Jackie Parsons was born and raised in England. SheI studied languages from an early age and developed a passion for Latin cultures. She speaks French, Spanish, and fluent Italian. Jackie has led tours in Europe since 1992, specializing in walking tours in Italy since 2007
Her first degree in Spanish took her to the mountains of Mexico and to the South American Andes, where she took part in a Raleigh International expedition to Chile. Her enthusiasm for Italy developed alongside my love of its art, history, culture, food, wine, and people. She has also studied Italian art and culture with the Open University. As a Teacher of Modern Languages in the UK, she was a fully qualified expedition leader for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Jackie and her husband own and operate Hedonistic Hiking which are group walking tours led in Australia and Italy!
Jackie joins us today from Italy and their home in Tuscany where it’s been their base for the last three months! This is where they live while they are running their Italian Tours.
We chat about how she started Hedonistic Hiking Tours and her inspiration started at a very young age with her love for languages. She had a very inspirational teacher that encouraged her students to go one step further and to look for the adventure! Don’t be afraid of where you are and what you want to do in life. Not wanting to do what was “expected of her”, Jackie focused on her passion for traveling and shared how that journey evolved into what it looks like today.
Hedonistic Hiking Tours gives Jackie and her husband the opportunity to explore the things they love the most: Sharing their love of food, wine, and walking! Sounds good to me! They enjoy sharing what they love about Italy and seeing the joy on their faces when they are on their experience!
Jackie shares with us the different levels of intensity in their walking tours and there is something available for anyone’s physical ability. They meet you in your comfort zone or you can push yourself with something a bit more challenging. On the lower level hikes, there is a support vehicle so if you are feeling that after lunch you would like to return to your hotel to relax by the pool you have that option! The tours are designed for the older generations which helps a lot to manage your expectations! We may not be elite athletes but we are looking for a fun and memorable tour experience! For Jackie one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is seeing each day the increased confidence in their faces and the joy in their face!
I ask Jackie to share her favorite walking tour and she immediately says that it’s the one she is currently on at that moment! However, she does come around and share one of her favorite tours in Italy! You’ll need to tune in to hear her describe this tour as it sounds amazing and doesn’t want to give it away!
Jackie shares about what she’s learned about herself through this process and how starting their business they took a risk and stepped out of their comfort zone. They let the business evolve without a 20-page business plan. They did have focus and a direction but they trusted that things were going to progress as they should. She shares that You don’t know what you can achieve until you do it! Don’t get caught up in the weeds and spend your life in the planning process! Start with one foot in front of the other.
Maybe 2022 or 2023 might be the year for you to do some exploration in Italy or Australia? Check it out!