Walking the world and taking other people with me has given me an amazing lifestyle and a good part of my livelihood. When you live—or travel extensively—in a foreign country you get to know the places to go, the people to meet, and you make connections. And other folks will pay you to simply show them what you know.
When I travel, my costs are included in my clients’ tour fees—which range from around $4,000-$6,900 depending on the tour and the level of accommodation. There are eight people in the group and I take around seven or eight trips a year. If I were looking for more profit, I could increase the number of people to 12 and double the number of trips. The potential certainly exists. But I have other income streams and I like the pace I work at.
I always felt that a real connection and understanding were more important than a “five countries in four days” or “this is Tuesday—it must be Rome” attitude to travel. So I sought out small operators or organized my own tours that focused on an area of a country we could walk in and experience the culture at the local level. Scents, flavors, colors, and the cadence of a language are accessible only at this pace. As more and more people yearn to slow down and smell the roses, those of us who live overseas are in a perfect position to introduce this lifestyle to visitors or newcomers.
On my first organized walking trip, I led five highly-diverse couples on a trip in Andalusia, Spain. We found our way across the mountains and stumbled into pre-arranged accommodation (well mostly). It was long before the advent of the Internet. But the mail system, the language, and my Fodor’s Spain on $25/day got us habitacion(es), helados, cerveza, and vino. By the end of the trip, nine of the 10 people were asking, “Where are we going next, Miss Susan?”
Next was a walking trip in Italy, 15 days from Volterra to Florence.
As word got out on how much fun we were having, people far removed from family and friends wanted to come.
I have now walked in over 40 countries and all seven continents. Terry and I have homes in Ecuador and Brazil, as well as Canada. Our travels have given us investment opportunities in Brazil and relaxed lifestyle in Ecuador—2 acres of avocados, citrus, flowers, and tranquility.
As our Canadian commitments wind down, we plan on spending more time in our garden in Ecuador, eating fabulous fresh food and sipping wine.
I will continue to do destination tours to magical Peru and charming Colombia. As the saying goes, when you walk in someone else’s world (if not their shoes) there is a connection and awareness that simply cannot be duplicated through the window of a tour bus.
In the current issue of Incomes Abroad, Susan tells you more about her journey to become an entrepreneur…and gives you her tips for stating a walking tour business—like the two basic but essential components it takes to lead a successful walking tour…and where to find a current gap in the market…
To read her article in full, check out Incomes Abroad today.
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