CT - Kim, tell us why you were interested in becoming a Tour Leader?
KC - I worked for 33 years for the federal government and after retirement, I found that I had too much energy to stay home. Although I was involved in volunteer work, I wanted a change from my last profession in order to widen my horizons and have fun! My background is social work and I have worked as a vocational counselor, parole officer, aboriginal justice project manager and I retired from the Dept. of National Defence where I had a large budget (45 M) to give out funds for infrastructure projects. I was always involved with organizing hotels etc. for my 2 daughters competitive basketball teams and I am a very outgoing person. I figured if I could handle teenagers, military folks and criminals, then I could certainly be able to deal with some lovely, eager to learn and excited-to-have-fun travellers! And I love to show others different areas and to help them delve into new adventures.
CT - What has prepared you for this role?
KC - I started to work for a local company in Ottawa (I did many tours to NY city, Spain and Portugal) and I decided to take a tour director/guide program in San Francisco at ITMI (International Tour Manager Institute). After taking this program, additional career opportunities started flowing in. I have done tours with Trafalgar, Collette, Grand Circle Travel and Gate 1 Travel. These tours have been all across Canada from coast to coast.
CT - What has been your favourite destination to date?
KC - That is a hard one to answer…I went to Vietnam for my hairdresser’s husbands brothers wedding (I didn’t know him before I went—yes I am adventurous!) I travelled for 6 weeks – all through Vietnam and Thailand. It was wonderful. I also went to India for 6 weeks to do volunteer work and had an amazing experience. Poland was also fantastic.
CT - What destinations are on your bucket list?
KC - One of my daughters has recently moved to Australia and I am looking forward to visiting her there. I would also like to go to New Zealand, Africa and wherever the wind blows me. My motto is that I will go anywhere, anytime!
CT - What are the 3 most rewarding aspects of the role for you?
KC I love to share traveller’s adventures with them and be part their wonderful vacation. I enjoy seeing new places and witness friendships blossom. I also like to be the problem solver (and there can be problems on the road!) I like to find solutions to fix an issue and have the confidence of my guests to feel that they are in good hands and well taken care of.
CT - What is the next tour to which you have been assigned?
KC - I will be leading the ‘Best of Ireland North and South’ tour in May 2018. This opportunity is a delight for me. My Mom’s maiden name was O’Leary, so I am of Irish heritage. I look forward to seeing where some of those ghosts from the family closet are lurking.
CT - What do you do when not travelling?
KC - When not travelling or planning my next adventure, I lead an active lifestyle. I teach skiing at a local ski resort, volunteer as an out reach worker with a wellness centre, scuba dive, and am a certified fitness trainer (although I just participate in the classes now). Of course trying to keep track of my 2 lovely daughters is always a challenge. Unfortunately, they are both living outside of Canada and we spend a lot of time skyping!
CT - Personal comments?
KC - I believe that you can learn something new from everyone you meet and every place you go. If you make a wrong turn, you are never lost; you’ve just turned a corner where a new adventure waits.