "Which is great for people traveling with children, ensures clients don't get lost, don't make mistakes, gets them on the right plane and place , as well as helps especially single people, or people who really have a lot of fear" she clarifies.   

With Sara as a guide and companion, clients experience the splendor of Africa in comfort and style. "It is a truly inclusive holiday," with all food, drinks, game drives and excursions covered. Sara's passion is introducing people to the wonders of the African continent and awakening their senses to its sounds, smells, tastes and beauty. "It's a very special thing," Sara shares.  

A common theme in Sara's approach, both in how she lives her own life and runs her travel company, is encouraging others to pursue their travel dreams. "The door is wide open," she tells her clients who never thought they'd be able to afford the kind of luxury trips she plans.  

"It's not impossible," she insists. "The sky is the limit on any budget."  

Sara tailors every detail of her trips to reduce stress and maximize delight for her clients. With Sara handling every detail, clients don't have to worry about reservations, transportation, or how to choose from overwhelming options. They just have to sit back, trust her knowledge and experience, which is priceless, all while enjoying the incredible wildlife.   

 "People build walls. They don't realize they build themselves into a hole, into a box," she explains, emphasizing that she wants to give people the encouragement and opportunity to break out of their boxes and embrace new experiences.  

The key to Sara's success has been her ability to keep learning, changing, and taking on new challenges well into her eighties. She never saw retirement as an end goal. "Retirement is not a good thing if you're just putting your feet up—it's crazy!" she declares. "I want to be excited every day."  

That sense of joy keeps Sara feeling energized and engaged with life. She spoke with passion about upcoming safari trips she is planning to gorillas in Rwanda and a new island resort off the coast of Africa. Though she has traveled extensively for over 60 years, she makes every trip feel like a new adventure.  

A hallmark of Sara's trips is the high-quality guiding that helps clients learn as much as possible about the wildlife, culture, and history of whichever country they are visiting. "You'll come home a lot smarter and wiser," she states. "Learning is something you do until you die, because there's always something new to learn."  

Sara strongly believes adventure travel has the power to awaken people's senses and change their lives. "It smells better, it looks amazing, the sounds you hear—you become much more aware," she notes of being on safari in Africa. "It awakens the senses."  

In addition to continuing to lead signature trips with Travels with Sara, Sara has authored several guidebooks to help travelers plan their African adventures. Drawing from her many years of first-hand experience exploring Kenya and beyond, she published guidebooks like "Sara's Signature Safaris: Travels with Sara's How to Plan and Have the Best Safari Experience in Kenya." This book provides Sara's insider perspective on the finest camps, guides, and safari experiences across Kenya.   

She strives to arm readers with information to have an outstanding tailored safari trip without needing to be accompanied by a professional guide. Sara has been busy putting her travel stories and wisdom down on paper. She is working on a memoir entitled "80 Years of Adventure" as well as a series of safari guidebooks that promise to be an invaluable resource for anyone planning a trip to Africa.  

Her hands-on expertise shines through in these comprehensive resources for anyone wanting to embark on a luxury African trip of a lifetime. Sara hopes sharing her decades of experience will encourage others to create their own adventures. As Sara put it, "People say 'I couldn't do that'—well, you basically can."  

Though recognizing fear holds many people back, Sara believes with proper planning and an open mindset, safaris, and exotic travels are more accessible than most people think. "There's always another way," she insisted.  

By opening up about her life of exploits and using her travel company to personally accompany clients on custom trips-of-a-lifetime, Sara is creating once-in-a-lifetime memories for others while also setting an example that it's never too late to say yes to new adventures.  

"The door is wide open," she says. "Where there's a will, there's a way." At 81 years young, Sara de Maine Kearns continues to embrace the spirit of endless possibility and the wonder of discovering the world.  

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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