Iresh – Local guide in Sri Lanka
“One day when I hang up my boots, I want others to say that he did a great job with a lot of passion.”
When did you first start working as a chauffeur- guide and what made you join the travel industry?
It was in 2011 when I first started as a chauffeur- guide. Before that, I did a 9-5 desk job as an accounts assistant which was quite boring for me. First of all, I did the Chauffeur- Guide course programme, got my license and started off right away. What made me join this industry was, of course, my passion to travel, meet new people and communicate with them. Getting paid to do this is actually quite awesome, isn’t it? This job also allows me to continue a lot of my hobbies as well on the job.
What are your hobbies and what do you like to do at home when you are not on a tour?
I actually have a lot of hobbies and like to keep myself busy and active. I really like photography, singing and playing the guitar. When I am at home, sometimes I play cricket with my friends and also visit the village temple. Being a chauffeur- guide has allowed me to further follow my passion in photography. For example, last year when we had an extended off season, I put together some of the images in my collection which were captured at different national parks of the country and compiled a coffee table book on Wild Elephants of Sri Lanka and presented the very first copy to Khiri Travel Sri Lanka.
What makes you enjoy conducting tours for Khiri Travel Sri Lanka?
Before starting to do Khiri Tours in 2015, most of the tours that I did were very much the same old tour which is quite mainstream. But since I started doing tours for Khiri, I have learned from each tour which is different from one another. With a lot of signature programs coming in to play in each tour, I have enjoyed the tours more and there’s always space for me to be creative as well. I was also requested to capture photos of some of the signature experiences which I consider as a privilege. I’ve seen myself grow and improve with each tour.
What are the things that you do to make things more special for your guests?
Well, it’s actually about doing little things that make it special, not really rocket science. Sometimes I carry my guitar with me on tour and sing a couple of local songs for the guests and teach them a song or two. I capture photos of all my guests while on tour (of course with their permission) and at the end of the tour prepare a collage of photos and gift that as a souvenir. And of course, there are so many other spontaneous little things.
What are your future aspirations?
Right now I have written the exam to be a National Guide (who can guide groups of more than 7 people) and awaiting results at the moment. Whatever I do, I want to do it right and make sure all my guests depart with a happy face and great memories. There’s one quote that I love (and also have printed on my vehicle) – “The Song is ended but the Melody lingers on”. One day when I hang up my boots, I want others to say that he did a great job with a lot of passion.