Erwin was born in the south of the Netherlands and is now living in Toulouse. He has tour led for over 10 years full time and is now teaching at a School of Tourism. The school closes for four months every year - ideal for getting some travelling done!
Q: How did you fall into tour leading?
A: After my university degree in history, I told my parents I was going to do a summer job for a couple of months in France. It turned out I liked tourism and working abroad, so after being a site manager on a couple of 5-star campsites, I was given the opportunity to become a tour leader. That was in 2008 and my parents are still waiting for me to come home...
Q: What do you like most about tour leading?
A: Everything! Travelling, discovering new cultures and food, meeting new people along the way, fresh air and new perspectives.
Q: Where is your favourite part of the world?
A: History is still one of my biggest interests, and because of the continuous interaction of cultures, ‘my favourite part’ extends from Central Asia, through the Middle East into the Maghreb.
Q: What was your biggest travel highlight?
A: Difficult question - so many great moments to choose from, but maybe discovering a complete amphitheatre in Algeria - made me feel like Indiana Jones for a while!
Q: What’s the craziest request you’ve ever had from a client?
A: I will never forget being asked if it would be possible to stop at a supermarket to buy some peanuts. We were in the Southern Gobi in Mongolia and I had to tell this person that the next sign of civilisation was a cluster of houses that was three days away, and sometimes the little shop was open there, and maybe it sold peanuts, but I would be very happy to stop once we got there. Three days later we stopped, and they sold peanuts!
Q: What’s the one thing you couldn’t travel without?
A: Something to read!
Q: Which famous person would you most like to travel with?
A: Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones).
Q: Have you ever made a cultural faux pas?