Jewish Tour Guide: William Zhitkauskas
"Be an ambassador of your country"
In my work, I present history, heritage, folklore, culture, cuisine, and other things. It makes my job very meaningful to me and, as a consequence, to my guests.
Jewish Tour Guide
It all started when my friend Daniel from JeruLita Travel asked me if I would be interested in becoming part of the JeruLita team as a tour guide. I knew Hebrew well, was born in Vilnius, and I decided to give the training a go.
Though I know Vilnius well, it took me a while to get ready to represent my city to a foreigner. I went on a tour with a founder of JeruLita – Yulik Gurvitch. It helped a lot, as I saw what I should learn. I dived into books on the history of Vilnius and Lithuania. It was an exciting beginning of my journey into the Jewish-Litvak world. The more I read, the more fascinating the globe reveals to be.
Some times, it is good to leave your comfort zone
I was a manager of a small hotel, quite happy where I was, but at the same time, the offer was tempting. I could not understand why. Yes, here it is – I have made my first money by being а councilor of a youth movement. So I wanted to try myself in a different field.
I do not recollect much about my first tour, besides the fact that my clients were happy. They expressed it in an open, grateful way. It was something I missed in my previous position. I have realized that I will give luxurious content tours with a personal touch and passion for what I do; I can also get positive feedback every day. This is true, a very strong motivation. So I have made a switch and become a licensed guide.
Why I Love Guiding Tours
I like meeting new people on our guided tours. Vilnius and other places with old streets, houses, history, culture, and jokes are the same, but every time you meet different people and they make our work diverse and exciting.
I like continually learning during our excursions. People ask questions, and this encourages me and sometimes even forces me to learn new things all the time. People ask questions about absolutely unexpected fields.
When I was a “young guide,” I was afraid to answer that I do not know. Not the best feeling, while today I am self-confident, and I can tell people that I do not know the answer. It means that I will learn something new that day.
I like being outside. Sixty to seventy percent of the time spent on Tours and Excursions in the Baltic states are spent out and with people who come to rest and enjoy. It makes the atmosphere fresh, positive, and inspiring. We walk a lot, and it keeps all us fit and healthy.
I like the idea of presenting history and heritage to people. As someone once said –“ be an ambassador of your country,” and I fully agree with it. In my work, I present history, heritage, folklore, culture, cuisine, and other things. It makes my job very meaningful to me and, as a consequence, to my guests.
I love my job. I am well-paid, I do what I know how to do! It keeps me going!