Last December, I became the unofficial tour guide.
A carefree boyfriend who is equally enthused as he is disappointed, and my 60+ parents who’ve just found out that safari is the button to open the internet on the Ipad and not an African adventure.
Now, I love travel.
I love the planning and researching aspect of discovering a new country and the idea of exploring the unknown. I love having loved ones with me to enjoy the experience and I love adding new ‘stamps on my soul’.
But what I don’t love, and what I came to realise on this trip was that I’m not cut out to be a tour guide.
On any one day, I became a weather reporter, lost and found officer, traffic controller, health advisor, city expert and chief navigator.
This went on for ten days before I cracked.
Someone asked me what we what I had planned for the group, before I had even rolled out of bed and I told them I resigned for the day.
“Do want you like, follow me if you wish, but don’t ask me any questions,” I told my parents and boyfriend at breakfast.
I was short with my words, quick in pace and ignored any questions that were fired my way.
I was irritated and annoyed that had been bestowed the responsibility of the group and I carried that thought with me for the day.
But as I went to sleep that night, I was overwhelmed with guilt.
How could I be so mean to the most important people in my life? I was the most travelled out of the bunch and had forgotten about all the times I had been in similar situations on tours and adventures and relied on others for help. Bloody hell, my parents put up with a good eighteen years me looking to them each day for advice growing up.
The next morning, I put all the hats back on but didn’t apologise for my behaviour. So mum, dad and Clinton – I’m sorry. I will forever be your tour guide on future trips and will answer you in the same loving patient way you have done for me all my life.
So what have I learned?
My ten lessons to being a family tour guide:
- Be patient
- Give everyone the rundown in the morning
- Provide the details of your accommodation on a piece of paper for their pockets
- Buy everyone a watch
- Keep all tickets with one person
- Let only one person give travel directions
- Pick a place to meet in case you get lost
- Take lots of photos
- Cherish the time you have with each other
- Enjoy the adventure
Don’t get caught in the spider webs of travel. Go find the butterflies hatching from their cocoons. Together.