What if someone offered you a tour that " will change your life?"
I know what you are thinking. That's ridiculous! What is this guy thinking? How can a tour change your life?
Well, I once accepted a tour that absolutely did change my life and I can tell you that with 100% certainty.
Now of course you are wondering what kind of a tour could that possibly be that changed this fellow's life? Did he travel to meditate in a monastery in Bhutan? Did he scale the highest peaks of the Himalayas? Did he travel the entire length of the Asian Continent by foot? Did he spend a month roughing it in the African bush? Did he ride the entire length of New York City's A train? Did he circumnavigate the globe? etc. etc.
Well it certainly was a unique tour as far as I was concerned and it did change my life. It is a tour I took roughly 3 years ago. It required a great deal of training, preparation and encouragement from my family and closest friends. At first I was also uncertain about the results that could be achieved.
My Dad spent a great deal of time helping me in my preparations. It was one of the last things he did before he passed away following a tragic accident. His knowledge and common interests were invaluable in my preparations. I also did a great deal of reading and training in the field. It was the middle of the summer so it was very hot, humid and not very comfortable. Thankfully, during the course of my life I developed many skills that helped me with this tour. And it sure paid off in the end.
Now you will ask me to share with you the exact nature of this tour that changed my life. And if it is not already obvious, I will tell you now. It was the very first private walking tour I performed on the Streets of Hong Kong!
The day I learned that I finally had my first tour booking (following two months of waiting), one of the first people to hear about it was my Dad. He was literally brought to tears because neither of us was 100% sure if it would ever happen. Well thanks to a referral from my good friend and fellow tour guide Jamie Lloyd it certainly did happen.
A few days later my Dad had his accident on Labor Day and within the next 24 hours he was gone. I had to decide between cancelling my first tour or missing my Dad's funeral the following Monday. After thinking long and hard, consulting with my family and my friend Jamie, I decided to stay in Hong Kong and do the tour (which turned out to be a two day tour) because, I concluded, my Dad wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Well I mustered every inch of positive thinking as my Mom would say and proceeded with the tour as originally planned. My client Mary was a brave and lovely American lady had recently been widowed and set about adventuring the globe with her camera as her primary travel partner. My kind of lady! As a matter of fairness, I met with her the day before the first tour and explained what I was doing and why. I assured her I was in a very positive frame of mind and she was 100% supportive!
Needless to say, I put 1000% of effort into those two days and we both had a terrific time! Quietly, I thought of that tour as my simple way of honoring my Dad.
Now then, thinking back, that tour certainly did change my life! in Japan, there is an expression called "ikigai". Roughly translated, it means one's reason for getting up in the morning. Much has been written about the positive effects of ikigai. There are many who believe that finding one's ikigai is one of the secrets to living a long and healthy life. In my case that remains to be seen. But during the three years following that first tour I can tell you with 100% certainty that I now know that my ikigai is being a private tour guide. And it just keeps getting better and better!
My wife Esther says I am the luckiest man in the world, why?: "you get up in the morning to go and meet new people which you love doing, you get to share everything you have learned and show people beautiful things which you love doing, you walk around in the fresh air getting exercise all day long which you also love doing, you take lots of photographs which you really love doing, you reinvented yourself from being a lawyer and you get paid doing so to boot. Who else gets to do all that?" Not many I am sure. And I certainly do feel like the luckiest man in the world.
And yes, that first tour certainly did change my life!
So William, is it possible that your tour will change my life you may ask.
It certainly is possible and in my own modest way I certainly hope it will. Perhaps not dramatically, but I am sure what I have to offer all of my clients is something much more than a simple Hong Kong highlight tour and a bucket full of "hidden gems from off the beaten path." Trust me, if you want to be in this business at the level of the game I am playing in, that is simply the price of entry. If you want to even think about being a premium private tour guide you had better be able to do that blindfolded.
But, in a manner of speaking I certainly do offer hidden gems. However, the gems I offer come from off the beaten path of life. And if you take a look at the path of my life, you will surmise that there were plenty of hidden gems I discovered along the way. And I am happy to share as many of those as possible during our time together on tour.
Now, I have a confession to make. In addition to history, culture and photography, I also love to write. And as you can see from this dispatch, I have decided to indulge my right brain lobe this morning by freely doing so. So until my next dispatch, I would like to leave you with the following quote by Bruce Barton, one of the principal founders of the famous advertising agency BBDO. Think of this quote when you decide who you want to be your guide:
"Here is an important distinction that many people overlook:
"God made the world but he does not make your world.
"He provides the raw materials, and out of them every man selects what he wants and builds an individual world for himself.
"The fool looks over the wealth of material provided, and selects a few plates of ham and eggs, a few pairs of trousers, a few dollar bills and is satisfied.
"The wise man builds his world out of wonderful sunsets, and thrilling experiences, and the song of the stars, and romance and miracles.
"Nothing wonderful ever happens in the life of a fool--an electric light is simply an electric light; a telephone is only a telephone--nothing unusual at all.
"But the wise man never ceases to wonder how a tiny speck of seed, apparently dead and buried, can produce a beautiful yellow flower. He never lifts a telephone receiver or switches on an electric light without a certain feeling of awe."
---Bruce Barton, More Power to You (1917)
Don't you just love that quote? I certainly do!
Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong or Macau!
End of Dispatch
ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS
I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.
I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.
Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.
Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.
My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.
I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.
You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.
VIEWS FROM THE STREETS OF HONG KONG