My job comes with a lot of perks. I get to travel and I get paid for it. Sometimes however, those perks also give you a disadvantage. Occasionally I get to visit places I’ve never been to before. It means I’m up for an adventure in many ways. It means I get to explore and experience new things, basically a holiday right?
But it also means a lot of research and preparation. Imagine going to a place you’ve never been before and you have to lead your group to the hotel based on a route you’ve only “walked” on google maps. Then you need to find ATMs, places for lunch and dinner and give an introductory walk, telling stories about buildings you yourself are only seeing for the first time. You get all kinds of questions you don’t know the answer to, cause no matter how much you prepare, you can never know it all. Still, it’s worth it, because when it all works out, you can enjoy it as much as your guests.
This time I got sent to Croatia, but unlike most trips I do, we stayed in the same place for a week, taking day trips in the region. There was only one thing I could prepare, and I was lucky enough to have two days off to do it. One of the daytrips would bring us to Dubrovnik, so I flew in early to get to know the city before I would take my guests there. The rest of the week was a mystery, but it turned out to be the most amazing experience.
I was staying in a house with 4 travellers and every day we were spoilt with fresh breads and spreads for breakfast and a three course dinner at the end of the day. The family makes almost everything from scratch and uses a lot of products from their own garden. The amount of food and wine was just overwhelming. But what really made the trip perfect was the love and attention of the family. For one week we were all part of this family and learned everything about them. I love how passionate they are about their lifestyle and their area.
From day one I was spoilt. The family took care of most of the trip and I just had to be there. We were taken on a wine tour through the region, visiting small vineyards and learning about the way they produce wine. I was taken out on the water on a small boat, with a break on a private beach where we had fresh fish from the barbecue. I saw a small town and the old city of Dubrovnik. Unfortunately the last day was a rainy one, so instead of cycling we were driving around the region again. But we ended up seeing some cool stuff we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
I can’t believe I was working! I can’t believe this is part of my job! Now I’m afraid I got used to the level of care and great amounts of food we had. It was an amazing experience and I hope I can take some of it into my next trip, in a completely different region and with a completely different style!