Francisco Escobar Interview
GUIDE Q&A: Francisco Escobar
The man who is sure to get a smile out of every guest, talks about his past in the military and building the ideal day at Nimmo Bay Resort in B.C.
By: SANDY CUNNINGHAM
Q: We hear you were in the Canadian army and that’s how you got into guiding. Can you give us the whole story?
A: I was a Reserve Force officer—achieved the rank of captain—on a full-time contract for just under eight years. I was part of a team of five officers that provided support to over 50 units spread throughout the province of British Columbia. My particular duties were to approve and review all plans for over 350 adventure- and expedition-related activities a year, as well as to support and coordinate logistics to ensure all activities were safe. These activities included kayaking, rock climbing, avalanche skills training, trekking, canoeing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and more.
Essentially I got to a point where I needed to move on from the constraints and restrictions of the federal government. Through those years, I truly found my passion and purpose in coordinating and facilitating adventure activities. I love people, and I love anticipating and facilitating adventure needs for people. It was around this time that I decided this was the industry I wanted to be in.
“I thought to myself, if I could retire tomorrow, what would I want to do? The answer was travel and experience the world."
One by-product of those years in the military was that I not only met some really amazing people but also developed a network of industry professionals in the civilian world that turned into long-lasting friendships and working partnerships.
Q: You have the ultimate adventurous lifestyle: six months in B.C. and six months in Chile. Tell us about how this came about.
A: I was born in Chile and had been in Canada for 22 years, with little time spent back in Chile until the last couple years. I decided to start Gear Up Adventures Inc. two years before leaving the military in order to encompass my passion, desires, and ability to use my proven experience and diverse established network—as well as to get back to Chile on a regular basis. I remember being so nervous writing and re-writing my “I quit” letter over a period of several months. I was taking a leap from a stable career for a chance to pursue a lifestyle that was more in line with my vision of a happy life.
Q: And what brought you to Nimmo Bay Resort?
A: Two days after leaving the military, I got an e-mail from Fraser Murray from this Nimmo Bay place I had not heard of. He happened to be searching adventure companies online and somehow stumbled across mine. In his e-mail, he introduced himself and essentially just made contact with the context of sharing potential clients in the future. A few e-mails later he sent me a job description for the adventure-guide role for Nimmo. After looking at the website and job description, I knew I wanted it! This was at the start of the Wilderness and Wildlife Adventure package that is now at Nimmo, and I am so excited to be a part of that growth that has now exploded. Gear Up Adventures is now focused on the off-season from Nimmo, which is summer in Chile, and that has been my life for the last three years.
Q: What is it about Nimmo that keeps drawing people back year after year?
A: People. I truly believe that the people we see here have the choice to travel anywhere in the world and they continue to come back because this is not just another destination or “resort.” It is a home away from home. It is a summer cottage. It is where they feel as though they are at a friend’s house or surrounded by family.
From the Murray family to all the staff, everyone in every aspect continually makes a conscious effort to create an atmosphere that is so unique and personalized that it becomes easy and comfortable for people to be at home here. You are not the Mr. and Mrs. from room 150, you are Sandy or Chip with two lovely little girls who start school tomorrow and are still recovering from their broken arm or first love. We strive to personalize every aspect and we have learned that the relationships we have built become more important than the physical location.
"The experiences are real, the surroundings are magical, the atmosphere is genuine and the most important thing is the people."
This is hard to put into words. Just a little while ago, I stepped out into the dining room to speak to a longtime guest who isn’t in the best health. He said something to me that really stuck. He said, “This place is about family and a place that even heaven can wait for.”
Q: It seems like everyone loves Nimmo, but there’s always that one. What happens when you get a guest who doesn’t behave?
A: We strive to personalize everyone’s experience, and when we perhaps miss the mark on any given day we strive to address the issue as soon as it arises and through continual dialogue. We work to achieve a solution or compensation for whatever the problem may have been. This isn’t something that happens often, if at all, so I don’t have too many experiences to speak from. The owners and staff are willing to do the unthought-of to go the extra mile and in this case to settle any potential glitch. If that, combined with the magic of this place, doesn’t do it for them then perhaps they should’ve stayed home!
Learn more about our founding family's trip to Nimmo Bay Resort and the destination itself on the Journal.
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Francisco Escobar Interview
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