“Have a good holiday!” my mother shouts as I drive out of the farm yard, having just ticked the box of everyone I need to see before I go of on 'one of my jaunts' as she calls it. Fortunately, she can’t hear me shouting “It’s work!” as I drive off.

It might be work in a very nice place, on occasion but it is still work. However, I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to work in agricultural tourism. Not that you could do this job full time and not expect to drop with exhaustion after a couple of months but tied in around the other jobs in my working life, it is probably the best job in the world.

The opportunity for tour guiding, came up after the World Simmental Congress in 2008, when as development manager for Simmental UK, I helped host farmers from all over the world. One of my duties was to pop in and out of buses, explaining British agriculture to our overseas guests.

Ever since young farmers' speech making, I have never been afraid of speaking in public or with a microphone and confident in the knowledge that I have, as my mother would say, never opened my mouth and nothing came out, thoroughly enjoyed the 'on right hand side of the bus' experience.

A year later, Carolyne Cree from Field Farm Tours Ltd, who had worked with me on the congress, asked if I would guide a group of New Zealand farmers, she had coming on tour.

Feeling highly unqualified for the task and clearly unprepared, I allowed myself to be talked into doing her a favour. I studied long and hard and after a very short time on a very big coach, I realised that study was futile and fortunately, there was an immense amount of stuff already in my head. Most of it was relatively unused, languishing in the background, waiting for the right question and suddenly out it would pop.

All the studying was not completely pointless but there is nothing to replace a microphone, a moving bus and something appearing in the fields at the side of the road. The appearance of random cattle, sheep or crops, evidently has the same effect on tourists as it has on tour guides and questions flow. Some are easier to answer that others obviously, but an Australian tour guide once told me, if someone asks a question and you don’t know the answer, remember they don’t know the answer either. That’s what is known as 'a tour guide answer' when it is required. It figures a fair bit in monuments to famous battles and castles in Scotland and walls and weird shaped fields in England.

While nerve racking, my first tour lasted two weeks and I had never really had an experience like it. I made great friends within the group, visited some of my favourites places and some great new places, in both Scotland and the Lake District, still regarded as The North and not really England, and by the end I was in tears when everyone left on the Cairnryan Ferry. I would truly miss them and while I wished them a great tour in Ireland, I secretly hoped that they didn’t enjoy it as much as their trip to Scotland and The North.

The ferry wouldn’t be out of the harbour, before my adrenaline drained and I was sound asleep in the front seat of the coach, on my way home to a very early night, with a fruitless day of exhaustion to follow.

After a few more incoming tours from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, I became more comfortable with the fact that they all knew a great deal about their heritage and countries and I often felt that my knowledge of Scottish history was somewhat lacking.

Needless to say, I began to remind myself and my groups on occasion, that my house was older than their country. Having said that, my knowledge of Scotland, if I could retain it, is vastly improved with the tour guiding experience and hopefully my efforts to make everyone love my country as much as I do, has paid off. I remain friends with many of my groups from all over the world and periodically the same faces pop up on my coach.

My first overseas trip was another sharp learning curve and I will never forget riding the fabulous native Criollo horses on a Uruguayan ranch or seeing and eating armadillo for the first time. Second rule of tour guiding. Always volunteer first and get it over with. First rule: There’s always a plan B!

I have also learned many things from my fellow travellers, the most important being that you can take your clothes off at night, throw them in the shower with you and wear them the next day. Although not recommended for winter tours in the UK, in warmer climes, you can wash, rinse and hang up and they will be ready for the next morning.

On tour, no one cares if you have creases…..everyone has creases and in all climes, life is too short for ironing. Having passed this invaluable advice onto many travellers from many nations, over the years, it has only once been lost in translation when, the next morning a delighted lady told me she had taken my advice kept her clothes on and went into the shower. Not exactly what I meant but if it works why not!

It is not all plain sailing on tour, however and losing a set of false teeth (not mine) down the chemical toilet of the coach, has its challenges, which I hasten to add, doesn’t involve trying to retrieve them. A new pair ready for fitting two days later at the next city is a result however. Sharing clothes with travellers who have lost their case, dealing with the police for those who have had cards cloned or stolen or returning bags left on the bus after it has crossed the border into the neighbouring country, is all part of life’s rich tapestry, which is managing a tour.

Being ill isn’t an option on tour and helpful advise from the local tour guide in Cambodia to 'drink more water – you no puke!' is great but impractical when you have salmonella from drinking the water. It is also never a good idea to plug your UK hairdryer into a television plug in Brazil. This is likely to result in blowing out the electricity in half of the hotel and then having to explain the whole thing to a Portuguese speaking electrician.

I like to think that over the years, I’ve touched my travellers, in a good way, having introduced Pimms parties to Texas University life, a tradition which they continue to this day, set up a who was on the winning side? competition for Scottish descendants at Culloden and above all introduced Robert Burns to England, Wales, Brazil, Uruguay, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Prague, Vienna and Italy and this year hopefully to Equador, the Galapagos Islands and Tanzania.

Man tae man the world o’er shall brothers be…