It must have to do with having a birthday. I ask myself, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life? What is your passion?”
And you know what? I’ve found the answer – it’s what I wanted to do way back when I was 18!
I don’t know when I first realized that I had the wanderlust bug. I know I told my fiance (now my husband of several decades) that I loved to travel. Maybe it was from the summer vacation after 1st grade when my mother, father, sister and I flew to Hawaii to visit cousins, the Polynesian Cultural Center and Pearl Harbor. Perhaps it bit me when I was 10 and my parents took an exotic trip (without me) through Central and South America. I remember seeing their slides: Machu Picchu, llamas, women in Panama hats and brightly woven embroidered blouses. Or was it our train trip from Mexicali to Mexico City in a stifling hot first class compartment with dysfunctional air conditioning and permanently closed windows.
Yes! Most definitely!!!
Oh, the stories I could tell! I was 13 and I still remember the tropical fruit plate I ordered for breakfast each morning at the Mexico City posada. One morning I exited the water closet to discover the waiter was waiting for me. Quickly planting a kiss on my lips he sighed a husky “Thank You”.
Living my junior year as an exchange student in Costa Rica confirmed my wanderlust.
After High School graduation I did the first-timer’s quickie European trip, plus a return trip to Costa Rica. By then I worked at a job only to satisfy my “itching feet.”
Years later my husband and I had just gotten home from a 3-month stay in South Korea when a Peace Corps want ad tempted me – but not my husband. We settled down, bought a house, had children and became practical. That’s not to say we didn’t vacation or travel. We did, but I always wanted more.
Over the last several years this “bug” has come out of remission. My eldest married and my youngest started college. We were empty-nesters. I took as my motto “It costs nothing to dream, and everything not to.” I subscribed to International Living magazine, and my Inbox overflowed daily with emails from Travelzoo, VacationsToGo, Frommers, Cruises-n-More, and others.
To see Italy was my dream vacation, and after saving for years and planning for 18 months, it became reality the year we celebrated our 50th birthdays. It was an awesome trip and the planning was at least half the fun, if not more.
What was in my husband’s words “a once in a lifetime trip” took place 11 months ago…but the wanderlust bug has bitten again.
I can’t survive with only ONE “once in a lifetime” trip.
This time I don’t have a job to fund the habit so I begin to think “outside the box” about living and working in Ecuador (or Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Italy, it really doesn’t matter where.) I explore travel writing, blogging, stock photo sales, buying international rental property, having a B&B (or a coffee and smoothie bar) and international house-sitting.
What can I do? What would I like to do? What is my passion? And, suddenly it dawns on me! It’s the same thing I wanted to do when I was 18. Be a Tour Director and get paid to travel the world!
Googling “How to become a Travel Guide” I found the following information: http://www.ehow.com/how_138394_become-tour-guide.html
I learned that there is actually a school for Tour Directing which isn’t very far from me in San Francisco and it only takes 15 days!!! Sounds do-able.
I’m scheduled to start November 28, 2011. International Tour Management Institute
I’m moving forward and am so excited about the possibilities!
This story continues here: Merrill Mixer, Tour Director