A new year trip in Lan Ha bay

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After a wonderful trip to start new year in Lan Ha bay, there are some things I want to remember

1. Prepare

A few hours for logistics, but it actually takes 12 years to learn language and 2,5 years to get some experiences. Such a long time to be comfortable and natural in this profession (or any kind of job I guess). I used to be burnt out by enthusiasm. Not anymore.

That’s why I am not very excited about interns. So eager about transforming into sb else, they r like “Can u give me some formulas, guidelines, etc?”

Time. Work. Constant work. That’s the “formula”.

The funny thing about experience spectrum: the more naive you are, the more eager you become. And with customer service jobs, sometimes it pays off. That’s why tour company like new blood. New blood or interns always go out of their way to deliver and prove. In return, employers motivate by lavish compliments. Why not? Lavish compliments don’t cost a thing.

And that’s exactly what new ppl crave for: appreciation.

They can TAKE ADVANTAGE of your enthusiasm if they can. That’s it in business. But eventually, If you are good, you stay. If not, you are out.

Sometimes it’s not about being good but being suitable. Another complicated story. Just because we are humans, unpredictable animals.

2. Expect nothing

Weather can be bad and guests can be demanding. And it’s fine.

Anytime there are some people you can’t handle, you learn st to approach next time.

3. Make the most of surprises.

Don’t promise surprises (what u can’t control or surely deliver). If it comes, cool, ride with it.

4. Know you role.

Things happen for a reason: cash from customers, teamwork. I am part of a chain and I don’t overrate my role.

However, in interactions, just be “there”. Forget about real drives behind things. Just be there as a person to listen, share and observe.

Give people space. Be there when it’s necessary. Stay away when it’s not.

5. Know your privileges and enjoy it

Sure work can be great. Because Why not? 😉



Sometimes I feel lost. Today is such a day

I am about to write something about tour guides as “jack of all trades, master of none” and while surfing Google to find evidences to back up premises, an interesting interview of a tour guide in Europe popped up.



I have been a tour guide for nearly 2 years and the process has boosted my confidence considerably (when I am in tour scene only ha ha), yet the question of being “jack of all trades, master of none” has always bothered me, especially after observing lots of experienced tour guides starting to lose their passion and be stuck. They end up not being able to do anything stable or interesting enough and get to a survival mental state of mind.

After many years having fun with their job, discovering places, culture, photography, meeting new people, they turn to a period which I name “a bittersweet turn”: not so young and energetic, not too old for retirement, knowing many things yet nothing is deep enough. Yep, They become “jack of all trades, master of none”.

Comparing tour guides in Hanoi (whom I know) and this Ben, I can understand why he is more passionate: the coverage of “Best of Europe” tour is surely much wider than classic tours offered in this city and therefore his knowledge thirst may last longer, but there must be one thing that we can learn:

Yet even when we have brought to add our own taste to tours, is it enough for us not to be insecure anymore, to be “a master of one” ??

What is your personal touch that sets u apart from other guides and do u maintain it during tours?

Tho, an experienced tour guide for Vietnamtourism (30A Ly Thuong kiet, Hanoi) told me once: a big mistake of tour guide is talking too much. Forget about it, in this era of information they can always find what they want on the Internet.

If that is the case then what is a guide for as an information provider?

– To turn information to stories (many people call that “lipservice — chém gió). Become excellent story tellers ?

– Focus on “area expertise” so deeply that u can be secure and stand out (and R u sure that your information doesn’t exist SOMEWHERE on the Internet? 😉

Be a companion rather than a guide?

– If you level up or level down your knowledge in tour, does it affect the tour compared to other skills?

Who are u then? I bet if we don’t answer this for ourselves soon then the “bittersweet turn” would come as fast as flashlight.

Hmm, need to think more about this.