The Silent Guide

@thesilentguide22 Followers
United KingdomJoined Feb 2021

Try something new - become a Silent Traveller...


Having spent 20 years as a Tour Manager/Guide, I become a ‘virtual’ tour guide during Covid. Initially, I focused on local destinations - giving a commentary on the sights to be seen. I live in a beautiful part of the world (Devon, England), yet it is less well-known than London, Paris, Barcelona etc, so fewer people booked my tours. In addition, despite good reviews, only 1 in 5 were leaving a tip (which often only covered my bus fare, and a bite to eat…). This in part, made me decide to experiment - to design something different, which would offer people not just a new destination, but also a new experience. It is also based on my own perceptions from working in tourism. Sometimes you can enjoy a place with less information/commentary (in the same way we might enjoy nature without knowing all the names of the trees/flowers). I have also worked with groups of differently-abled people, which taught me that we can experience and appreciate the world in a more nuanced and unconventional way - focusing on certain senses more than others. A tour guide leading a tour without relying on speaking may sound counter-intuitive, but while I believe you may lose out in some respects (especially if your expectations are to learn new facts and figures - in which case best avoid these tours), you will gain in others. As a Silent Tour Guide, the dynamic becomes one of showing, not telling. There is often more input from other people in the group chat, and the concentration on the visual really helps to immerse you, the viewer, in the overall experience by focusing your mind and engaging more of your imagination. We live in a world of information overload. If you want to find out a town’s population, history etc, you can just as easily google whatever is of interest to you later. These tours are not about stimulating the mind, but about relaxing it… They also reflect my personal (and our collective) experience of Covid: of having to wear face masks, restrict speech, limit socialising etc. While that was regarded as unpleasant it also encouraged me to spend more time in nature, enjoying simple pleasures, with less noise - in a way that became almost meditative. This is what I hope you will experience with these tours. While some people are able to sit cross-legged and meditate with their eyes closed each day, many of us may find that difficult. Yet I feel that being a Silent Traveller for half an hour can achieve a similar state of relaxation - while hopefully being a more pleasurable and comfortable experience. For me as the guide it is also a unique experience. It encourages me to look with new eyes at places I’m familiar with, in order to construct a visual story. I can’t see your faces/hear your voices, you can’t see/hear mine, yet in spite of this or perhaps because of it, we are very much connected with each other. The only sounds you will hear are natural - of the moment - nothing is said ‘for the camera’, so joining one of these tours will be a bit like visiting an open-air gallery. Some of what you see may be a bit of mystery as not everything is explained. I may show you some litter - possibly hinting we need to take more care of the environment when we visit places. But don’t worry there will be plenty of attractive images - I’ll try not to be too abstract..! 😁 I will still look forward to conventional tours as much as the rest of you, I simply hope to complement them by offering an alternative. I also hope that as well as enjoying these tours, they will also encourage you in everyday life to pause, reflect, and notice, more. Some of you may find it hard to adapt to being a Silent Traveller - however there is no obligation to stay/pay. But so far, the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive - so I hope you will give it a try…🙏