Wherever I have traveled, there has always been a tour guide to show me the true beauty and meaning of my destination. Each time, I have thought that these people were probably the happiest in the world.  They adored the place where they lived, and they loved their chosen profession.  Each time I was jealous; I wanted that same passion in my life. Plus, these guides were so friendly, energetic, and professional that I had to think – this particular city is the best place in the world to live. One could say that this was my good fortune, but I believe otherwise.  The ability to make other people happy and to make them fall in-love with the travel spot are simply the general characteristics of people who have decided to become tour guides.

In seeing how private guides work, I have felt some sort of energy exchange. These people have shared their love of their city with me and have provided tourists with a piece of that same passion. Coming full circle, this makes me feel like a part of the city as well. I guess it is because only “in-love-with-a-place” individuals choose such a profession, and they do everything to share this ‘love’ with others.  

Behind every professional tour guide, there is a story that explains why they choose this particular profession. So I decided to ask them – why did you become a tour guide? I wanted to know what comes first – the specific character traits or the passion for their locale (whether by birth or by chance)? Now I am lucky enough to share with you what I have found!

First, 99.9 percent of guides in one manner or another provided the same answer. Becoming a guide is simply their “passion and mission to some extent.”  This is true even if “life brought them there.”   Afterwards the person still understood that it was the passion of his/her life. For guides like Samir Jlaydi being a guide is a family tradition.  “My father used to be guide and […] I like this job too,” he says.

Another guide, Kumar Dahal, goes deeper and shares with me his mission – “to promote my country to the world.”  I guess, all of us to one extent or another are proud of the country in which we live; all of us would like to share the local experiences, traditions and culture with our foreign visitors. There are so many local facts and bits of daily life for us to showcase. We know that even though these moments may seem ordinary to the natives, visitors will find them authentic and exciting.    

Probably the funniest answer to the question was given by Pepo Klaic, who wrote, “It’s obvious - I never liked to drive and I was afraid to talk in public.  Now… I am driver guide.” Murphy's Law is always there =) 

Now, there is one more story that I received that I would like to share with you.  I think this one may suit my personal view of tour guides best. A professional private guide from Amsterdam, Lut Van Hove, wrote me her story and gave permission for me to reproduce it here.

“I am a tour guide since I was 27 years old. This has a long history: since my 16th I dreamed to visit other countries, so after I finished my studies I worked and lived in Bahia, Brazil for two years. Discovering another culture, the blend of Indian, African and European people fascinated me. When I came back to Europe I was asked to be a tour guide for Africa. Later in other countries. Even if I visit places many times, I can appreciate the beauty of it, every time in a different way. I love to share this fascination for different places all over the world with other people: their history, architecture, modern projects, way of life, nature and landscape…”

When I meet a guide who provides me with a wonderful tour, I imagine a similar story in his/her background.  I do believe that being a guide is THE mission, THE passion and THE life style! This may be a bit romantic… a bit idealistic but is so nice!

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16:18 August 10, 2011

Mаhmoud Labeeb

Thanks Tora

04:17 am August 12, 2011

Joyce Xavier

Thank you Tora Borstrom, I was rediscovering myself by reading the story of guides and their passion...I have one more reason to become a guide. In my case it was my admiration of other guides explaining about the country. The guides in India, or Kerala especially, made this destination great by looking at it through the eyes of the tourist / visitor. Observations made in this manner by a guide here, as they are trained to, expanded the perspectives about this country. Now I know a few thins more about my country and its people. Regards,Joyce

00:09 am August 20, 2011

pepo klaic

Money feeds our pockets well done job feeds our soul if customers coming back for more you are good guide

03:19 am September 9, 2011

Tora Borström

Really glad you liked it! =)

07:13 am September 14, 2011

Jun Ma

en..very useful@

22:37 November 27, 2011

Rajeev Sikarwar

Well, in my case being a tour guide was always a passion. I wanted to see my country from a foreigners perspective. What they like and what they don't. Then I could go ahead, in my free time, to tell my countrymen to either mend their ways or keep up something good they are always doing. Thanks you Tora

23:48 March 30, 2012

_Minthan _Htut

Thanks a lots for your post about guides!

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