Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
ITMI graduation year: 2011
Travel bucket list: Croatia, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, Russia, and South Africa
Tour essentials: my smart phone, my camera, and my smile
What or who inspired you to become a tour director?
I accidentally became a tour director. I had been planning & leading international tours for years, but I just didn’t know that it was a “real” job. Luckily, I read about ITMI online. Attending ITMI was the best decision that I could have made for myself. It enabled me to be better and to expand the skills needed for tour directing success.
How do you balance your personal life with your travel career?
I’ve never felt that my personal life is on hold because of my travel career. My personal life and career are intertwined entities. I consider the friends & colleagues made while traveling an enhancement to my personal life.
What qualities do you feel make for a good tour director?
I feel that a good tour director needs a good sense of humor, a love of history, amazing people skills & patience.
What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?
I would advise a first-time traveler to have an open mind and heart. That travel is about learning and experiencing other cultures & beliefs. Do some homework and research the basics (currency, need for electrical adapters/converters, weather appropriate clothing, etc).
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Croatia, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, Russia and South Africa. Additionally, I would like to revisit all my previous destinations.
What are three things you must always take with you?
I always travel with my smart phone, my camera and my smile.
If you could design your own customized tour to reflect your passions, what would it look like?
My tour would reflect my passion for all things involving food & wine. Regardless of the region or country, we learn a lot from the cuisine and various beverages of an area. I would show how food & drink are intricately tied to a culture’s history.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and where you’d like to take them.
I would love to travel with Dolly Parton. It would be my honor to show her Scotland in Spring and Iceland in Summer. I could only imagine good times for all!
How has tour directing impacted your perspective of the world?
Tour directing has proven to me that this world of ours is quite small & that the world’s population has many more similarities than differences.
What advice would you give someone if they wanted to become a tour director or guide?
I would let them know that it is not an easy vacation job. You have to keep up to date on current affairs, be able to maintain your composure in (sometimes) difficult situations, have the ability to think on your feet, and (most importantly) earn & keep the respect of your guests. Tour directing requires full commitment, but the rewards are both wonderful & endless.
Do you agree that a tour director is actually an ambassador of goodwill? If so, why?
Absolutely, a tour director is an ambassador of goodwill. Tour directors can emphasize the realistic beauty of a culture. The key is providing a nonjudgmental, culturally historic perspective to the world around us.