Interview of Jean La Haye, Receptour Guide
We were glad to welcome Jean La Haye, Receptour guide, for an interview. Along our meeting, we were able to retrace his career before becoming a guide and we talk about the advice he likes to give to travelers to enjoy most of their trips.
Hello Jean, thank you very much for this interview with us! Can you tell us about your professional background before becoming a guide?
I studied geology at UQAM, and I started working in this field after my graduation. However, in 1995, I was looking for a new job and some friends who were working as guides for groups in Montreal offered me to work with them for at the peak of the holiday season.
I traveled a lot during my studies, so I accepted the job as a temporary work. Eventually, I ended up guiding more and more tours until I ended up working in another related field where I organized tours for contemporary dancers. I eventually missed guiding and decided to go back to it in 2006.
According to you, what do you think are the most crucial guide’s skills?
It is a tricky question. As a guide, you don’t really see how other guides work. There is the city guides and the drivers, so I guess there must be many good ways to be a guide! That said, the first quality that comes to mind would be being curious. Travelers are always very curious and usually has a high level of culture, so it’s essential to be able to interact with them.
You also have to be a good listener, because this is a job where you have to constantly adjust to the needs of your clients.
Above all, I think you have to love your job, love to travel and be on the road all the time.
What is the thing you like most about your job?
What I like most about this job is the fact that I get to meet a lot of people and that I get to touch a lot of subjects, whether it is history, music or even geology. The travelers come on a guided tour to travel, and thanks to that they make me travel with them in return, by telling me about their countries of origin. It’s really exciting to hear all these different stories.
What would be your advice to travelers to get the most out of their trips?
I think it really depends on each traveler. My advice would be : open your mind. Don’t expect things to be exactly as you imagine. Unxepected situation leads to the most unforgettable trips!
You must have gone on a lot of different trips. Do you have one that has marked you the most?
I don’t necessarily have one trip that stood out for me.
If I had to name one type of situation, I think it would be a situation where I was in New York City on the Staten Island Ferry with a group that I had been on a tour with for several days. I had a lot of clients with motor disabilities, a visually impaired client, a client with a severe disability, and there was a large crowd on the ferry. It was difficult to get the whole group together and I was afraid of losing some people. However, that day I felt a great spirit of cohesion and synergy in this group of people who were helping each other and also helping me, even though we had only known each other a few days.
Beyond the memories of the trips that we keep, the group spirit that comes out of these experiences is really extraordinary. We don’t know each other, but 10 days later we shared a trip and a lot of everyday moments together, we become almost friends thanks to the fusion of the trip!
And if you had to do one Receptour tour over and over again, which one would it be?
I think I would mention the program Splendors of the East between Niagara, Toronto, Tadoussac and its whales and the Lac Saint-Jean. It is a classic but it is very pleasant to do, and it covers the essentials to see in Eastern Canada.
Do you have any words to conclude this interview?
Sharing trips with people who are initially strangers, but open to others always leads to a friendly atmosphere and make really beautiful encounters. The way people go from strangers to friends through travel is what makes me love this job so much.
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