One day not far ago, a gentle lady travelling with me said: Never tell people that your name is Jesus and that you are a guide, because it could generate some confusion among certain kind of persons. I smiled her slightly and answered that mummy always had said to me since I was a child that the only thing good in me was really my name… but it was a little bit late for changing it , so I continued with the same name (and job) till today.
Mum is actually an elder person and still says to me that those persons that love danger, finally die in it. I have heard this sentence put on her mouth since I was a child, and although I have loved always risky situations… I still keep alive; perhaps Jesus protect me.
The real thing is that I was baptized as Jesus (Isa in arab); it happened long time ago in the 60´s of past century, and after spending half of my life looking for what to do, I discovered that my goal in this life was to guide people; do not understand please, an spiritual guidance (although sometimes also happens) but guiding travellers (persons) in these fantastic lands were I was born and grown, and in which I took the decission of living in them forever, till my last days. It is not difficult to fall in love with Almeria… and more yet if it is the land were you were born, grown up, educated and happily married.
After leaving the Company in which I had been managing as a thriving salesman for more than one decade, I begun to prepare anything for starting a new future, my small business as self-employed, being the first two things to be done learning intensely about wildlife and about the territory. I read any books that had been written about Almeria flora and fauna and begun to organize up to 10 private flights for taking photographs of my lands from the air, to have my own maps and documents.
Slowly I became an expert in this corner of the Iberian map at south Spain… by land, sea and air, till finally I faced the moment of just starting to work as a nature guide; Jesus the guide/Jesus Guide sounded great for me… but who was paying me for discovering the land?. Local people were starting an important economical recession, that still happens nowadays… so money was not abundant and local people indeed were/are not nature lovers as in other countries.
Time for analysis again; the only profitable option was to improve my second language (english) and looking to develop the touristic market, but thinking in a very different way of the traditional concept of tourism. I didn´t want to show churchs or museums, I really wished to show my lands, the true life of people living hard every day in a very arid country; and this was definitely the start of my company based in ecotourism and responsible tourism.
It is important to say that when I started, nearly all gates were closed for me; nobody believed in this new concept of Green Tourism… but I never gave up. There were very hard moments, and still there are some difficult ones, but when you believe firmly in what you do and you keep yourself constant and doing everything responsibly, finally the miracle to happen, and then it is time of following your star.
Actually I have agreements with some rural houses of local people and alliances with other small businesses working in the same way, and I feel very proud to be helping a little bit to the rural development growth in a sustainable way, focused on fixing the population to the land, based in ecotourism, respect to nature and sustainability… and I feel so happy that other younger ones followed the same steps in different ways.
To be a guide is really one of the most amazing experiences that can happen to a human being; it is a job (not an employment) that makes you feel good and require full passion. And why not?? …. using always as a joke this old and deared nickname of Jesus Guide.