What does it mean to be a Himalayan guide?

The reason why I decided to become a guide is because I love my country, Nepal.  I really want to introduce it to the trekkers and to anyone who loves natural beauty. However, no one becomes a guide immediately. People may be surprised to know there is a whole process/organization you need to go through before becoming a team leader. I started as a porter, then I was part of the kitchen staff, then an assistant cook and finally a cook. The Nepali way guarantees that every guide knows all of the jobs very well. You have more credibility with your team, but also with your customers. They know you are strong physically and mentally and it is reassuring, I believe.

Breaking the trail for my customers over a pass

Being a strong team leader is indeed a very important requirement. You need to respect your team and to work hard. This is the only way your coworkers will respect you and trust your leadership. Patience is also very important. If your are patient, you will make everything work. It is one of the keys for success.

Another important thing for a guide is a good organization. You definitely need to be very well organized. You are not only managing your customers/trekkers, but also your team. You can easily be managing 30 people or more, so organization matters a lot if you want to be successful! The same rule goes for being able to make quick decisions. Any kind of emergency, from unexpected bad weather to minor injuries, can require me to make quick decisions. I don’t have the luxury of hesitation. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t happen very often!

Talking with a local woman

I love meeting people on the trail

The fact that I have a lot of contacts everywhere in Nepal, in Kathmandu (in hotels, airport…) and on the trails, also makes my job easier. I realized a long time ago that having a lot of connections would help in my job. If there is a change in the trekking schedule, like finishing the trek earlier, I am actually able to make a reservation at a hotel in Kathmandu from the trail. So, yes, having such a network is a big part of my success. Being able to solve any problems while in the mountains just by calling people (with my cell phone or satellite phone) is just incredible!

It is easy for me to make friends and keep in touch because I love meeting people. I love to listen to customers and their stories, get to know who they are and I love to tell them about my life, my country and its history. Knowing the trails is not the only thing you need to know to be a good guide. It is very important to be able to explain about your country and its people. I love history so it is very interesting for me when people ask questions! I also know a lot about nature and the Himalayas, my mountains. Of course, as a guide, you also need to know the names of the flowers you see on the trail, the names of the trees, the different kind of climates you meet during a single trek. And knowing poisonous plants is very important, even though we don’t meet a lot of them on the trails, fortunately!

I really hope I bring a lot to my customers, hoping they know Nepal more when they leave. Nepal is very small, but very big when it is about nature. I am very proud of my country. People here work very hard and we are always happy to meet the trekkers. I want my customers to see, understand and enjoy my country as much as possible.

I always try to get in touch with my customers before they come to Nepal, especially if they come for the first time. That way, I can tell them about what they can do before the trek: it is definitely better to hike before coming here so your legs will be stronger. Training is always good anyway! Is it also an opportunity for me to practice English and French. Of course if you know a little German, Japanese or other languages, it is even better!!!

As you probably assumed, I really love my job! I think the tourism industry is the best choice for me. I don’t picture myself doing anything else. I respect and love my customers. I love the Himalayan nature and my country.

I am a guide and I love it.

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