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Why I Chose Gozo – Xavier Cornil Wambergue

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Frenchman Xavier Cornil Wambergue explains what brought him to Gozo, and what inspired him to make it his home.

I first heard of Gozo back in 1998. I worked for a manufacturing company in the UK and my job sometimes involved buying materials for their sister company in Xewkija.  As the company grew, I was made Director of the Gozo factory, and, along with my wife Rachel, I moved to the island in January 2008. Three years later, the company wanted to move me again, and I found I was horrified at the idea! Through the factory I knew so many people, and Gozo had become home.

In order to stay, I needed income, and a business idea. I was keen to find something that didn’t alter or damage Gozo, and that didn’t interfere with already established businesses.  Rachel and I used to watch the buses of tourists going past and feel that they had all missed out on the things about Gozo that we loved the most.

I got involved with ‘Gozo Adventures’ which at the time was a small sport climbing company, and started to grow the business.  It’s since become the country’s main outdoor activity company!  I coordinate a team which promotes the exploration of the island through sea kayaking, climbing, walking, biking and eco-cultural tours. Now it’s not factory spreadsheets that measure my success, but reviews from our customers. 

Having someone tell us that their tour was the highlight of their holiday has been much more fulfilling!

The Gozo Adventures team are all well qualified in their sports areas and are always outside enjoying Gozo’s landscapes.  I’m always the one left inside by the computer and phone!  

When I get free time, I like to walk and enjoy the scenery which can vary from village life, to country fields to rocky coastline in just a half an hour. In summer, I like to swim and snorkel.   A highlight for me was entering the water only to find that I was standing in a shoal of small sardines, who formed a ball, and swam around me for over an hour. 

Mostly though, if I’m away from the office you’ll find me in one of Victoria’s squares or piazzas. They are a great place to eat, drink and people watch. I’ve grown to love the people of Gozo, who are generally welcoming and ready to chat.  Many of them still farm, fish, race horses, play bocci, sing in choirs, help with festa preparations etc.  They keep the traditional ways alive, and keep Gozo, Gozo!   I’ve been here over 14 years now, and I’m still having my own ‘Gozo Adventures’!

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