Below is a repost from Lost and Found Travel – follow our travels in China if you like! And it should provide a bit of an explanation of why there are no tours in March!
“Wow! A month? In China? You must have some kind of job that you can take a month off to travel to China. You’re so lucky.”
Yes, I suppose I am. I do have the best job ever in the world. I’m the proud owner and sole (and soul) tour guide for Chicago Elevated. Part of starting my own business was that I had the ability to take a month off to go to China. It’s important to me to travel. It’s a priority. And honestly, Chicago in March? Not too much going on, it’s a good time to go.
And leaving my business for a month is not easy because I am passionate about my work. I love Chicago Elevated and I’m good at my job. I am a good tour guide, I count on it, I pride myself on it. I am a really good tour guide.
Partly because I travel see.
I know in my heart, and more importantly in the pit of my stomach, how it feels to be in a new place where nothing makes sense. I know the confusion, how hard it is to find your way around, how everything that was familiar to you in your life is now switched up and moved around. It’s really shaky and hard to deal with when I get all turned around like that.
I know how it feels to get tired and not want to listen anymore. I know how it feels to be scared and un-trusting. I know taking a city bus can be the single most confusing thing I’ve ever had to do. And I know being with a confident and awesome guide can make me feel safe and protected and special.
I’ve had great tour guides, like the only lady tour guide in Fez, Morocco, tough as nails that one. There was Gabar in India, who just picked us up off the street (which you’re really not supposed to do) but we ended up spending the whole day with him, eating and walking and laughing. And I’ve had some not so great tours. At Angkor Wat in Cambodia I heard over and over and OVER about the “milk of life.” There have been lots of guides with no passion at all or guides who did nothing but give me the party line.
And when I get home and back to work, it helps me to explain myself better. I know a little humor can go a long way in breaking up tough information. I know people need to see my personality, especially if English is their second language. I know taking the city train is no small feat and I will go to great lengths to make sure you understand completely and never talk down to you. Most importantly, I know one tour guide can split a city wide open and get to it’s heart with just a few words and a smile.
I’m going to China for all kinds of reasons, some that aren’t even fully formed in my brain yet. But one thing I do know, when I get back I’ll be a better tour guide than I am now. That I can promise.