Hi, I’m John, and welcome to the Walks 101 blog. In future blogs we’ll be sharing our favourite parts of Melbourne, of Australia, of travel and of things that interest us.
Today, I want to start with an introduction to Walks 101.
I’ve been a tour guide for 7 years. With that much guiding under my belt, I’ve gathered my fair share of guiding stories. One summer I carried a group of ladies to safety after flash floods enveloped Venice’s San Marco Square. The year before I led a fleet of RVs down Route 66 in the USA. I’ve managed a Croatian yacht flotilla in rough seas. I’ve even guided groups in lederhosen at Munich’s Oktoberfest.
It’s been a great time, but there is one uncomfortable commonality between all these experiences — they cost my clients a lot of money.
When I followed my Aussie fiancé to Australia, I knew I wanted to do something different. I started Walks 101 to be a walking tour company made for everybody. My favourite experiences as a guide are when I start a dialogue amongst people with hugely different backgrounds. I love giving tours where business travellers and backpackers get to know one another. Lucky for me, I got what I wished for.
The company I started launched the Melbourne Free Walking Tour in 2017, and we welcomed 2,000 people to the city we love within the first three months. In one recent week, I personally guided a couple of American business travellers here for a conference, a German busker who brought his ukulele, an Iranian doctor here to study, and a family with young kids on the same tour.
You might think the diverse backgrounds would make for a difficult tour, but you’d be wrong. We all share a common interest in travel, and we all share a desire to know this city in a deeper way. At the end of the tour, I took the group for a pint at my favourite pub in the city. We sat down and shared stories of our past travels and future plans. It was yet another of what have been many happy memories with Walks 101.