Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher once said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Sometimes we do things in life and later question if the decision we made was worth it. Is becoming a Contiki Tour Manager worth it?
Being a Contiki Tour Manager is not for everyone and on training a few people fell by the wayside and decided to leave while others left on their own accord.
It takes a certain person to do this job and if you happen to be reading this blog for an insight then let me be honest with you; it is no walk in the park and if you think it’s going to be some kind of holiday you are sadly mistaken. From the moment you wake till the instant you go to sleep your brain is buzzing.
On training the only time you get to yourself is in the shower or when you sleep, even that is limited. You get off the coach and run in cities you have never seen, hoping you are running in the correct direction. Your actions get questioned on a daily basis and often you find out that the running you did, around the city you have never seen, was not as beneficial than if you had you run in another direction. The trainers push you harder each day, testing your patience and ability to remember facts on the spot.
You drag yourself out of bed every morning after a few hours sleep, you try your hardest to keep your eyes open on the coach when all they seem to want to do is close and on a daily basis you get told that you are not good enough and need to improve.
Is it all worth it you may be asking? Well the proof is in the pudding. This is the most incredible job, many say it’s the best job in the world, and being away from it during the Christmas season has made me realise that this is true.
Never before have I heard of a job that allows for so much personal development, one where you hop on the coach in the morning in one country and you are in a new country by lunch time. Where you meet incredible people from all walks of life and experience different cultures while sharing memories with clients and colleagues that become your best friends.
I don’t find that I am the same person I was before Contiki, I am a better version of myself. I think I can speak for many of the tour managers when I say that training and life on the road changes you.
What are these changes you may be wondering? Well it took me a while to figure it out for myself.
I have fewer plans, perhaps you can say I am more of a free spirit or a nomad. Before Contiki I always had a set plan; I was to finish university, get a top paying job, find a place to live, get a boyfriend and a dog and settle.
Settle? The last thing I want now is to settle! So what if I don’t know where I am going to be in 5 years and I don’t have a structured plan for the way my life ‘should’ turn out? I am living life to the fullest, seeing more of the world than most and having the adventure of a lifetime. The wise Lao Tzu also said “A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
Travelling opens your eyes to the big wide world and when you travel you see the world a little differently. You develop a profound appreciation for the way that other countries and cultures work, understanding what makes them tick.
It’s like leaning how to swim; you are thrown on the deep end, without floating armbands to bring you to the top, but eventually you learn to paddle your way to the edge and before you know it you are swimming with a huge grin on your face.
Not many things are easy the first time round but once you get used to it you find you improve. You begin to swim in places where before you felt like you were drowning.
Working with people and ensuring you have effective communication skills, that transcend cultural boundaries, is something you learn through this job. Working with people is not easy and often presents itself with challenges that make you rethink your approach. I have learnt patience working as a Tour Manager and figured out ways to communicate in different situations.
Like any job there are days that are more testing than others but there has not been one day where I have not wanted to be working as a Tour Manager. Or where I have questioned my decision to pack my bags, leave my friends and family for an adventurous life on the road. I know that they are there supporting me with every step I take.
So if you are questioning whether to do the same, or are at a crossroads in life without any idea of which way to turn remember this;
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” It may be time to take that step.