Fewwww… time flies when you’re having fun. It’s been hectic lately. Not bad hectic, but full on. In April I left New Zealand with pain in my heart. I didn’t want to go! But I had an amazing new opportunity waiting for me. After spending 6 days in my home country, I flew out to Rome for a tour leader training. It’s one of those things that was on my list somewhere. A thing I just had to try some time. So last August I started applying, more for fun and out of curiosity. Could I actually work as a tour leader? I went through a long selection process and now I was flying to Rome for a training. How I made it that far I still don’t really know. I guess if you want something, you just have to go for it.
The moment I stepped into my hotel room I met another trainee and that night before it all started I had dinner with three of them. Nobody really knew what was happening, but it turned out to become one crazy week. It all started in a meeting room without windows, staring endlessly to PowerPoint presentations and soaking up information. Soon, we got out though. Italy was our playground. There we were, travelling in a group of 19 soon to be group leaders. We stopped in Sienna, a gorgeous little town that won my heart, Pisa, Florence and Chianciano Terme. At every location someone had a task; organize dinner and drinks, do an orientation walk or even safely lead us from one place to the next.
After an intense week I had some time left in Rome with my fellow trainees, before starting a shadow trip. Together with two other trainee girls I shadowed a funny German girl who would teach us the ropes of tour leading. We soon called her ‘mother’ and even got her a mother’s day gift of chocolate. In this training we dealt with real passengers and luckily enough we had all the classic cases from the tour leaders handbook, including missing items, smells, hostel issues, gossip and sickness.
The pace of travel was fast, only a couple of days per town, and most of my time was spent on trains and buses. It was an amazing experience, but there was barely time to think of anything else but our trip. Goodbyes weren’t easy, especially from my beautiful colleagues that I’ve gotten quite close to. I am home now, trying to make sense of it all and prepare for my first ever solo trip. I’m reading about the Holocaust, watching Sissi movies and googling activities all over Europe. Hopefully I’ll have some time left for writing on the road. Time to share these amazing places, amazing stories and amazing people. I cannot wait to get started. Bring it on Europe!