Edjon, or Ed as his photo to the right shows he likes to be called, leads tours for Explore in Albania. We had a quick chat to him about life as a tour leader and what he loves about Albania, then asked him ten quickfire questions. He said:
"Explore has given me the opportunity to show other people the culture, rich tradition, hospitality and long history of my country. It has also helped me become a much better tour leader thanks to the training it organizes. I have met a lot of wonderful and interesting people, and it's a great feeling to know i am being appreciated - I think the best thing about the job is doing something that I love.
The best place to visit in my country in my opinion are the mountains in the south of Albania. They are surrounded by rural stone villages, with beautiful scenery, welcoming people and a lot of traditions. Hiking in the mountains is the most unique experience, the landscape is simply breathtaking, there's no other words to describe it. The people are very friendly and they contribute to make the experience wonderful.
I believe the best tradition we have is hospitality. Whenever local people invite you to have lunch or dinner with them it is customary to seat at the front of the table as a sign of great respect. The motto of the local people is "once you put your feet under the table you're part of the family, no longer a guest." I make it my priority to take my clients to the local residents so they can experience first hand this great tradition of ours. It's the people that make my country so great."
And here are his answers to our questions...
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? I would choose Paris.
What do you like best about being an Explore tour leader? I get to eat the best food and visit the most beautiful sites. Plus I get to make a lot of new friends.
What are your top tips for a great adventure holiday? Never leave without a pair of comfortable shoes and a bottle of water.
What do you never leave home without? A picture of my son.
What is one of your favourite moments on tour? I remember when we went to a school in a village called Benja. We had brought notebooks, pencils and some other stuff for them. I will never forget the looks on their faces, it was pure joy. That was very memorable for me.
What advice do you give people while on tour? I believe it’s very important to protect the environment. So I would advise people to pay more attention to littering and do their best not to pollute the environment they visit.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sea food.
If you were in charge of the world, what would your first rule be? My first rule would be higher taxes for the rich, more opportunities for the poor.
What makes you feel proud while on tour? I feel proud every time my group appreciates the job I’m doing.
What is one of your funniest moments on tour? We were in a small town and I had gone to the barber to shave my head (as I always do). All the members of the group took out their cameras and took pictures of me while my head was half shaved. The other half had shaving cream on it. They were laughing really loud as were the local people. It was a funny event.