The best job in the world might just be that of a guide.
We often highly underestimate the value of a good guide. Whether it be hunting or fishing or bird watching, or touring a gallery or a museum, they literally have the ability to elevate a few hours of the day to something you will carry inside of you for a lifetime. I look back at some of the greatest memories of my life, the photos on my wall and I am amazed at how many of them have a guide in the picture and how often they have even gone on to become lifelong friends.
There is not a good guide in the world who is not worth the money they are paid. From outdoor adventures to exploring the ruins of Caesarea, strolling through the Uffizi, even some casual words with a knowledgeable vet volunteering time at the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum, they are worth every dime.
So many of the best memories of my life have someone pointing where to cast, where to direct my binoculars, telling me to notice the style of this painting, the use of colors, how the light shines to enhance this or that, or how this won the war, or how millions of years of erosion lead to that.
From caverns, to trails, coastlines, and mosaics, from towering sculptures of a man with a fleece, to crumpled ruins of dynasties past, a good guide, local knowledge, someone with passion elevates those few moments ingraining them in our brains, making us feel like we are a part of it in that moment.
Is that not the best job in the world?
The knowledge gleaned by others on the ground is something we need to treasure.
I count Mitch Pazarra as one of my great friends, a former fishing guide out of Key West, who I have with over the years spent countless days on the water. During a time when the whole fishing guiding industry and the problems that go with it were weighing on him I turned to him.
”Mitch, you have the greatest job in the world you know that don’t you? Sure, you do this daily and it’s probably a pain in the ass, the costs, the hassles, the competition, people who don’t respect nature and the craft and all that but can you imagine how many photos of lifelong memories for others that you are in? Dude that’s you…you make that happen. You are gonna be long gone but some of your clients are going to take those memories to their grave. How fucking cool is that?”
I’m not sure it mattered, he finally stopped guiding but his pics remain on my wall to this day…and they will stay there. Who knows…maybe this article can convince him to do it again.
A good guide makes all the difference in the world. I truly have come to appreciate the years of knowledge that have to be gleaned in order to do something well. Years back Carl Drake, a local medic and one of America’s foremost turkey callers guided me on my first turkey hunting trip. I guess in my mind, I thought it was gonna be a breeze, just sit somewhere, point and shoot. I had no idea how much actual planning, knowledge, intellect and skill was required to simply harvest a bird in the wild. Years of knowledge that he was happy to share with me. I have been an enthusiast ever since. I was later privileged to be treated to a similar exchange of knowledge and enthusiasm when Jason Miles, another local hunting enthusiast and now great friend, helped me to get my first deer. He also inadvertently led me to one of the most secret and prolific morel patches in southern Indiana something he probably now laments. Guides like Carl and Jason bring with them an appreciation and passion that is unmatched and of infinite value and a chance to connect and forge lifelong friendships. Not a bad bang for the buck if you ask me.
From Derek Boeger dropping me and my son right on top of a pile of walleye in Green Bay, to Efraim Winter introducing me to tea with the Bedouins, from Allen Kurtz pointing out the sea lions and star fish as we kayaked around Sooke, to the countless nameless voices who have shown me Washington’s home in the springtime, the deepest recesses of mammoth cave, the light as is shined off David, and how they bottle bourbon at Four Roses. I thank each and every one of you because I’m certain my appreciation for these things would never have reached the level I have for them now if I had not been able to experience the passion you have.
You get to do this every day…me...I get to do it once in a lifetime. It’s why your pictures hang on my wall and will probably remain there until the day I die.
Yeah…I think you just may have the best jobs in the world.
I hope you know that.
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis and a member of the Indianapolis Forensic Services Board. He is a national award-winning writer, public speaker and one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Feedback at email@example.com is welcomed. For other publications and for speaking dates, go to louisprofeta.com. For college speaking inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis. He is one of LinkedIn's Top Voices and the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God. Dr Louis holds a medical degree from the Indiana University Bloomington.