Hello there, welcome to my website. On this page I will tell you something about me and how I became a tourguide.
I was born in Nijmegen, the oldest town and for me the most beautiful town in the Netherlands. Being a child of a Dutch mother and an Italian father I was fortunate to spend my holidays far away from my hometown. We went to Sardegna almost every year (one of the bigger isles of Italy) where we visited my family. This has always been a great adventure. In those early days it took us almost three days to get there, by train, car and boat. Nowadays you can get there in three hours by plane. These trips and holidays have created my interest in traveling and my curiosity to explore new places. When I was a child I already wanted to be an explorer, always on the move to discover new and exotic places. I’ve had, and still have, a great love for maps and I can spend hours watching and studying them. I have never been lost and I probably never will.
When I grew up reality hit me. My life took another path and although I didn’t become an explorer, there was still the urge to travel to other places, see beautiful things and discover other cultures. I really like to get to know people from other places and to enjoy myself being around them. So I was always looking for a new adventure. Most of the time I organized trips for my family, friends or as a volunteer for organizations. One of my first big tours was a trip by bicycle with a friend, we travelled from my hometown to Spain. This trip took place in 1985 and there was no internet, mobile phone, open borders or special routes for bicycles at the time. We had to pay with four different kinds of currency and we had to speak three different languages. We were just two friends on their bicycles with a little tent and strong legs to paddle. It became a great adventure and it was everything I was always looking for.
I have always been a person who takes a leading role and who is always full of new ideas. Also I am a hands on person and I like to get things done. These qualities have made me to who I am now, a tourguide. Although I started my professional career as a tourguide in 2017, I can say that I have been a non-professional tourguide for a very long time. I have studied to become a tourguide, but this certificate doesn’t make you a tourguide right away. A lot of the qualities you need to practise this profession you learn in your daily life. It forms you and builds your character. Qualities as being friendly, open minded, flexible, helpful and curious. But also having a lot of knowledge and being a natural leader. I dare to say I’m experienced but I’m also still learning. It keeps me sharp and innovative.
You can find my experiences on this webpage. If you would like to know more about me, join me on one of my tours, send me an email or give me a phonecall so we can have a nice conversation.
Ciao ciao, Wim
My experiences through the years
I have been working as a professional tourguide since 2017, so I’m dividing my experiences in two sections: my experiences before 1-1-2017 and after 1-1-2017. You can see where I’ve been and which tours I’ve guided on my timeline, you can also find links to albums with photos and sometimes videos of these tours.
My experiences before 1-1-2017
My experiences from before 2017 are experiences from private holidays and tours I’ve organized for others. Especially the tours I’ve organized enhanced my qualities the most. I’m convinced that practicing in real life is the best way to learn. Make a program, carry out that program and evaluate the outcome. Three steps which all need their own approach. Learn from every time you do this and it will become easier the next time.
As a young boy I was a volunteer in our youth community-house. We were stimulated to set up all kind of activities we could think of. Games, tournaments, parties, this and many more things youngsters like to do. One of these things was organizing youth-camps. So at first I started as a help but very soon I was part of the organisation. This development made me organize several trips for myself and others very soon. And now I can say I’ve organized all kinds of trips, from a 4-day city-tour to a complete family-holiday. How many trips I’ve organized I don’t know, I’ve never counted them but I think at least 50 or 60. On my “Map” you can see where I’ve been in all these years. These are hiking trips, biking trips, youth-camps, sport-related trips, city-trips and family-holidays. So I gained a lot of experience doing this. At this time I had never thought about becoming a tourguide, I did these things because I liked it and because people asked me to do it. They knew it would all be well organized.
For me it was a hobby besides my normal job. I’ve been a social worker in a youth-community, a manager at McDonald’s and a tiler with my own company. In total almost 30 years of completely different jobs with different qualities needed. I’ve also been a volunteer at my sports club for more than 30 years, being a trainer, leader, referee, president of the youth-department and a member of the council. A lot of different tasks which all require a lot of different skills. All of this developed my skills and are now part of the qualities I need for being a tourguide. I could never have been a professional tourguide in this period, having a family with young children. It never crossed my mind until a few years ago. It was time for me to make a switch and I was thinking of maybe becoming a teacher. Until it hit me one day, why won’t I become a tourguide? Why won’t I make a profession out of my hobby? And so I did. I’ve done some research and I discovered there were plenty of possibilities. So I started a study at IVOR, a special education-centre for tourguiding, and completed this with success in the beginning of 2017.
After I finished my studies to become a professional tourguide in the beginning of 2017, I could immediately start working as a tourguide. I had contacted different touroperators and they offered me several tours to guide. My first official tour was for HAT Tours, a so called “Tulpentour”. These are short tours (4 or 5 days), where guests have their accommodation on a barge and make a bicycle trip with a guide every day. They are called “Tulpentour” because it takes place in a period when the flowerfields in the Netherlands are full with flowers, mostly tulips of course. The guests came from different countries around the world and my task as a guide was to show them around and make sure that everything goes well. During the day we cycled through the countryside, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and visiting interesting places. For instance we visited a windmill, a cheesefarm and the Keukenhof (a big flowerpark). In the evening we would do things like a citywalk or a tasting experience.
My first tour went perfect and it was immediately clear I had made the right choice. In that year I guided in total 13 tours in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and France. These were tours with activities as biking and hiking. I like to guide these kinds of tours, so I prefer doing active tours. Most tours take 1 or 2 weeks, but 1 of the tours I guided was a long distance tour which took 6 weeks. At this tour some other qualities were more needed than with the shorter tours. There was a different group dynamic which required a different approach. But I like challenges.
In the following years new tours were offered to me and my agenda was filled in no time. A good sign because that meant that I was appreciated in the way I was doing my job. For me it never feels like a job and maybe that is the secret of performing well. My guests always ask me what my favourite tour is, but there isn’t one. For me every tour has something special, it is always nice to meet new people and hear new stories. Every place has its own charm, you just have to look at the right place. Even as a tourguide you can still enjoy these places, although you have visited them many times.
For the years to come I hope I will be doing a lot of tours. Tours I’ve done before and new tours. As said before, I prefer active tours but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do other sort of tours. I’m always interested in new projects and new places. The main qualities are getting along with people and being in control, everything else you can learn.
We will see what the future brings me, I’m ready for it.
We all have dreams and they can lead to an ambition. One of my dreams is to immigrate to Italy, to the Isle of Sardegna. This is where my roots are and it is a very beautiful place. A great climate, wonderful nature, not so crowded and lots of possibilities. So since a few years we (my partner and I) are investigating and preparing this plan and the day this will happen is not far away anymore. Our plan is to start a Bed & Breakfast. This will give us a connection with the rest of the world and hopefully keep us in a good shape for the years to come. After having established this, I can start with fulfilling my ambition of creating my own tour-organisation. It will be an organisation organizing tours with possibilities to bike, hike or do other activities, or just relax for a day. I would like to combine this with great local food experiences, telling stories about history and traditions. I know this isle very well since I’ve been there many times and all around. I’ve learned in my life that things will happen when the time is right. You just keep searching and looking for chances and in the end it will all come together. You will have to work on it, day by day. So for me it is not only a dream anymore, it is past ambition, it’s at the point that it’s only a matter of time that it is going to happen. At this moment I have a job which doesn’t feel like a job for me. I’m a tourguide and it is a wonderful thing to do. Of course I’ve to earn some money to make a living and to fulfil my dreams, I don’t know if there will be a new ambition after I’ve reached this one. There probably will be and that is ok. For now my goal is set and who knows you will be one of my guests in Sardegna one day, riding or hiking along with me on a sunny day and having the time of your life!
See you then!