Last month, I officially began work as a tour leader for Intrepid Travel, one of the best travel companies in the world. Their main philosophy is all about responsible travel, which I think is more relevant today.
In the early months of 2012, I learned a lot from a tour leader named Andy Sawchyn, an Aussie guy who really is a master of his craft. He’s been at it for more than 10 years and I bow to his wisdom. He recommended me to work as a tour leader for the succeeding trips in the Philippines. I had a one-week training in Bangkok last November before heading off to handle a group in December.
So far, I have handled three groups and I have grown to love them all. Each group is unique and all I can do is to describe and not to compare them.
One of the hardest parts I guess for a tour leader is to let go of any attachment to the previous group and reset one’s mind for the next one. To this day, I still remember their names and the qualities that make each of them special. There will always be a running joke; a conversation piece; a karaoke song; a tattoo; a dance; and daily observations about food and the people they’ve met. Their insights are fresh, exciting and sometimes controversial. It’s also a re-affirmation of our qualities (good and bad) about being Filipino.
When asked if I get tired visiting the same old destinations, I always tell my guests that it’s not really these places that I’m looking at; it’s their reaction upon seeing them and their interaction with one another.
I’ve been lucky so far to have really great groups. I miss all of them and I don’t mind seeing them soon. There are certain qualities that Intrepid travellers have: they’re fun, open-minded and interesting. They have seen the worst toilets, endured bad roads and survived different types of food. I want them to have fun in my country.
I have been away for so long from the comforts of home and my wife. I try hard not to think about these things too much because I want to honor my commitment. I’m crossing my fingers that I accomplish my task with flying colors because one of my biggest goals is for Intrepid to offer more itineraries here.
I want to show the world that we deserve a visit.