Just Like Jackie

Just Like Jackie

Linda’s best skincare routine: Artisanal

I met Linda Harger when I moved to the desert and have been curious about her cool calm ever since. Here’s her journey.

It was June 1, 1961. Jackie Kennedy was aglow as she entered the Hall of Mirrors for a state dinner at Versailles.

The First Lady was stealing the hearts of everyone she graced with a smile including a little girl in Butler, Pennsylvania who was glued to the evening news. Her name was Linda Harger, and she was inhaling the glamor shots of Jackie.

In that moment, a spark of ambition was lit in her. Linda knew what she wanted to do when she grew up. She wanted to go to France.

Jackie spent her junior year abroad in France, and Linda was able to take her junior year in Switzerland. Close enough. She loved her time there. Mission accomplished.

The only problem was that when she got back to Chatham University, she realized she’d accomplished her big goal, but now had no idea what to do with the rest of her life.

Her dad suggested an accounting class. Linda nailed it, then went on to Northeastern University before embarking on a career in public accounting.

Her life kept clicking into place. She met her husband, Rich. Her mom threw them a huge wedding. Linda settled into her career. But life is rarely that easy.

Linda’s mom was diagnosed with an ALS-like disease and became totally disabled. Linda switched to part-time accounting and devoted a huge part of her life to her mom.

So much for Happily Ever After.

The accounting gig was not giving Linda the yippy skippy. One night after a dismal day, Linda saw an ad that said, “Learn to become a travel agent. No experience necessary.”

Boom. The spark of the girl whose sole ambition was a trip abroad came back to life. It would be so much more fun helping people plan vacations then dealing with their finances. She acquired a travel franchise, and the sadness surrounding her mom’s illness and the death of her dad began to lift.

All the trips she and Rich took satisfied her soul, but it was something that happened on a French barge cruise that blew her mind.

Linda and Rich had been having a blast with some folks from Minnesota. Every night was filled with shenanigans and every day was another excursion. 

One woman knew how to have an extra good time. She partied like there was no tomorrow, and in her case, there wasn’t.  On the last day, Linda was walking with her when she stopped to rest. She explained to Linda that it wasn’t a hangover slowing her down. She had end-stage cancer. She was dead in less than a year. That was a gut punch, and Linda credits this experience with her zero tolerance for B.S.

Her second aha moment came above the Arctic Circle. Linda and Rich had taken a tiny plane from Fairbanks to the Coldfoot Settlement—known for its Northern lights and the Alaska pipeline. There, they visited the home of a trapper who told them about the history of the place.

Linda was hoping for a lady’s room, but what she found was an outhouse. She couldn’t fathom anyone choosing to live the off-the-grid life the trapper had chosen for himself and his family. 

But when the trapper was done talking about the Settlement, he went on to express his deep love for his wife and his five children. He shared his passion for the land and his freedom. He appreciated everything about his life.  

Linda knew a lot of people with nice homes and in-door plumbing back in Pennsylvania, but she had never heard anyone express the level of fulfillment with their life as the trapper. 

She came home from that trip with an appreciation of her life exactly the way it is. You rarely hear Linda say things like, “I wish I had this,” or “I woulda, coulda, shoulda done that.” She is the perfect person to hang with when one feels a pity party coming on.

Bottom line, she’s a wise soul with some great travel tips:

  • Don’t try to fit too much into a short time.
  • Cheapest isn’t always the best.
  • Always carry your JustUs Mini Kit in your carry on.
  • Always carry your medications in your carry on.
  • Give yourself way too much time, especially on layovers.
  • Always carry something extra to wear in your carry on.
  • Always do what you think is right, even if it’s not popular.

Favorite city: Paris.

If she could go only one more place: Sarlat in South Western France.

Best girls’ trip: Beatles pilgrimage and visiting John and Paul’s childhood homes.

Best animals: The gorillas in Rwanda.


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  • Oh my gosh, I really needed that perfect message today. We all need inspiration, and that above and beyond. Thank you.xoxo

    Janet Flanders
  • Loved it! So inspiring!

    Susan Bernard Shaver
  • Loved that story.. thanks for sharing!


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