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I Was Paid to Travel

14 March 2017 by Urbania
I was paid to travel

It’s your dream job, and hundreds of people want it. To land it, you need to find a way to stand out. That's what Samantha did to become a tour guide in Asia.

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Getting paid to travel, discover new cultures and meet people from all over the world seems too good to be true. That's what Samantha* thought before coming across the Tous azimuts ad in Voir newspaper.

The travel agency was looking to fill three guide positions. The timing was perfect: after finishing her undergrad in education, Samantha spent four months roaming around Asia, and she'd just returned. At the age of 25, she didn't see herself taking a full-time teaching job and doing that for the rest of her life. One day, sure. But not right away.

So she sent her resume to the agency, like hundreds of other equally keen people. To stand out, she knew she needed to do more than that.

Without any prior notice, Samantha went to downtown Montreal to meet the Tous azimuts team. "They told me they were looking for people who don't get homesick after a week and who can manage human beings on vacation." Clearly, they were on the same page: she was invited to an interview the next day.

It went really well. But unfortunately another candidate had more experience than she did, and the Asia-specific guide position slipped through her fingers. "This doesn't mean the door is closed," the boss assured her.

He had no idea to what extent she would take his words to heart.

That year, Samantha took on a few small teaching contracts, nothing too demanding, and hopped on a plane whenever she could. The Tous azimuts agency started receiving postcards from Thailand, Vietnam, Tibet, all signed by Samantha. She described her adventures and reminded them she still wanted to work for them. It was her way of making herself unforgettable.

Every two months, she'd update her resume with the new places she’d visited, and send it to the agency. "When I was in town, I'd stop by and say hello. I’m sure when they saw me coming they’d say, ‘okay, whose turn is it to talk to her this time?’”

Despite all her efforts, they still didn't have a job for her. Too bad for them. Samantha looked elsewhere and was offered a job with another agency that she didn't like quite as much. Before accepting the offer, she called Tous azimuts back, just in case. "No way, we're the ones who are going to hire you!" said the boss. "When can you start?"

Samantha worked as a guide for them for 10 years. She can't even count how many times she's been to Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Nepal… "I know Bangkok better than Quebec City!"

Now, Samantha has a job as a teacher. Every year, the boss at Tous azimuts calls her to ask her to go back to being a guide. "It took me a long time to open that door," says Samantha, "and I know it's always going to be open."

*Fictitious name

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