Paul Dube has been to Bermuda 55 times. He used to buy 15 to 20 postcards on each trip and send them off before he left the island — part “wish you were here,” part “look what you’re missing.”

Even on vacation, the lifelong travel agent is almost always on the job.

“A percentage of them did work,” said Dube, 72.

Since January, he’s been to Poland, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. In two weeks, he’s off to Rio.

He says he discovered early on that “exploring the world is a lot of fun.”

Dube was born in Biddeford and moved with his family to Lewiston when he was 8. After graduating from St. Dom’s high school, he joined the Army in 1959, thinking it would give some direction.

In an entirely unexpected way, it did.

For frequent flights home, he’d buy a one-way ticket at a travel agency just off base.

“They were full-fledged travel agencies and I could see they were happy always sending people away,” Dube said.

In Lewiston, the only store that sold airline tickets was run by two brothers, part of their bookstore/cigar shop/bus station enterprise. And they were pretty grumpy.

“I could see there was a niche,” he said.

He took correspondence courses in travel, accounting and business management while still in the service. At his last post, Fort Devens in Massachusetts, he worked in the Finance Office, charged with figuring out airfares for transfers and soldiers on leave.

Dube got out of the Army on June 30, 1962. Dube Travel opened on July 1, 1962, soon offering bus tours, flights and steamship trips.

One eventual bus trip offered a monthlong tour to Florida, another 45 days to travel across the country and back. 

“It was amazing how many people had never been out of the state of Maine,” Dube said. Through industry perks, “I was able to explore the world quickly to be able to sell it a lot better.”

He’s been to every continent except Antarctica and plans to explore South Africa next year.

“I’ll always try and experience the local foods,” he said. “I like to cook. I’ll taste something and I’ll try to reproduce it at home. Sometimes it’s very successful, sometimes not so.”

Dube and his wife, Rita, have four children and 10 grandchildren. He’s active in the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary, and spends time on Torsey Lake to relax. Between trips — there are 20 to 30 a year — he’s working on a book about his 50 years in the business.

Dube said he’s not ready to consider retirement and he’s still up for trying new things. A past member of the Walt Disney Travel Advisory Board, he’s been to Disney World 50-plus times, but had never been by himself and never tackled attractions such as Space Mountain, Expedition Everest and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

In April, on vacation with Rita, he fixed that.

“I went in three parks in one day and went on the rides I wanted to,” Dube said. His philosophy: “This time, if I chicken out, nobody’s going to know about it.”

But he didn’t.

“I had a wonderful time,” Dube said.

Know someone who knows everyone? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at [email protected] or 689-2844

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