Becoming a tour guide with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta last summer was a hard challenge for me — completely different from doing my office corporate jobs, writing articles in a coffee shop, or Traveling at the Speed of Bike by myself! It required getting out there with strangers from all over the world for more than three hours at a time, and keeping them safe in ever-changing conditions while presenting tons of information with some semblance of cohesion, accuracy, and entertainment.
At first, I felt awkward and vulnerable (and, as an introvert*, it would take two solid days to recover), and every single tour required hours of additional research and study beforehand. I even re-rode the route about once a week by myself just to lock it into my brain and to experience as many variables as possible. Weeks went by sometimes when I couldn’t do tours (although I never missed my daily mental health rides) while my mom was experiencing an all-consuming illness, and then I’d have to start all over again to get ride-ready. Owner Robyn Elliott stuck with me throughout.
The rewards have been monumental:
- First of all, watching Robyn handle so many aspects of her business fearlessly and with grace and ease has been awe-inspiring.;
- Additionally, the other tour guides are some of the nicest, most interesting people with whom I’ve ever worked (and I’ve worked with some really special, fun people in my career who are friends of mine to this day);
- Next, our guests teach me something new every single tour about the world, and about humanity;
- Plus, I’m a better bike skills educator as a result of these tours as I can see what little tips are truly helpful to a wide range of people in diverse circumstances;
- Of course, the earnings from this part-time gig make seeing our daughters in their far-away lands a little easier on the wallet;
- And I get to fall in love with Atlanta again and again and again.
I don’t know how long I will be able to do this, or when the world will once again call me elsewhere. But these reviews help validate the choice I made to take this chance. With our new tour, the Sustainability-in-Action Bike Tour, I hope I can meet even more people from around the world and bring additional value where the rubber-hits-the-road.
As always, I trust the journey.
* which does not mean shy, as those of who who know me know. It just means I recharge when I’m alone.