Around this time last year I was working on getting my walking tour business up and running. It feels like it was only yesterday and I cannot believe that it’s been a year already. Things have happened. Big things. Small things. Overwhelming things and things so amazing that I am still not quite sure whether I was dreaming when they happened.
This first year has been such a roller coaster ride. I’ve been incredibly lucky because things have mostly gone my way from day one and I’ve had almost nothing but successes. It’s been amazing and way beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Even so this year has also been incredibly difficult. I’ve been exhausted, physically and emotionally, and it has taken a toll not just on me but my loved ones also. I’ve been a very bad girlfriend, terrible friend, lousy sister, self-absorbed daughter and a disappointing stepmother: absent, never around and always working. Seriously, ALWAYS working!
But this is the life of an entrepreneur. You have to be married to your company in the first few years and then hopefully you will benefit from all your hard work later. And I have the most understanding, caring and beautiful people around me and even though they are probably sick of me already they never flinch in their devotion and support and I feel loved every day. I am a very lucky girl.
I think people don’t always realize that every post that is written, every photo taken, every tweet tweeted, every e-mail answered, every tour conducted, every bill issued and every technical glitch solved is all me. I can’t even get sick because there’s no one there to pick up the slack. Thankfully it seems like being outside in the fresh air all the time does wonder for your immune system and I’ve not had to cancel a tour do to a sickness yet (knock on wood). This is my full time job and my family depends on me doing a good job. There’s no back up plan. This is it.
But I love it. I love the highs, the lows, the drama, the people, the job. I love all of it. Which is why I keep doing it.
Things will have to change.
At the end of last summer, when I had been doing 2-3 tours a day every day without getting any days off for weeks, I ended up walking myself into an injury. I hurt my knee pretty bad and it took months to heal completely. But I couldn’t take any time off. I did a walking tour and photography session where I actually ended up rolling around on the street crying out of pain and I couldn’t stand up. Every day, after trying not so show anyone on my tours how much pain I was actually in, I came home and ate some painkillers and tried not to move until I had to.
It was pretty evident that things could not go on like this: I would need to find someone to do the tours with me.
Introducing Ásta Kristín: the answer to my dilemma
I’ve known Ásta Kristín for probably ten years now. We worked together for six or seven years and the last few years of that she sat at the desk next to me. She is a trained guide from the Icelandic School of Tourism and she was the quality and sustainability project manager at our old work place. She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life so before I ever approached her about this I had already decided that she was my girl. She was what I needed and I didn’t even think about what I would do if she was unavailable.
To make a long story short: we met, we talked and she agreed to come on board.
Ásta Kristín is born and raised in Borgafjörður Eystri, a beautiful little town in the Eastfjords and she has traveled all over the world and all around Iceland. She now lives with her English fiancé and their two beautiful daughters here in Reykjavík. Since she has received a formal education as a tour guide she is way more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to geology, the weather, flora and fauna and such. I think we compliment each other perfectly and everyone who joins the tours will benefit from that. There is no one I would trust better.
What exactly is going to change
Nothing will change here on the blog. I will still be writing the posts, taking the photos and sharing the same honest and personal content. I will also still take care of all the social media accounts. If anything I will have more time to write for the blog now that I’m getting help with the tours. Or so one would hope at least.
Ásta and I will take shifts doing the tours from the middle of May and we’ve already worked out a schedule for the summer. The tours will follow the same principles as before although we will of course be putting our own personal flair on things. This way we can offer more tours, you won’t get a guide that is tired or worn out because we will actually get days off, and we can help each other make the tours the best they can be. I’m super excited!
The boyfriend might also pop up on some tours this summer as he has agreed to help out a bit more.
New product: Icelandic from A to Ö
This summer we will be offering an exciting new activity which we have decided to call Icelandic from A to Ö. In short it’s a lighthearted crash course in Icelandic and it takes place in Ásta’s home. Coincidentally this is not the first time Ásta’s home is featured here on the blog but her living room is where the first wedding I organized took place.
If you want enjoy a lovely evening in an Icelandic home and learn more about our fantastic language then this is definitely something you should check out.
The future is bright
These changes are all a bit scary to me. Involving other people is a big step and I feel the pressure of providing employment to a mother of two weighing on my shoulders. But if I wouldn’t go forward in this way I would burn out before the end of the summer, My family also deserves better. My guests deserve better.
It’s my hope that you will celebrate this milestone with me and continue to put your trust in us like you did when I first introduced my tours, I can only hope that Ásta will experience the same kindness and joy as I did this last year. I feel lucky to have her on my team and you should too.
Bring it on year two!