They take your trip from brilliant to unforgettable. They are students, teachers, white-collar-workers, some reality-averse and many full time explorers. They are bar workers, your drinking pals, new best friends and second hand tour guides. They have grown up on the other side of the world and you’ve met them somewhere in the middle. You don’t necessarily speak the same language but you don’t really need to. You have nothing and everything in common; brought together by a passion for broader horizons that took precedence over all else when you said goodbye to your friends and family.
They’re the ones you meet along the way. The ones who spontaneously come into your life and inspire you, challenge you, motivate you. Your paths cross and they manage to shape or even change yours, whether you realise immediately or not.
We believe these people need to be celebrated and documented, so we’re introducing you to the ones we meet along the way… just in case they inspire you too.
THE 'TOUR-TAINER' IN IT FOR LOVE
OUR PATHS CROSSED: COPENHAGEN
Occupation: Tour Guide with Copenhagen Free Walking Tours
Nationality / Place of birth: Canadian / Winnipeg
Living in: Copenhagen
Countries visited: 43
Favourite place: Denmark (“Is that a trick question?”)
Travel highlight: Trekking with Gorillas in Rwanda
Next on bucket list: Tokyo, South Korea or perhaps even North Korea
If I wasn’t here I’d be in: Sydney
If I wasn’t a Tour Guide I’d be: Working for myself – not in an office!
Best piece of travel advice: Never say no
"I like to think of it as tour-tainment," Benjamin tells me, as he leads our group through the cobblestoned streets of Copenhagen, dodging tourists and bicycling locals along the way. "I want to give you all a show; something you can remember. It's such a beautiful city with so much history - so we may as well keep things interesting!"
And keep things interesting he does. In between basic Danish lessons and Princess Mary impersonations with the help of his bright green umbrella as a prop, the energetic Canadian manages to keep the 30-strong group of us engaged and laughing for the entire 3 hour duration of the tour, which is surely no easy feat. Benjamin is part of a company called Copenhagen Free Walking Tours and he is, by far, the most animated guide i've ever had the pleasure of encountering.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about him, though, is his extensive experience abroad. Benjamin has visited 43 countries and worked in a string of cafes and bars before finding his calling in the tourism industry. After obtaining a geography degree in his home town of Winnipeg, Canada, Benjamin moved to Australia. In Sydney, he met his future partner Matheus who, after their visas expired, relocated from Denmark to Winnipeg, "which is not a place you move to for nice holidays and sunshine... that was just love". A couple of years later, Benjamin thought it was only fair to return the favour and moved with Matheus to Copenhagen, where he has been living and impersonating princesses (amongst other things) for the past 5 years.
"I'm getting restless for another long trip soon," he tells me casually, as the group forms an orderly line to tip the brilliantly entertaining Copenhagen enthusiast. "Not quite sure where it will be yet... Leaning towards Tokyo, or perhaps even South or North Korea... We'll have to see".
If you're in Copenhagen and want a great-value dose of history while orientating yourself with the city, the free walking tours depart every day at 11am and 3pm from the steps of City Hall Square. Head to http://www.copenhagenfreewalkingtours.dk/ for more details and keep an eye out for a lively dark haired man named Benjamin waving a green umbrella around, for a tour you truly won't forget.