It’s safe to say, that being a tour guide sounds like the best job in the world! We speak to Greg Hall, a tour manager with Collette Travel to find out what its really like, what he likes best about the job, his advice on visiting Europe and what his number one travel destination is.
How did you catch the ‘travel bug’?
Well, I suppose I was born with it. I grew up on three continents, and my parents made sure our family traveled every summer for a vacation in a new place. My siblings and I attended the French and American school systems in West Berlin, Germany, with children from around the world; many of the students we studied with were the children of military and diplomatic mission staff members. That kind of exposure opens you up to the world.
What’s your favorite destination to travel to in Europe and why?
Not a fair question, because I see the beauty, richness, and culture of each of the countries I've lead tours in. However, if I ignore countries I have lived in or am a citizen of (just to be fair), and you twisted my arm a bit, I would say Iceland! Some of the friendliest people in the world live there, and they are surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery you can imagine. There isn't a single tour I've run in Iceland that hasn't included a personal "wow" moment.
What do you like best about being a Tour Manager?
Bridging cultures. Helping our guests to make the connections and appreciate the differences.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to people thinking about visiting Europe?
Learn a few key basic phrases in the language(s) of the country(ies) you are going to visit. Even if you massacre the pronunciation, the locals will appreciate the fact that you made an effort to learn a bit of their language, and doors will open for you that may otherwise not have.
Do you have a memorable moment from a tour that you’d like to share?
Over the years, there have been many memorable moments. That's the beauty of travel: it creates special moments. Mine have ranged from bringing WWII veterans back to places they had been during the war, to helping a guests find their great-grandmother's village. One that will always tug at my heartstrings was watching French high school students talking to two WWII vets at Omaha Beach in Normandy. The respect and admiration in the students' eyes were met with an amazing emotional reaction on the veterans' parts: while they spoke with the kids, you could see and feel the desire to tell their story, all while seeing in the students that which they had fought for; but then, as the two veterans returned to the coach, they put their arms around each others shoulders, and tears could be seen in the corners of their eyes, which they quickly wiped away as they boarded the coach. You don't forget moments like that.
Reader's Digest Guided Tours are working with Collette to bring you tailored tours across the globe. Costa Rica, South Africa, New Zealand, Iceland, South-East Asia - whatever destination your heart desires, from cultural city breaks to adventures off the beaten track there is a tour to suit every traveller. To learn more about these sought after experiences and to build your own adventure click here or phone 0800 804 837.