Here is our third post in our series written from a tour guide who’s been with Landsea Tours & Adventures for two years. She describes her love for Landsea and some of her favourite memories. Read her blog post below:
I was hired as a tour guide at Landsea in the Spring of 2014. At the time, I knew I wanted a job that would be different than past summer jobs - the prospect of waiting tables for another summer was bringing me down and tour guiding seemed like an exciting option! After having so many memorable experiences abroad during my travels, I wanted to make sure visitors to my own city would leave with the same kind of memories. After some online research I discovered Landsea Tours & Adventures and immediately applied.
For many newly hired guides, the most daunting part of the job is learning to drive a 24-passenger bus. What amazed me most about the hiring process is the confidence management has in you. The driving part of the job almost seemed secondary to your passion for the city and it's surrounding geography. Essentially, they were looking for passionate guides, not just bus drivers. Once hired, driver training took up the majority of the month-long training process. I remember getting behind the wheel for the first time in Stanley Park. White knuckled, I made loops around the perimeter of the park and by the third time I was feeling pretty comfortable! Especially with the other guides-in-training cheering me on the whole way.
For me, the best part of the training process was how close I became with the other new guides in my training group. We were quite the mix of people: a former radio host, a recent grad, an ex-cruise ship employee, and myself - a current student. We each had our own unique experiences to bring to our tours and different stories to share. This is one of the things that makes Landsea such a great company to work for. Everyone is encouraged to put their own spin on their tours and to really make it your own. For this reason, no one's tour will ever be the same. For example, I grew up in Victoria and went to the University of Victoria so I have plenty of stories I like to share with my guests on my Victoria tour. People seem to really enjoy the personal touch.
I find it is important to have something that motivates you on every tour. For me, it is the fact that a lot of the guests we take on tours have worked hard to save enough money to bring their family here on vacation for their once-in-a-lifetime experience. Although for us it is just another day at the office, it isn't difficult to give guests a memorable experience here in Vancouver. The beauty of the landscape is enough to amaze first-timers. What takes their experience to the next level is something that can't be captured in a photograph. It is the personal connections they make during their trip. What seems like a small gesture on my end can have a huge impact on a traveller's overall experience and their perception of Vancouverites.
One of my most memorable guests was a woman travelling by herself from Lithuania who desperately wanted to see the Ogopogo and asked me where to find it. She didn't seem phased by my insistence that this mythical creature probably doesn't exist, so I told her about Lake Okanagan and the many ways to get there. After a busy day in Victoria, I dropped her off at her hotel and as she stepped out of the bus she gave me a hug and told me that I was perfect and to never change. I will never know that if she ever found the Ogopogo but she definitely made my day and I still smile when I think of her.
Guests sometimes ask, "Do you ever get sick of doing these same tours?" My answer is always, "No" because not one of my tours has ever been the same. Just like the city never looks exactly as it did the day before and just like the nationalities, demographics, and languages of my guests are always changing from one tour to the next. That is why I love this job!