Tuesday 19 Apr, 2011

Interview With EF Tour Director Lindsey

Toledo

I asked EF Tour Director Lindsey, to provide us with some insight to her background, experiences, and memories.

How did you become a Tour Director?

My best friend was doing the job and suggested it would be the perfect way to indulge my love of travel. I had just moved to Spain as I wanted to learn another language and felt immersion was the best way. Everything clicked and I found myself leading more and more tours. I now help with training new Tour Directors as well, helping them to understand that it really is one of the greatest jobs anyone could do.

What did you do before you started touring?

I have been doing tours for 7 years now, I cannot quite believe it.  Before that I did all sorts of different jobs – I was a teacher of English as a foreign language in Spain, an events organizer in London, an actress, a dancer…I was a Junior Account Executive at an advertising company once, for a week – that was not my thing at all!

Where is your favorite place to go on tour?

That is a difficult one.  I do like a mix, a variety.  I do tours with British adults sometimes to the USA and Asia, but I definitely prefer working with students.  I love being on tour in London, because it is my home city and it is great when I see people enjoying it, and getting to grips with the tube – travelling about just like Londoners.  I also love seeing my groups’ reactions to smaller places, loaded with history and atmosphere, like Assisi or Toledo.  Spain is relaxing to tour in, in general, as the sight-seeing mornings don’t often start before 9.30!

Oslo Fjord

What tour memories stand out for you?

I have been lucky to lead tours across Europe, so quite a few things stand out. Sailing into Oslo through the fjords early in the morning (see photo). Going on bike tours in Amsterdam and Munich (that is the way to feel like a local, and laugh a lot too!). Eating baklava on a beach in Greece with my best friend and fellow Tour Director, Michelle. Running down Europe’s largest sand dune with the whole group whooping and tumbling down…and those are just for starters.

Have you kept in touch with any of your students?

Yes, and it is great when you find out how the trip has changed them, or helped them in some way.  One of the students on my tour, who had never left her state before, went on to study Art History at the Sorbonne, and a boy went to Florence to work and learn Italian (I bumped into him there!)…and often it is not the dramatic country-changing stories that are the most satisfying, but just seeing a student go home so much more confident, or like a beautiful college-aged student on my tour, who had a waste of space of a boyfriend taking advantage of her, and after going on the tour she realized that she could do anything she put her mind to, and it was good-bye to him, hello world!

What do you do when you are not touring?

I bought a ridiculously cheap (and a little old and creaky) narrow boat a couple of years ago and live just north of Cambridge on it – though I can go off along the waterways too.  I love it, it is so peaceful and cozy, and I have even gotten used to the noisy neighbors (the ducks and geese).  But most of the year, when I am not travelling on tours, I go travelling on my own or with friends.  The last couple of years I have spent most of the winter in Brazil, this year or next I want to fulfill a childhood ambition and go to Antarctica – for the penguins, the ice landscape, and remoteness; I like people but a little solitude is healthy once in a while!

What would you do if you did not do this job?

No idea.  I am so lucky, it seems as if I found my perfect job.

(Editor’s note: Add Paul on Google+ If you have a question about for EF Tour Director Paul Mattesini, or an idea for a blog post topic, you can email Paul here, and he will answer readers’ questions in future blog posts.)