Tell us about your childhood travel experiences. How did it impact your adulthood?
I lived in the Seychelles when I was very young — this gave me an awareness of other languages and a burning desire to be able to speak them. I immediately made up my ‘own’ homemade foreign languages so desperate was I to communicate to others.
Other than tour manager, what is your profession?
I manage the Schools Programme at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
My work is based on education THROUGH art as well as Education ABOUT art. I create programmes that use art as a vehicle to raise questions and prompt discussion to help students learn about themselves, the world and their place within it. I think of art-making as a PROCESS that can help people discover more about society around them. It is about the journey — not the final product.
If you had to convince a parent to allow his or her child to travel on an ACIS tour, what would you say?
Travel opens your child’s mind to new ways of seeing the world. It inspires new possibilities in them. They come home different people ready to approach life at a new angle, more sensitive to others and ware of different world views. The cost of the travel is returned tenfold as you aren’t paying for the trip abroad, but you’re investing in them and starting them on a new journey — the journey of discovery that is their life.
What’s one thing you wish every young adult/student could experience while traveling?
The moment when you truly connect with someone new — when out of the confusion and sense of displacement you reach an understanding with a person from another culture — be this through language ability or mime. You suddenly have an understanding that we are all just trying to get through life and we have common goals — laughter and smile is an international language after all.
What’s your favorite foreign expression?
It’s very important to be able to say that everything is ok, so…vale in Spanish anddaccy dac in French.
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