Last night I was lucky enough to attend Wanderlust’s 9th World Guide Awards at the National Geographical Society. Hidden in the shadow of the imposing Royal Albert Hall and Science Museum, the National Geographical Society’s glass fronted building looked far less intimidating than its regal neighbours.
I had no idea what to expect from the night but I definitely didn’t expect so many people to attend!
Industry professionals rubbed shoulders with us nosy folks. If I’d have been braver (or had Lydia the Globe-Trotting Graduate by my side!) it would have been a great opportunity to network.
The Society itself was impressive, with fascinating portraits and ancient maps lining the walls. Unfortunately the lighting was awful which didn’t make for very good pictures…
The nominated guides received rapturous applause and guest speaker, the legendary travel publisher Hilary Bradt, entertained the crowd with her travel misdemeanors. A fascinating and inspirational woman.
After an interesting Q&A session with the nominated tour guides it was time for my all-time hero, Bill Bryson, to present the awards. Peru tour guide and native Efrain Valles took the gold and made my desire to visit South America even stronger! If you’re interested in finding out more about the nominees then click here.
The Awards were great fun and it was a real eye-opener attending an industry event. It consolidated my desire to pursue a career in this field, I wanted a little name badge like all the grown-up professionals had! One day…
With the event winding down and the crowds dispersing I saw my chance of meeting my childhood hero slipping away. I spotted Bill Bryson trying to dart away and grabbed my opportunity to pounce.
I was rewarded with my very own autograph and I haven’t stopped smiling since!
Just as we were about to leave we noticed the police setting up a road block outside of the museum and paparazzi clamoring at the gates. A fancy black car zipped past accompanied by roaring police motorbikes. We just managed to glimpse the Duchess of Cambridge sitting in the back, on her way home from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards.
A celebrity studded evening indeed!
Did any of you manage to make it? Let me know what you thought!