20 things that Tour Guiding has taught me

“I know we haven’t crossed any country borders, but can we still use Euros today?” – Anonymous passenger

Its been a whirlwind couple of years working in Europe and the more I try to recount it all, the more I realize just how much has happened in such a short space of time. Its been one of the biggest learning curves of my life – learning not only about myself but also about that big wide world out there.

Here are 20 realisation that I’ve come to, over this time:

1) I have developed deadly addictions to caffeine and Wifi. More often than not, I fiend for both at the same time.

2) Childhood memories have been pushed out of my head in favour of more practical information. Like where to find the closest ATM at any point in time, anywhere on the continent… Or where to find the best cevapcici in Sarajevo.

3) My liver has processed 3 average lifetimes worth of shots… What’s that? Oh, not another tequila….

4) I’ve mastered the art of walking drunk people home… AND… been walked home by people who’ve mastered the art of drinking.

5) Give me 5 minutes and I can squash my entire life into a backpack

6) Good Samaritans do actually exist and will help you if you can learn to speak a couple of words in their language.

7) However, good Samaritans are only as useful as the tip you can provide them with, in exchange for their help.

8) Everything has a price – a guy in Istanbul once tried charging me 20 Turkish Lira for watching his friend play backgammon.

9) The people who sit at the very back of the coach on tour are usually trouble. I should know – I’m often one of them.

10) I can deliver the most impressive, engaging hour-long talk on Yugoslav 20th century history, but a 20 second freestyle rap over the microphone about absolutely nothing or somebody snoring in their seat will still get more applause. Essentially, the choice is yours on what to take in when you travel.

11) My tolerance to stupidity and ignorance has been worn down to dangerously low levels. If you ask me a stupid question such as, “Why don’t these people dress in clothes other than rags?”, you will get an equally stupid response. But I’ll be tactful about it 🙂 .

12) No, I don’t know where you can find Vegemite, Aussies.

13) Yes, I do have a favourite late night kebab joint / food stand in every city. Follow me.

14) When somebody offers you food or a drink in Europe, refusing it becomes increasingly more insulting, the further East you go.

15) As a tour guide, if you get more than two hours to yourself on any day, it is a luxury.

16) Sleeping more than 6 hours a night during the season is a real treat. Sometimes, I feel fresher after 4 hours than I do after 8.

17) I walk way too quickly for most people to keep up.

18 ) “Home” becomes where I lay my head down each night. Otherwise, it gets too complicated to explain.

19 ) I miss my family, friends and loved ones every day. I’m always thinking, “Wow, if only (insert name here) could see this right now!”

20) With everything that being a Tour Guide in Europe has taught me, I always remind myself how lucky I’ve been to do something like this, growing rich in experiences and making memories to last many lifetimes.

What has travelling taught you?

Beachside reflections... Durres, Albania.

Beachside reflections… Durres, Albania.

11 thoughts on “20 things that Tour Guiding has taught me

  1. Often while I’m stuck on the side of a classroom listening to the main teacher blab away,I dream about how much more fun it would be to be a tour guide in order to travel, rather than teach abroad. I’m sure it’s 10 times harder though!

    Don’t think I’ll be switching anytime soon though, the stupid questions would kill me! 😉

    • Its funny – on the worst days it feels just like I’m babysitting adults. But on those great days when everything goes smoothly and people learn and enjoy themselves, it is really rewarding. 🙂

      The stupid questions are a part of it I guess. If anything, they’ve helped build up my patience!

      A top 10 stupid questions post will find its way onto here at some stage 😉

  2. Adam! you NAILED IT!! Number 10 – I never got more applause than when I solved Rubiks Cube with no instructions… and Number 11, I’ve given up naming every church we pass – they’ve all become St. Marys and the toilets are ALWAYS “just over there” *insert vague hand wave*….

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