Over-the-road tours lead to some of the most exhilarating, eye-opening experiences a tour director can have. They're one of the most glamorized parts of the profession, and for good reason. They symbolize the spirit of exploration that inspired so many to become tour directors in the first place.
Now, a caveat: If you don't fortify yourself during long stretches away from home, you risk burning out. Savvy tour directors know they must find time to collect themselves to keep their energy level high and their minds sharp.
Don't neglect your "you time!" Here are eight ways to recharge during over-the-road tours.
Exercise: We love encouraging people to leave their comfort zones ... when it comes to travel. Exercise is a different story. You don't need to run a triathlon. What's important is that you get your body moving to build up those feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. This does wonders for your mood and overall sense of well being. Yoga, swimming, or a brisk walk or jog are great choices.
Meditate: We don't recommend any particular style or discipline. Let your personal preferences guide you. Perhaps your path to inner peace lies deep in the woods or along a sandy shoreline. Or maybe reciting a mantra or contemplating an inspirational passage is more up your alley. There is no single right way to achieve balance.
Read: It might seem counterintuitive, but indulging in a bit of escapism can enhance your appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you. Just be sure to put those page-turners down at a reasonable hour so that you get plenty of rest. Book hangovers are no joke.
Write: Putting your thoughts on paper is one of the most effective forms of release there is. You might not fancy yourself a wordsmith. That's fine. The idea is to make your thoughts and feelings - good or bad - more tangible, so that you can make better sense of them. Your discoveries might surprise you.
Pamper Yourself: Have you ever rubbed peppermint lotion on your feet? It's delightfully invigorating. Macho men, don't knock it until you've tried it. But if moisturizing is not your cup of tea, buy yourself a new skirt, suit, or watch. Treat yourself to a simple pleasure that isn't part of your normal routine.
Sing and Dance: It's not always easy for grownups to be playful or spontaneous. Deadlines, commitments, and responsibilities tend to stifle that childlike wonderment that makes travel so much fun. Put down the adult stuff for a few, crank up your favorite tunes and be a kid again. Just don't forget to finish your homework, too.
Put Away the Laptop/Smartphone/Tablet: We live in an amazing age. All of the information and communication capabilities we could ever need are constantly at our fingertips. It's amazing ... and overwhelming. Unplugging from your devices might seem impossible given your job, but think about the time you spend mindless thumbing over social media or through pictures. Try limiting your screen time and focusing your attention on scenery instead. It's much easier on the eyes.
Call Your Friend or Mentor: Sometimes there is no better way to decompress than to chat with a good buddy. Some days you just need to hear a familiar voice. Other times you need to vent. Keep a line of communication open with a trusted confidante and use it regularly. In a career as fast moving and ever changing as tour directing, it is vital to establish and maintain a few precious constants.