After 30 years in training and development, I decided to become an urban tour guide! It all started back to 2012 when I traded in my suburban life for an urban one. When I moved "in town" I started walking a lot, mainly because I never had that luxury living in the suburbs. At first, I walked by myself. I remember being struck by how much I did NOT know about my own city.
I moved to Atlanta in 1985 but, to be honest, I never took the time to explore the city. I also traveled a lot for business. I literally knew my way around San Francisco and New York better than Atlanta! In those days, I would have been hard-pressed to name FIVE of the forty-five Beltline neighborhoods.
Within a few months I got to know my way around the various neighborhoods that are located along the Eastside Trail including Cabbagetown, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward and Virginia-Highlands. I sold my car, which forced me to walk and take MARTA. Every time I ventured out I saw and learned something new. Shortly thereafter, I started inviting my friends to join me and that's when the idea to start offering tours hit me.
Without fail, everyone who came with me said the same thing and it sounded something like, "I have been living here all my life and I never knew this was here." OR "I have driven by this a million times and never saw this before." That made me realize two things.
First, Atlanta looks MUCH different when you walk through it. You see things that you cannot possibly see when you are driving or even biking through it. You see the cool stuff, the interesting stuff. The second thing I realized was that there was a big demand for hyper-local tours. So, in August 2014 I started doing walking tours. I led my last one on 08.15.2021. During that time I designed and led hundreds of events and tours throughout Atlanta.
Everyone who came on a walking tour with me said the same thing and it sounded something like, "I have been living here all my life and I never knew this was here." OR "I have driven by this a million times and never saw this before."