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Being a guide - the most beautiful job in the world
I have heard this phrase a dozen times. Being a tour guide is the most beautiful job on earth. I have seen so many officially retired people, but still energised enough never to quit their guide-calling, and always making groups of visitors laugh. What is it about this strange job that makes people forever young? On the other hand, there is a huge bunch of people that doesn't even consider this to be a real job. Instead, they think of it as an easy way to travel around in your twenties, or maybe earn some side money.
In a way, they might be right. There aren't many guides who really earn their living thanks to guiding. And it really is a great side income. It is easy money, too, if you happen to love the job, because then it hardly feels as working. So, maybe it's not a real job.
And maybe some tour guides really want to "settle down", get an office job. Is there a better reference? An experienced tour guide is bound to be both a leader, and a listener, a problem-solver, and a stress-handler, and he probably can't stop learning, has good communication skills... Don't you want that person working for your company?
Of course, there are lousy guides, but practice makes perfect, or in this case, it makes you good enough. Education helps a lot. It is wonderful to see more and more guide training centres and schools employing new techniques in teaching and training of guides. The Innoguide project puts emphasis on three topics that should be a part of each guide's education - interculturality, sustainability and experiential guiding.
I personally believe that experiential has a lot to do with creativity. Some skills can be taught, but for some people it just comes naturally and it is an undefined talent that cannot be taught. Sustainability is crucially important for the entire profession, but let's face it, some guides will be satisfied even without it. It seems to me that interculturality is the inevitable one. This is something that every single guide will have to learn how to deal with, at least to a certain point. They usually learn it through awkward situations, cultural clashes, unexpected insults, and sometimes even unsatisfied clients when they did nothing out of the ordinary. Every guide has had a strange cross-cultural situation on the edge of an incident, and wouldn't it be better to learn how to deal with it the easy way - before it actually happened? In today's world, dealing with intercultural differences should be taught from the early days, especially in a homogenous society like the Croatian one, where I come from.
I thought about all those people who have been working as happy guides for years now... and about all those who are now into something completely different, but still talk about their tour-guide-days... Most of those people already employ sustainability, even though they might not be aware of it. Some of them try to influence their visitors through experiential tools. But all of them have one thing in common. They keep enjoying their memories and keep telling anecdotes of cross-cultural encounters. I came to realise, those memories and tales are similar to travel-memories. Having a positive way of dealing with cross-culturality might be what makes you think about this job as the most beautiful job in the world.
Iva Silla, Drustvo Marije Juric ZagorkeBACK