Today I’m talking to the better half in the Thomson household (only joking Greg!)
Welcome to Choccy, Greg’s lovely wife, a friendly and dynamic person who’s always got a funny quip and a cheery smile.
Together Greg and Choccy run tours for Adventure Wild in the north west of Western Australia in the Kimberley region. You can read more Secrets from an adventure tour guide here where Greg spills the beans and gives his take about life on the road.
Choccy, please tell me, how long have you been an Adventure Tour Guide?
What’s the best thing about your job?
Definitely having the chance to be outside, and running tours in the Kimberley which is a gorgeous part of Australia. Being out in nature, showing people around, having fun and lots of laughter too.
What’s the funniest thing that that’s happened?
Well, Greg mentioned the event in his interview about being a tour guide … But I’ll elaborate. That girl was me and when I got back on the bus having been to the rest room I felt something wriggling in my pants. I was sitting at the back of the bus and wriggling around. Then I couldn’t stop laughing and made quite a bit of noise and had to tell everyone, “Don’t Look” now, as I whipped my pants down and pulled out a lizard!
What’s the worst thing that’s happened?
Someone had a heart attack once at quite a remote gorge, that was awful.
What surprises you most about people?
That everyone is so different and you never know what they’ll be like or who they are when you see their names written on a booking form. We’re nearly always pleasantly surprised and get to meet some lovely people.
What are you favourite places in the Kimberley?
What do people forget to pack?
Their false teeth, prescription glasses, medication, and personal items like toiletries
What is the question that you hear people asking the most?
There are probably three. How far is it now? What’s for dinner? What are we doing today?
What advice would you give for anyone wanting to explore the Kimberley on their own
Research where you want to go and understand the distances. Tell people where you’re going. Always take lots of water, sunscreen, first aid equipment, a hat. Be fit, be careful, take photos and leave only footprints. Most of all Have Fun!
What equipment couldn’t you live without?
My Leatherman (Swiss Army knife) – it has everything I need on it!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to run tours?
You have to be organized, think ahead, laugh at yourself, have fun, get enough sleep and try not to burn the candles at both ends – you can do it for one trip but not 10! I also need to plan in advance, what I’m going to be doing the next day otherwise it all falls apart.
What does a day in the life of Choccy look like?
Wriggle out of my swag.
Go to the loo.
Put the kettle on.
Set up breakfast things.
Chop lunch things – cucumber, tomato, anything that can be prepared in advance.
Go for a walk or swim with the tour group
Go for a drive – generally a pretty long one in the Kimberley.
Set up camp
Have another swim or walk.
Think about what nibbles to get up for sundowner time
Eat nibbles, crack open a bottle of champagne if we’re at a lovely spot.
Eat dinner, have a beer, sit around the fire that the men might have got going.
Go to bed.
When we are back in Broome, we might have one or two days turnaround time, during which I have to check the manifest for guests’ dietary requirements, do the laundry, clean the bus and trailer and do the shopping for the next trip.
I’ll also prepare as much food as I can freezing meals where possible and sort out the equipment for the next trip such as the new sleeping bags and make sure the swags are clean.
Then I need to stock up in general. There’s a lot of shopping to do, for instance we need 30 litres of milk, 25 loaves of bread, 15 kilos of muesli, 1.5 kilos of weeabix, 2 jars of marmalade and 2 big jars each of vegemite and peanut butter, 4 kilos of flour, 6 kilos of tomatoes and the list goes on – and we generally re-stock in Kununurra.
As you’re together in stressful situations, or at least together 24/7, How do you make your relationship work?
Greg and I make sure that we are professional when we are at work, which is solid for 6 months of the year. It’s all work for us then, not play. In the six months afterwards we go on holiday, and we play.
Thanks Choccy, it’s been great to chat to you and to hear a little about your life on the road. If anyone wants to know more about the trips that Greg and Choccy run please click on some of the links throughout these two posts that will take you to a day by day guide of a 12 day tour to the Kimberleys.