Growing up in Sorrento, Italy led Carmine to open a private tour company. Carmine’s life has been touched by the abundance of wonderful things that Italy has to offer – the breathtaking views, the delicious food, and the loving people. The most exciting part of meeting visitors from around the world is that he gets to learn about their culture and homelands. This alone has encouraged Carmine to learn several languages and travel extensively throughout Italy. Carmine offers his clients a very personal experience while visiting Italy, and one that will create special memories. Whether it is a private tour of a local winery, a private cooking class, or maybe just a visit to a fishing village off the beaten path. Italy’s love affair with food and wine is one that Carmine continually shares with clients. His passion for cars and driving makes every ride on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast more enjoyable each time, it is a drive that never grows old and hopes his clients will remember forever. All in all, Carmine will make his Italy – your Italy!
Colin knows all areas of Scotland very well and takes great pride in showing visitors the natural and built beauty of Scotland. He has lived in both France and Portugal and it was whilst working as a teaching assistant in Portugal and guiding part time in port wine cellars that he realized guiding was his calling. Upon return from Portugal to Scotland he started working with a Highland tour company as a driver-guide, doing day trips to various locations across Scotland. Colin is a Scottish Tourist Guides Association Blue Badge and guides all over Scotland in English, French and Portuguese. No two days are the same in this job. One day he could be exploring the secrets of Edinburgh Castle, the next day hiking to the top of Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain, or sampling some locally caught seafood in Oban, Scotland’s seafood capital. Whether you want to visit the main sites on Scotland’s tourist trail, experience the lesser-known spots or have a mix of the two, Colin can show you the way.
Why start at the beginning when what’s ahead is so fantastic? So, here I am – an honest to God, tour guide. Not the one with the clipboard and name tag that says “HI, My name is Gerard”, but one who is freshly retired from a lifelong career of public service in the Irish police force. One who spent years solving crime, yes, some involved neighbors sheep wandering on fields where they didn’t belong! But it took me to every corner of Ireland, sometimes merely because I found myself lost on yet another winding road. And so, what do I do when other Irishmen may turn in their badges for a life of leisure? Why yes, brilliant idea, start guiding visitors all over my beloved Ireland. For your adventure, Ireland will also be yours. I have chosen to guide YOU…yes, YOU…the dreamer of the rolling, green hills, YOU…the dreamer of a pint of the black stuff in a local pub, bellied up to the bar across from a barkeeper so ridiculously difficult to understand you decide to just smile, nod and ask that he keep pouring. YOU…the dreamer of castles and rock walls and cliff’s edges so magnificent it just may beckon you to make a big change for yourself. But enough about YOU…who am I?? The moment you set foot in Ireland, I am your dedicated tour guide. And don’t worry, those winding roads no longer induce head scratching and unexpected u-turns. You are safe with me…remember, I was no Barney Fife, I was merely most at home exploring, by bicycle and on foot. At home with a camera in my hand and no agenda, capturing those errant sheep on film for posterity rather than for a local farmer. But ignoring my excellent sense of direction for a moment, I am a firstly a “Kerryman”…and if you don’t know what a Kerryman is, you will soon find out as you will meet many of us on your tour. Until then, we’ll start with this particular Kerryman and yes, I love my homeland. Not just its beauty, but its people, its color, its heartbeat. Author John B. Keane, himself a Kerryman, said “We tend to digress, but we do so with a purpose. T o a Kerryman, life without digressions is like a thoroughfare without side streets.” No truer words have been spoken. Not to worry, we won’t get lost on the Irish roads, but you just might smile because, like the barkeeper, initially you can’t understand many words we Kerrymen utter. Oh you’ll smile at me as if you understand every word as I gesture off in a particular direction of sheer beauty. And you’ll know whatever it was I said was some nugget of wisdom or history passed down from generations of Kerrymen before me. You’ll be nodding, hoping to have caught just enough of the gist so you can check your tour book later at the hotel. But please, please don’t waste a moment of these precious tour days with your nose buried in your tour book. On tour during the day, you might miss a word or two, but your eyes need only follow where I lead, your eyes will tell all you need to know. County Kerry and spectacular Ireland will do the talking. And in the evening, when your legs ache from the hills we’ve climbed and your cheeks sting from the chilly, Atlantic winds- it is then I might tell a tale through song and my guitar. Make no mistake, these words I think you’ll understand. They may be the words of others, of great story-tellers, honorary “Kerrymen” to me. Men who, like me, appreciate all that life has to offer. Winding roads, unexpected u-turns and all. And it will be then, at the moment when my guitar is doing the talking, and your toes are doing the tapping, that this “Kerryman” will be most at home. Who knows, maybe it will be then that you will also feel you’ve been called home. If so, I’ll be sure to put in a good word for you with the Cops.
Following Heather’s careers as an archaeologist, orchestra and artist manager and chef, Heather came to Lucca to pursue her passion for traditional artisan food. She discovered a universe of intense new flavours and set out to find the electronically invisible people who produce them. Everyone said that no one makes cheese like granny did with the milk of her own flock, but Heather found several stalwart women who do just that every single day of their lives. Not only that but the family grows primitive wheat and potatoes, they keep bees and sell their honey, they make wine and liqueur and run the village shop. If you search for them, you find many families who are proudly keeping food traditions alive. Each path leads to two more and at the end of each there is a weaver or a salami maker or an exquisite Romanesque church, and another path. Often it’s hard to understand how something is made unless you do it yourself. These generous artisans turn out to be enthusiastic teachers of how to make cheese or pick olives or make sausages or bread. Heather’s tours, inspired by her infectious curiosity, open these captivating new worlds to her guests.
A family trip to Europe for her 17th birthday left a lasting impression on Jennifer, whose passion for art, history, food and adventure has led to a new life in Paris. Six years ago she decided to live in Paris for a year in order to discover more of the French language, culture, cuisine and all that Paris has to offer. Today, Jennifer is still wearing her beret and has been showing off Paris to American friends and clients ever since. Rambling through Paris districts, finding new places off the tourist path, and discovering interesting boutiques is her passion. There is so much to do in Paris yet most visitors don’t know the secrets of the city. Whether it’s your first trip to Paris or your fifth, Jennifer will show you a side of the City of Light you’ve never seen before. Jennifer specializes in private tours with small groups where everyone can be part of the Parisien experience.
My name is Moha and I am Berber. My parents were nomads and I was the first born — in a tent. Two years later they moved into a small house where we lived with my 7 other brothers and sisters. Even today transportation is by donkey, horse, camel, and sometimes by car or truck. Morocco is my land. When you come to my Morocco, I will not only show you the diversity of landscapes and religions, but through our journey we will explore the oasis — discover it’s purpose and planning, we will talk of history, politics and I will show you the people–the real people of Morocco. You will know them by their rugs, by their clothing, by their crafts, and by their food. I will take you off the highways and into the heartland and you will see, hear, taste and smell the differences. We will compare and contrast each element. From the lush green in the north, through the mid and high Atlas mountains, to the deserts, medinas and seaside. From the modern to the primitive. I will show you the Morocco of the 21st century and of the 1st century. I will show you that some things have changed much and some things have changed not at all. In the end I will take you from the places on postcards to places where a camera is useless and the only real image is the one embedded in your memory The diversity is what makes the strength of my home land. It is a country where you can touch the snow in the Atlas Mountains after breakfast and ride a camel in the Saharan sand before lunch in the day. The art deco cities offer the best “Nus-Nus” and 5 min walk farther you can enjoy a tasty mint tea in the crowded medieval “medinas”. You can surf on the Atlantic coast as you can swim in the gentle Mediterranean waters. It is the country where any traveller’s dream could come true.
Steve combines the best of business practices and historic appreciation, with a dedication to personal service, to ensure his clients have the best possible historic experience. Steve knew that he was a natural tour guide when in Germany a few years ago he was asked, in French, how to find a particular museum. He is a natural communicator and passionate about all things historical. He believes that history is the art of the visual and not just about pouring over dusty old textbooks. Although his first love is the Tudor period, he has taken visitors around hidden parts of London exploring the characters and life of Charles Dickens, walked with them down the forest tracks to Pooh Bridge and the Heffalump trap and fought heroic battles with Nelson and Wellington. Steve’s wife, Laura, works alongside him on all aspects of their family owned and independent business. Laura’s interests lie more in the architectural and social history field. Laura is fascinated by how buildings in England have evolved over the years and tracing the lives of its inhabitants through the secrets hidden in roof lines and altered windows. She sometimes joins the tours in the evening but can usually be found in the office ensuring that the systems run smoothly so you can enjoy your holiday. Laura has a Masters in Business Administration from Brighton University. Their company launched on the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s coronation and Steve’s 55th birthday. Prior to this, Steve and Laura were involved in organizing not for profit tours. Their largest assignment was a reciprocal music exchange with a high school marching band from Atlanta with 200 students, teachers and parents from the USA and 150 students and adults from the UK. It was akin to moving two armies with all the tubas, cellos and other equipment and lasting friendships, plus a marriage resulted from these visits. They hope that by joining others on their tours you too will make lasting friendships and have many happy memories of your time in England.
One of South East Asia’s most experienced guides, Tommy started his travel business because of a passion that began at an early age. He has traveled South East Asia extensively, extending his knowledge of ideal holiday destinations to his clients even further. Tommy specializes in distinctive individual and small group trips and journeys to South East Asia. His tours feature expert local guides, and itineraries are crafted around a traveler’s interest. Tommy knows the importance of first-hand experience in all aspects of travel, which encourages many clients to return to South East Asia again and again. He takes great pride in selling a great experience instead of suelling vacations. What better way to get to know the area than by learning from a local.
While visiting Barcelona on a high school trip to Spain, Emmita had a gut feeling that she would be back someday. Everything about the city – the food, the distinctive architecture and art, the culture, the languages, the easy access to nature, both the mountains and the sea – was captivating. After graduating from college with a degree in Landscape Architecture, she followed her intuition and moved to Barcelona. Exploring Barcelona’s neighborhoods and Catalonia’s small towns and natural parks on foot and by bike is one of her favorite pastimes. She’s always looking for off the beaten path restaurants, shops and experiences, and she delights in sharing her knowledge with visitors. With her background in urban design and landscape architecture as well as a keen interest in local cuisine, culture and history, Emmita offers tours that provide unique perspective and help visitors better understand the city of Barcelona and the surrounding region.
I think what I bring to Freedom Travel that makes me a better specialist is my curiosity and thirst for knowledge and information. I am a meticulous researcher/planner, and historian by education, and look for ‘the little things’ that will help make a client’s trip very special. I’m always looking for the ‘off the beaten path’ sights and activities, a new way to view a popular destination or something that will give a client a different perspective than they might get from a typical tour.
My big passion is ‘big cities’ and finding ways to explore them that most typical tours never do. My favorites are LondonLondon and Paris because they have so many obvious sites that it’s easy to miss the real beauty and energy of these cities that lies beyond the obvious. It’s always a challenge to blend the typical visitor attractions with the ‘off the beaten path’ activities and create something really special for clients that meets or exceeds their expectations.
I also have a passion for creating tours that enable clients to get familiar with a particular city so that they feel at home very quickly. I love walking and using public transportation (tube, metro, etc.) and often challenge myself not to take cabs unless there’s no other way to get somewhere. In this way, I really get to know a city and feel right at home quickly. As a solo traveler, I’ve had to do this so often for myself that I can now do it anywhere in the world for anyone.
Finally, I am a nut for tennis, yoga, horseback riding and cooking, and will often incorporate some aspect of these into my travel.
Born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia (during war times), my family was forced to leave our hometown, and we were living with family friends in Sicily. At the age of 6, I had then my first contact with the Italian language, and I fell in love with it. I soaked it up like a sponge, and in a very short period of time, learned to speak very well. Today, I believe this to be the reason why learning languages has become my great passion.
After a year of life in Italy, I came back to Dubrovnik, where I finished elementary and high school. Afterwards, I went to pursue my dream into the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, where I got my degree as a professor of Italian and French language and literature. As one thing led to another, my love for foreign languages had led me to become a guide, and later on, a travel agent to travel passionately and discover new cultures which I adored, but every time I went away, I came back missing home, which I had been taking for granted, and so, I learned to appreciate its’ beauties as one of the most beautiful and unspoiled Mediterranean destinations and decided I want to show everyone how its’ beauty!
You will find everything here: crystal clear waters, hidden coves puerfumed by salt, surrounding pine trees on its’ coast, mountains and rivers forming lakes and waterfalls in a central enchanted fairytale land, fertile plains, and typical central European towns on its’ north and east. This is a country of long long history, and you will find traces of it on every footstep: Greek and Romain ruins, palaces, Colosseums, middle age towns and fortresses, and modern time wonders of architecture. As grand amateurs of wine, we do cultivate our wine culture so, in Croatia, a meal without wine is unevitable, and their meals are really important to us: we cook with organic ingredients as it is said, but indeed, it’s our grandparents that work their land and feed us with the fruits of their hard work.
Sounds like a small paradise? It is indeed, and I do hope you will come and see for yourselves what i’m talking about!
Tips & Tidbits
What is your favorite travel tip?
Look and act like a local whenever you travel. Learn a few phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting and use them – the locals will appreciate it even if your pronunciation is off.
What is your favorite place? And the “not-to-miss” thing to do there?
WOW – this is so hard for me because I have so many favorites. In London – don’t miss an evening concert at St. Martin in the Fields Church. In Paris – don’t miss an early, before 8 am, stroll along the banks of the Seine ending under the Eiffel Tower before it opens. In Sydney – don’t miss the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple at Wollongong. In Melbourne – be sure to follow the Golden Mile Heritage Trail for spectacular architecture. I could go on and on about things not to miss in all these places and more but I promised to keep this short! Besides, travel is about finding your own ‘not-to-miss’ thing to do!
What is your favorite travel reference?
I’m a born researcher and I will use all kinds of information sources to discover something new and different. While I use the Internet (websites, blogs, etc.) a great deal for research, I’m an avid reader of all kinds of books and magazines and will use many different reading materials to find interesting information on destinations. I’m also a big movie buff and if I see some place in a movie that’s interesting, I’ll do the research to find that little known locale used as a backdrop and incorporate it into my planning. I also watch travel and historical programs on TV and will note locales and interesting attractions/activities from these.