“In 1990, I worked briefly as a tour guide. The job became a deep-seeded passion in me. After graduation, I’d the option to choose any work, but I chose to be a tour guide. I’m the first graduate Guide who worked full time. Life hereon was full of surprises.
Nothing I did felt like a job but a paid vacation to see places I couldn’t imagine otherwise. One day, I’d be welcoming new faces at the Paro airport, & the next, we’d be chilling together at the base of Jomolhari. It kept getting better & people I met as guests, left as life-long friends.

As a tour guide, you could be tested with knowledge of anything under the sun. In 1994, we didn’t have google maps or GPS, & a guest asked me the altitude every 10 mins during our trek. I’d calculate mentally from our last location & tell him & he’d be satisfied. Next he asked me the model of the helicopter inspecting the flood in the valley of lunana. I said ‘3 Y 3639’. He laughed & his wife laughed too. I’d seen a Chopper for the first time there.

In a career spanning 27 years, I met some famous faces too. In a group of 13 people in 2000, was the actor Demi Moore. My eyes couldn’t find her instantly in the airport, as I pictured her tall from her movies. We played poker and went disco-dancing. For a celebrity of her level, she was very humble.

My British friends, Diana and Pam visited Bhutan 7 times. People recognized us after we visited the same places thrice. They came bearing numerous gifts for the lamas & the local villagers & made many friends. A few years ago, Pam passed away. I lit butter lamps & prayed for her; the least one could do for a good friend.

At 53, I’m still a guide, though the pandemic threatens to wipe out our whole industry. To make best use of time, with the help of volunteers, I started organizing cleaning campaigns. It became my goal to make Bhutan, zero waste by 2030. We collected tonnes of garbage & reserved our weekends only for this. On our invitation, the PM also joined us in a cleaning campaign, boosting our morale.
Looking back to my school days, I’d always been passionate about waste management & who knew it’d take a pandemic to rediscover that.”
#humanstory #HumansofThimphu #thimphu

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