• 15 May 2020

Travel is an amazing thing. It lets you see and explore different places, experience different cultures, meet new people and try new things. That’s why we love it! 

Here at Expat Explore, a passion for travel and exploring is at the heart of what we do. So what happens when we can’t do much of that?

This is the time when creativity kicks in! While travel is temporarily off the table, our team has been finding a number of ways to keep busy during this period of travel lockdown. From virtual tours and online quizzes (which you can find on our Facebook community page) to getting out into nature and learning new skills – our team has been finding different ways to entertain themselves!

Usually, you would find our Expat Explore Tour Leaders on the road, leading group tours through incredible cities and getting to know our travellers first hand. While they can’t be the smiling faces you see every day on tour right now, they are keeping busy! Catch up with a few of our Tour Leaders, who are spending the lockdown period in destinations across the globe, and find out what they’ve been up to below: 


 Dog walks in Canada tour leaders keep busySteve Martin

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Alberta, Canada

What have you been up to?
Apart from watching about 10,000 hours of Netflix shows I’ve been walking my dog about 20km a day on the lookout for Albertan wildlife. So far I’ve seen moose, coyotes, porcupines, deer, otters, owls and bald eagles. Quite a treat for a Brit used to seeing sparrows and the occasional squirrel! I’ve also been delivering meals for a charity in Calgary to the high-risk population who have been stranded inside during this virus. I also recently signed up to do amazon home delivery so that the bills are paid!

Alberta wilderness tour leaders keep busy
Steve has been keeping busy with long walks in the Albertan wilderness.
Birdlife Alberta wilderness tour leaders keep busy
He has also been lucky enough to spot some exciting birdlife along the way including this bald eagle and owl!

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
Greek islands. I miss everything about them. The mountain villages untouched by time, the medieval old towns bristling with activity and sitting down in a family-owned taverna by the beach with the fresh ‘catch of the day’.

Follow more of Steve’s travel adventures on his Instagram page.

Greek island boats tour leaders keep busy
Zakynthos Island in Greece. Relaxation, historic old towns and fresh seafood are what Steve is looking forward to!

Hiking Philippines tour leaders keep busyJohn Beaumont

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Cebu City, The Philippines

What have you been up to?
Being stranded in a hotel and having not been allowed to go out for two months now I have been playing the piano every day. I’m lucky there is one in the downstairs restaurant. I’m also teaching English and dance to some of the stranded guests at the hotel. And in return I get free food and some pocket money. I’m slowly learning Tagalog (Philippino) from a podcast. In my spare time, and there’s quite a lot of it, I am binging on Netflix.

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
Bali.

Bali temple sunset tour leaders keep busy
Pura Bratan, a Temple in Bali, John’s next destination of choice.

Sightseeing Europe tour leaders keep busyAaron Rogers 

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Liverpool, UK

What have you been up to?
I’ve been using my time in lockdown to learn Romanian, it is said to be the most basic of the Latin languages and should help me learn the others down the track. I have also been doing a wine course online to give me more insight into one of Europe’s favourite drinks. I have also been helping Expat Explore organise some quizzes for passengers on the Expat Explore Community Facebook page

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
The first place I want to travel when the lockdown is over will be Moldova, it’s Romanian speaking and has some of the most extensive wine cellars in the world. I will be able to put two of the things I have spent the most time learning in lockdown to good use!

Old Orhei Monastery Moldova tour leaders keep busy
Old Orhei Monastery in Moldova. Aaron is hoping to put his new language skills and wine knowledge to use on a trip to Moldova.

sightseeing Louvre Paris tour leaders keep busyIngeborg (Inga) Eikanger Aune

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Norway

What have you been up to?
The other day I bought a fishing rod and went fishing. I haven’t been since my dad took me as a kid, so I really have no idea what I’m doing! The earlier in the morning I start, the fewer people are about, and since we’re all about social distancing, I try to head out before 6 in the morning. I keep hoping for a trout, but so far all I’ve achieved is to drop a knife into the water. I think that means the fish are winning… but hey, it gets me up in the morning and out of the house, which is all I really want. Okay, I do kind of want to catch a fish too, but so far all I’ve caught are weeds. And a tree. And my finger…

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
The winter of 2005 was one of the worst winters in over 100 years in Northern Norway, where I was living at the time. On an island. Inside the Arctic Circle. It was October, and I had already been out shovelling snow off the roof of the house, TWICE, to keep it from collapsing under the weight of several tons of frozen water.I had to get out of there! I used my entire life’s savings, which amounted to an armful of dried codfish, and used it to buy a plane ticket to anywhere that was GREEN! Which is how I ended up in what was to become my second homeland, Ireland.

I have either lived in Ireland or travelled around Europe – with frequent visits to Norway – ever since, and Norway was where I found myself when the Corona-chaos erupted at the start of the year. And it looks as though I am stuck here for now (not exactly a hardship, Norway is BEAUTIFUL!). However, I miss Ireland! I miss my friends, I miss being force-fed tea and biccies (that’s cookies, if you were wondering), and I miss being a foreigner in a place that is so familiar that it feels like home. It is a strange thing that happens to those of us who travel, we become exotic! Strangers want to talk to us, to hear our stories, and we always have a conversation starter, right there from the moment we open our mouths to speak. “Oh, I love your accent, where are you from?” is a question I get ALL the time, and I never tire of answering it, because it allows me to speak to complete strangers without any awkwardness or feeling as if I am crossing some unspoken social boundary. As much as I love Norway, I dearly miss being on the road with all you wonderful people, and I can’t wait to get out there again!

Read more about Inge’s travels across Europe on her blog.

Ireland green fields tour leaders keep busy
Inge is longing to return to the rolling green hills of Ireland, her second home.

Sightseeing German castle tour leaders keep busyVictoria (Vic) Messer

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Auckland, New Zealand 

What have you been up to?
I miss Europe every day and I’m not looking forward to the impending unexpected Southern Hemisphere winter. During lockdown, I’m enjoying the time with family and helping homeschool my nieces. I have never done so many dishes in my life as I am cooking and preparing three meals a day for the family as we have absolutely no food outlets open, not even takeaways. This last week I’ve just completed the walk 100km in a week challenge. It was tough going some days but I did it! 

I miss you all.

Family New Zealand tour leader keep busy
Vic has been enjoying spending quality time with family over the past few months.

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
ANYWHERE ON THE MEDITERRANEAN. I can’t pick one, it’s like choosing your favourite child. So I would say Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Turkey I love them all!!!

Keep up with Vic’s travel adventures on her Instagram page.

Mediterranean beach Spain tour leaders keep busy
Calella de Palafrugell in Costa Brava, Spain. Vic is dreaming of the beautiful Mediterranean coastline!

Smiling tour leaders keep busyRachelle Brown

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Sydney, Australia

What have you been up to?
I’m not the type of person to ever get bored, as I always create a million little projects for myself. Currently, I am working my way through a large pile of books, lots of history books to add to my knowledge for tour leading, and also some novels in French and in Spanish to keep up with my languages.

I’m also selling handmade jewellery (one of my other hobbies!), practising the piano (finally have some time to really get stuck into it – the piano is not the most portable instrument for travel!) and finding creative ways to still explore and have adventures while not being able to travel. I have set a task for myself to explore every single street, path and alleyway in my local area and beyond. I am walking/running/biking and tracking it all to see where I have been and literally painting the map red with my routes. I will leave no street uncovered! I have already discovered some really cool places! Exploring and discovering new areas is a huge passion of mine, so since I can’t do it overseas at the moment why not do it close to home?!

Finally, I have also been finding other fun and silly ways to “travel” overseas from the comfort of my home…. keep an eye on the Expat Explore Community page for my adventures!

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
For me, travel is all about the adventure and just being open to seeing what is there with no particular expectations in mind. I never really have a “tick sheet” of must-see places, and in fact, when I travel myself I barely do any research into the place I’m headed because I just want surprises and adventure! So I would love to travel to absolutely any destination at all, the place is not what is important – it is the adventure that counts!

Snorkeling adventure tour leaders keep busy
Rachelle is super keen to be able to go out and experience new adventures soon!

Sightseeing Rome Colosseum tour leaders keep busyRebecca Kelly

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Australia

What have you been up to?
So in my regular life, I run a big farm in Western Australia and head back for a month or two each year to Europe to tour guide because I love it so much. My day to day hasn’t changed so much with coronavirus because I have a lot of space around me anyway. I spend my days doing the grain marketing/accounts, driving big machines, analysing, looking after the other workers etc.

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
I was scheduled to lead an Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia tour later this year so those countries are definitely at the top of my travel list!

old town Tblisi Georgia tour leaders keep busy
Rebecca is looking forward to exploring the colourful and cultured old town in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Smiling tour leaders keep busyMike Thoms

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England

What have you been up to?
I’m busy doing all the little things around the house I never got a chance to do, always put them on the “long finger” but no excuses now! Other than that I’m busy growing a beard – it’s a 24/7 job, non-stop even at night but it’s beginning to shape up now. This is the 6th beard I’ve grown during my lifetime, the first one was jet black but now, well, it’s a whiter shade of grey! 

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
Vietnam and Cambodia. I  am keen to visit as these countries have always fascinated me with all the beautiful temples and history – it is intriguing!

temple Cambodia tour leaders keep busy
Ta Prohm temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Experiencing the culture, ancient sights and history of Cambodia and Vietnam are next on Mike’s travel wish list!

SMiling tour leaders keep busyRoma Mackeviciute 

Role with Expat Explore: Tour Leader
Location during the lockdown/isolation period: Zarasai, Lithuania. It’s Lake District of the country and has the nickname “Little Switzerland”

What have you been up to?
Days go by super fast. So many hobbies to revisit. I am definitely starting more cooking and baking. A recent class I took is making macaron art. Researching possible college courses to take. At least two webinars a day. Reading on travel/history/art etc. and walking 15,000 steps a day as my app makes me! Only two films since lockdown. Oh and lots of video chats with my road crew who I am missing like crazy.

Landscape Zarasai Lithuania tour leaders keep busy
Zarasai is known as the “Little Switzerland” of Lithuania

What is the first place you would love to travel to once travel is possible again?
ITALY ❤️

woman sightseeing venice italy tour leaders keep busy
Gondolas, gelato, history, art and much more! Roma can’t wait to visit all the sights of Italy again.

For more updates from our tour leaders, road crew and the rest of our team, check out our community page and social media channels for exciting news, competitions, photos and more! With love from Expat Explore ❤️

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