Trek Talk - ElderTreks Blog


A wish list from your Tour Leader

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a tour leader? You probably think it is a life of glamor and excitement, visiting foreign countries and staying in upmarket hotels. Some of you may have even thought this might be a wonderful job based on your wealth of travel experience. There is another side to being a tour leader, one that is not as exciting.... Based on my years of experience as a tour leader I thought I would present this other side by way of a “wish list” of points that I hope will give you, dear reader another version of what it is really like. So in no particular order here they are:


  1. I wish you wouldn't complain about your recent bout of travelers diarrhea, which is quite common and should not be compared to bubonic plague.

  2. I wish people would not ask me what I think of their purchase of a water buffalo ashtray/lamp/incense burner at the local market. And yes, you paid too much for it.

  3. I wish everyone would get along on the trip and not form up into armed camps looking to curry favor with me and rejoice in the mistakes or slip ups of the other side.

  4. I wish those who suffer from excessive snoring or flatulence or some other such condition would admit to it and not look to share a room with someone else on the trip. Have a heart and pay for the single supplement. Or at the very least admit to your condition on the registration form and forewarn us.

  5. I wish people would willingly share the seats on the bus and not rush out early each morning to throw a sweater or book on the front seat.

  6. I wish people would try new foods on a trip and not look at each dish served like it was completely inedible slop.

  7. I wish people would believe me when I say not to pet that stray dog on the street in Lima, Peru. It is not as cute as you may think.

  8. I wish (after a day of seeing some amazing things) that people would not rush off the bus making a beeline for the hotel computers to check their email.

  9. I wish those joining a group tour would treat it like a group tour and not their very own private trip. I promise I will stop the bus for a photo opportunity but please don't wander off for 20 minutes while the rest of us wait for you.

  10. I wish people would understand that meeting on the bus at 8:45am to depart at 9:00am means just that and not for you to stroll down to the lobby looking to buy a postcard at 9:25am. There is actually a reason why we are leaving when we do.

  11. I wish people would not ask us what every bush or rock we drive past is called. We really don't know and will only make up an answer.

  12. I wish those who wish to shop and those who are fundamentally against it could get along. We won't spend forever in that market and yes we will get to the museum.

  13. I wish those who ask me to assist them with something on the trip would try and keep it to a legal request. And if not, to trust me when I say that what happens in Burma, stays in Burma.

  14. I wish fellow travelers would not berate or argue with local people on the trip. They are really trying to do their best and not ruin your vacation. It gives all of us in the group a bad name.

  15. I wish there were more people who thanked us at the end of a long day. It can be quite stressful looking after a group of people as we cross crocodile-infested waters in a dugout canoe or trek up the side of a mountain in search of gorillas.

  16. I wish more people were like the client who sent me photos of our trip on hand-made cards with local items from the country attached as decoration (thanks CC!).

  17. I wish to keep visiting more exotic countries and sharing the beauty they offer with those who truly appreciate it.

  18. I wish my boss would send me out on another trip soon....

David Roth - March 01, 2011

"Love your wish list and on my upcoming ElderTrek to Classic Turkey in the spring I will attempt comply with those wishes!

Audrey Johnston

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