I am an inspired and motivated guide in a unique organization full of people always eager to keep moving forward with the belief that they are on their way to something magnificent and extraordinary. Being a part of such a team to me does not compare to anything else. It is something you’ve got to feel for yourself.
Well, I was at a point in my life when I seemed to have lost direction and I desperately needed a change. I couldn’t imagine anything better than meeting new people not only from Sofia, but from all over the world. Doing it as a volunteer adds even more value, especially if you are the type of person to whom money is just a means and not a final goal.
There was a lot of hard work: reading and getting ready for an exam as if this is school or university. This exam, though, has nothing to do with familiar exams. Like everything else in Free Sofia Tour, it is extraordinary and surely the word ‘exam’ is not very suitable, but I can’t think of any other to save my life.
Are these people crazy? They expect me to learn a hundred pages or so. I felt like I was embarrassing myself with strange games in front of unknown people. Well, later on I realized that this was an exercise designed to help me outgrow my fear of shouting in front of total strangers.
You have to go out there and show what you’ve got. After this I felt like a total failure. I got desperate and burst into tears when I saw the email telling me I wasn’t approved.
Sometimes when you try, you make a mistake but you get a second chance. So I embraced my second chance fiercely and this time I made it.
This was only the beginning. I started doing tours on a regular basis and it turned out a lot more frightening than I had expected (and believe me, I did expect it to be scary for me). So I went and did a tour. I felt it wasn’t good enough. Then I did another one but it still wasn’t good enough. I went for the third time and and since I believed in the lucky charm, this time I thought I would finally do it at least decently. Guess what? Once again, it wasn’t good enough. I started thinking this might simply not be my thing. Once again I wasn’t on the right path. I was already at the point of reconsidering my choice and questioning my abilities.
It happened to be the second birthday of the Free Sofia Tour. We gathered at our new working space, which was far from perfect back then, but it promised potential (you’d better check it out now, it’s superb!). Everyone shared stories from their tours, much like exchanging gifts but far more precious. The atmosphere was cozy as we sat in a little circle on the floor since there were no chairs yet (don’t worry, we’ve dealt with this already). That’s when I got the real inspiration, the feeling that I want to share my stories, the conviction that first I have to write my own stories. So I started doing it. The feeling of fear hadn’t totally vanished. At this point it was a mix between curiosity, passion, and gratitude for the given opportunity.
I improved with every single tour and I was giving more and more from myself and people started noticing. I saw happy faces, read letters of gratitude, received invitations to visit the tourists at their home places. All of this still keeps me inspired, motivated and alive. It gives me a reason to get up and do all the other boring stuff I have to do because I know that at the end of the week something special awaits me. It is unique and magical every single time. A story waiting to be revealed, a frowned face waiting to get smiley. A disappointed tourist waiting to be proven wrong. An adventure to be lived.
Thinking about all the people I have met, all the laughter we have shared, all the amazing events we have organized together. This makes me feel proud of myself. Being part of the Free Sofia Tour is an opportunity to develop your personal skills and to learn more, but also a chance to reflect on yourself. It is a dream come true, albeit none of those you expected to have. For me it is more than a job, more than a hobby. It is a way of life. It gave me a direction. I reconsidered my life path and now I am totally convinced I would like to be a tour guide for the rest of my life.
So, if you want to make wonders come true, make new and special friends, work with them in order to achieve something valuable, meet people from literally all over the world, come and join the Free Sofia Tour. It is a challenge not to be missed. If you need more convincing, come to one of our tours, one of our monthly Get Togethers, have a chat with the guides, have a chat with our tourists. You won`t regret it!
Special thanx to our lovely editor Stefan 😉