In Praise of Great Guides

Greetings from Malta!

We’re just wrapping up the first two weeks here, with some of our current members off to Sicily and some new ones joining us here in Malta to dig further into everything the islands have to offer.

We’ve been blessed with an amazing local guide here in Dominic, who has really brought to life the remarkable history and mysteries of Malta. He’s engaging and knowledgable, the kind of person you want to spend time with and learn from.

I have worked with many guides over 30 years in the business, and I have a deep appreciation for those with the true passion to share the stories of their countries. Seeing the same places and things over and over again sounds like a traveller’s version of hell! Yet it clearly isn’t for a particular type of local guide.

The best ones can hold the beginner’s mind themselves while simultaneously filling others with the knowledge of a veteran, and they are able to remain present to curiosity in spite of all the repetition. They have the network and the eye for the little gems and surprise experiences that are the mark of an expert in their field.

By and large we have had some really incredible local guides most of our trips, and a lot of members ask me how we find such great ones. I think back to David in Japan, Martine in Costa Rica, Nina in Thailand, Younes in Egypt, among others. The formula here is mostly knowing the vibe we’re looking for, spending some extra time to find them, and a bit of luck here and there.

Generally speaking, we try to find independent guides vs those of designated tour companies, though this is not always the case. Regardless it comes down to the personality and the passion…I see them as likeminded travellers of a different sort 🙂

Also – something I’ve heard multiple times from local guides on multiple trips – they have appreciated the experience of sharing their stories with Canadian travellers, for the openness, curiosity, and kindness we bring with us. You can imagine that that just as I’ve seen all types of guides over the years, they’ve seen the whole spectrum when it comes to travellers…it’s a good bit of perspective to keep in mind.

Some of them even stay in touch with our members for years afterward, which is wonderful to me – to be well-travelled and well-connected is the goal! Our guides have made many a trip meaningful for many of us, and I anticipate many more.

Speaking of more trips, I’m pleased to release two 2024 programs this week – The Holy Land: Israel & Jordan and Egypt & the Nile, happening in that order in Feb-March 2024.

Our last trip to these three countries was the second-last trip we did pre-pandemic, which adds a new dimension to my fond memories of it. The historical and archaeological marvels in this part of the world just keep coming, from the most significant sites of Christianity in Israel to the fabulous Rose City of Petra, and throughout the awe-inspiring wonders of Egypt.

Both programs and all three countries qualify as once-in-a-lifetime adventures for most of us, and that has been echoed in the feedback I’ve received from our members who went with is in 2020. Both programs can be found in your newsletter for your perusing pleasure. For webinars we’ve got our rescheduled 2024 Koh Samui LiveAway webinar coming up, as well as the webinar for our 2024 Malta LiveAway, should you be interested in either or both.

I’ll sign off here – be well and stay tuned…there are many more adventures to come in the pipeline.

Cheers!

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