This is my first blog post in months, since late April I believe. I’m not sure if it was a lack of time or just not finding something that I felt like writing about, but in any case, it’s time to end the dry spell. I think the biggest thing on my mind right now is this new life upon which I have embarked. It’s been just over a month since I ended my employment with the Federal government to work as a tour guide full time. I am in the thick of self-employment. Sometimes I wondered if I would have the courage to do it, but the last several months have given me many reasons to feel optimistic about the future. Off the Mall Tours has been slowly but surely growing, tours are selling, and new opportunities are coming my way every day. It’s actually amazing to me how far this company has come in the past year since I gave my first tours during the summer of 2020. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I did not, could not, have done this alone. I’ve had incredible support from friends, family, the tour community, and my guests. The number of return customers I’ve had tells me that I’m doing something right, and that is what keeps me going. To commemorate the occasion I had a launch party a couple of weeks ago, and the love I felt for those who attended was almost overwhelming. I also hit a milestone on Tripadvisor…..I broke the top 50! It is a modest achievement, but one I am excited about nonetheless.
So what comes next? I now have seven regularly scheduled tours under my belt, and a special “Secrets of Washington, DC” book-based series with JoAnn Hill already underway. I just announced a NEW partnership with another talented local author, Briana Thomas, who wrote “Black Broadway in Washington, DC.” In the latter we will be guiding people through various themes of U Street History, from the famous musicians, authors, teachers to business owners and theaters and clubs, etc. I can’t wait. You should all buy both of their books, if you haven’t already, and come on the tours.
There are so many other stories to tell and the ideas just keep coming. I will need help for all of this. So I’m excited to announce that soon I’ll be hiring guides to join me on this journey. Will it complicate things? Yes. Will it allow me to find others passionate about what I’m doing? Certainly. If you know anyone who is interested in talking about things like feminist history, black history, punk history, intersectional history, or just overall DC history, send them my way!
Perhaps the most challenging thing thus far is sticking to a schedule. Suddenly I find myself with a ton of unstructured time during the day, and yet I feel like I’m busier than ever. I have so much outreach I would like to do, but I also want to spend entire afternoons at the Library of Congress. I want to go to the gym, dance, and stay active, and I also want to spend hours reading in a chair. I cook, but put off doing things around the house. It’s an adjustment, and one that I will make, but I find I’m in no rush. Perhaps it’s my way of dealing with change. The list of things I have to do in the meantime, the not-so-fun administrative things, is also growing. The thrills of being a business owner, I suppose. Thankfully I have wonderful people who have tread this path before me and have been generous in sharing their knowledge.
So, as I embark upon this new journey, I thank you all for your continued support and invite more conversations, more advice, more interaction and of course, more tours! Please continue telling your friends, inviting your family, spreading the word and such. It’s the summer doldrums now and this is a traditionally slow time of year as people get tired of the heat and start looking towards the cooler days of Fall. I am also now open for day-time private tours if you have school groups, team building activities, or just special excursions.
The journey continues, and I’m taking it day by day, step by step. I will commit to blogging more often as well, as I am able to uncover more and more interesting topics. Stay tuned and stay safe!