I have worked for Explore for over ten years now and I still believe it’s the best job in the world! It really broadens your mind, it’s a job that requires a lot of hard work with long days but the rewards are amazing! I’ve had the best time of my life and can’t ever imagine doing anything else! I have met and made friends with the most incredible people ever and learnt so much from different cultures. It’s an addictive lifestyle!
What is the view from your office?
I have sat and completed my paperwork in the most incredible of places, from the edge of the Grand Canyon, from my tent in the desert in Mauritania, from a beach in Seychelles, on the shores of Lake Tana in Ethiopia, the rainforest in Uganda, on a train in Siberia, on the steppes in Mongolia and on a boat travelling down the Niger to Timbuktu – with an office like this who needs a stunning screensaver on your computer! It’s the best office in the world!
What is the best place to visit in your country and why?
In Ethiopia it’s everything, from the amazing Rock hewn churches in Lalibela, the ancient Stelae field in Axum shrouded with mystery, the Gelada baboons and the Simien Mountains which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and just watching the locals live in a biblical way which has not changed in thousands of years. The diversity is astounding and every day has its own highlight.
Describe one of the local customs in your country?
If you are close to someone, friends or family, it is custom to feed them, to pick up some injera (a pancake made of Tef grain with wonderful spicy sauces), make a bundle and place it in their mouth. It’s very rude to refuse. When someone does this for you, you know they think the world of you, but beware, as sometimes they pack the bundle with hot chilli paste!
What do your customers often forget to pack and what other recommendations would you have?
It’s usually their chargers or adaptors. Thank goodness there is always someone who has a spare one! Always bring old or cheap clothes when you are travelling in a third world country, and then you can leave them behind – you then travel home with less to carry, can do more shopping and less washing when you get home! Always travel with an open mind, embrace the country rather than expecting it to embrace you.
What in your opinion is the best thing about the job?
Everything, I love the challenges that tour leading brings, every day is different and every country has its own challenges, but most of all I love getting to know the locals and learning how to live each day as if it’s my last, spreading love and happiness, and falling in love with places I never would have thought I would, watching clients go way beyond what they thought they were capable of and changing their perceptions of places, especially Ethiopia.
Describe the funniest event you ever witnessed with a group?
Well, there are too many to mention, most are too rude or would be embarrassing for some, but on a camping trip in America there was one client who snored so badly that on the second night the rest of the group watched where he put his tent and then pitched theirs about 25 metres away, the second night 50 metres away, this became a nightly routine, by the end of the trip they pitched their tents about 100 metres away, he was practically the other side of the campsite alone. The client mentioned on the last night that he was so impressed with the consideration of the others in the group, as they obviously pitched their tents miles from his because they didn’t want to keep him awake with their snoring!!!
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