Tour Director School in San Francisco

Today is my first day back in Cincinnati from the two-week ITMI class I took in San Francisco, to become a Tour Director.  I go into more detail about what a Tour Director does in my other post entitled “What Makes Me Come Alive“.  I met a lot of very nice and very interesting people.  There were 27 of us taking the course ranging in age from 23 to 60 something.  We had class every day (no time off) and had quite a bit of homework.

For me the hardest part was the public speaking.  You’ve probably heard that there are more people afraid of public speaking than of dying.  We spoke a total of about 5-6 times ranging from a couple of minutes to 5-6 minutes each time.  We weren’t allowed to use notes, so it was difficult.  One of my topics was Black Americans in California.  We were on a motor coach (not a bus) a couple of times and in the classroom the remainder.

The last time I spoke in front of more than 5-10 people was in college in my 20’s and I remember being so nervous and shaken, that I’ve avoided it since.  I’m proud of myself for jumping so far out of my comfort zone!

I learned that it’s O.K. to not be perfect and to try to be myself!  My next step is to join Toastmasters and become really comfortable and well-spoken!  Anyway, here are some of the new friends and people I met…

We went on an overnight trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nat’l Parks and here is a photo of the class, along with the instructors!  I’ll have a separate post about these beautiful Parks.


This was in Sonoma…that’s Thyra (pronounced TEAR-RA) and me.  She’s from LA and a very cool and very smart person!!


This is Elise on the left and Daywee on the right.  I didn’t get to know Elise as well, but I really respect Daywee.  She’s got her stuff together and has a very bright future!  She’s from Indonesia and took some of us to an Indonesian Restaurant while we were in San Francisco and it was the best meal of my trip.


This is Lena…she was my roommate.  We were on opposite schedules…I would wake up between 4:30 and 6:00am and would turn just the bathroom light on to get ready in the morning.  Then go down to the lobby to do homework, or jog first.  We were able to make it work and she’s a sweetie and one of the smartest people I’ve met!!


This was taken at Fisherman’s Wharf.  From left to right…Thyra, Claxton (from Texas, former schoolteacher with a dry humor and good guy), Mary (she and I got to know each other on the overnight field trip because we were roommates)…really sweet and smart lady, and Bernard (French…that says it all…very charming and sweet)!!


This was one of the first photos I took…I love it…it’s Elliott (he’s loads of fun) and Sue (who I didn’t get to know as well as some others…but like everyone…very nice and friendly)!!


Here is the “cute couple”…Alyssa and Colton…they are both very smart and warm-hearted!  They’ll both be very successful in life!!


This photo turned out kind of weird, but this is JJ.  A few of us went out for sushi and it was his first time trying this cuisine.  He’s a cutie from Louisiana!


I’ve mentioned everyone that’s in this photo, but Ken (the big dude in the middle).  One of his topics was Sequoia trees and he touched my heart (just like many of the people did on the trip) when he gave his talk!  I’d like to mention everyone, but I only have so much time and space.

I’m looking forward to staying in touch with my classmates!!

8 thoughts on “Tour Director School in San Francisco

  1. Pingback: Top US Travel Destinations from Travel & Leisure - Write Traveller | Write Traveller

  2. Hi Travel Spirit,

    I’m a fellow Cincinnati alum of ITMI class 253. Your post brought back memories of my class and studying every night in the Powell Hotel lobby for the next day. Glad to know there is a fellow alum in the area!


      • Greetings, I just read your post about your past schooling with ITMI. I’m really seriously considering apply with them. I just spent over an hour visiting with Randy, and we had a delightful time. Randy addressed all of my questions.
        Can you be brutally honest about after you graduated how long it took to land a job, then land a paying tour? Then can you offer a realistic thought on how much one can expect to make on a daily basis while on a tour…wages and gratuity?
        Thank you
        Michael DeVolder


      • Hi Mike! I haven’t found a job yet…but I only applied to a few places. They have a symposium once a year that I believe would be very beneficial…like a mass interview. I believe you will be successful in finding a job or jobs if you put the time and effort into it. It’s important that you don’t need a steady income at first, because the jobs could be sporadic. I still plan on sending out more resumes…got a little side tracked with traveling on my own to Africa for six weeks and a solo road trip in the southern US for six weeks…and some other trips. Also trying to develop my blog…which is a passion…along with photography and travel! Hope I helped. What do you currently do?


  3. What a wonderful professional development experience. You’ll be as awesome as your pictures. Sounds like you are setting some very achievable goals. Your first topic sounds very challenging but I’m sure your warmth and smarts radiated through. Congratulations!


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