One thing that I came to understand early in my travelling career was something an older traveller said “you can only say you’ve been to a place when you’ve bought your second tube of toothpaste there”. So in this sense, through fortune or choice, few of us can get beyond the superficial, the must-sees and the beaten path, usually due to time, money and support available. This site is primarily aimed at those who have worked in the organisation ‘at the coal face’ of travel for others, so they have a unique perspective, rarely heard.
I have always been conscious of the “golden age” of travel being in the past, and I envy greatly the range of movement, notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers, and insight that 20th Century and earlier travellers were able to enjoy. Times have changed dramatically, even in my lifetime, and many people now travel under more or less controlled, not to say restricted circumstances.
Some places are packed like a strawberry jam sandwich attracting wasps, others now unreachable for a host of reasons, others deemed hostile by prejudice, ignorance or fear, some of which is entirely justified, some simply because as Tacitus said “everything unknown is magnified”.
So, for the avoidance of anything of consequence being ‘unknown’ Amateuremigrant.com advise you of the following conditions, strictly adhered to;
- There is nothing commercial about this site, nothing to flog, nothing to buy, all and any downloads are permitted, providing acknowledgement of the source is fairly and reasonably done
- We may ask for contact details, but we do not ever release sell or pass on any information about our visitors
- We may provide links to personal or business sites of contributors, dependent on the type of business. You don’t have to follow them.
- We are not in any way linked to any of the organisations featured on the site, viz.Greenpeace; Sightsavers; Wateraid; Ragged University; Wikipedia. This site makes no claim to represent them in any way except to declare and solicit support for them and to provide a link so visitors can see the marvellous work they do.
- We are at pains not to identify individuals, except contributors (unless exempted), other individuals (ditto), and companies. It’s the story that counts.
- Our aim is not to encourage unnecessary travel per se, but to encourage seeking insight, enjoyment, stretching yourself (and credibility), from wherever you might be landed long enough to know and tell something you’ve learned from it. I even did a short piece about a week in hospital !
Very few people undertake the ‘dream’ job of being a tour leader or guide, but those that do become remarkably skilled in defusing people’s fear of the unknown, of making arrangements in travel, accommodation, experiences, at times in very difficult circumstances. You must take into account the health, ability and disposition of many different characters who are paying your wages, and will be able to assess everything you do in a company questionnaire at the end of the trip.
More often than not, the tour leader is also working in an environment where they may only understand a small proportion of what is said to them ! The trick is to manage all these things without apparent effort, seamlessly evading problems before they arise, knowing when someone is at the limit of their patience or strength. Awareness is everything.
The site’s title, some may recognise as the name of a book by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. Tour leaders I think, are amateur emigrants, learning quickly how live and organise oneself in a new country, and to convey all its delights and pitfalls to the neophyte traveller.
But always knowing there will be another exciting contract for 3 or 6 months in the pipeline; next winter – who knows where ? So it is dedicated to that small community of Tour Leaders, usually working alone in far flung places rarely meeting with others who do the same work, and whose view of travel is a whole new perspective on the business of travel.
Finally, it is a bit of a vanity project in that I hope to give to my family and friends a record of what they may have never known about my other life. I would like them to be able to see things about places they may never be able to visit in their own lifetimes, and the value of coming to understand the worth of learning about other places, people and lives.
It is also a site where contributions are welcome from others who have a story to tell from this viewpoint.