Train tour guide: 'The best experience of my life'
Journalism and Dance graduate, 2010
Summer tour guide for White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Skagway, Alaska
Duties: Giving on-board tours about Alaska, Canada and the gold rush to about 600 people per train, up to three trains per day. Kind of a combination of tour guide, flight attendant, social hostess and baby sitter for the tourists. If I wasn't giving the tour, I was walking through the train to interact with passengers and make sure they were happy. We also sold a hat and DVD on board, too.
Time commitment: June through October. Usually about 6:45 a.m. to as late as 7:30. (There was always wonderful opportunity for overtime).
Cost: Housing provided with rent, $350 per month. I was lucky because I got a nice, modern, clean duplex to live in. I was able to take care of all my food with the tips I made. Skagway living is expensive because everything is barged in. Standard price for a meal is $15. Milk is about $5 or $6. I ate out a lot because it wasn't always that much more cost effective or convenient to cook. A good tip day for me was around $80.
Nomura got to see some beautiful scenery during
her work in Alaska.
Best part of the job: I've never had an easier time making friends, not even in college. My co-workers were basically like me, young women in that place between undergraduate school and whatever comes next, career or graduate school.
Worst part of the job: Sometimes I was pretty exhausted and was not able to get as much exercise as I'd like. Luckily though, if you have the time, there's plenty of opportunities for great outdoor activities like biking, climbing and hiking.
Recommendation: I most definitely recommend the job, especially to Communication, Journalism, Theater or Dance majors who like storytelling and performing. Good luck though. It is tough to get hired, as they receive a couple hundred applicants per year.
Advice: If you can find a good job, one that you've researched or heard about from a friend and know is legitimate, GO FOR IT. You're young and you have the rest of your life to have a career and family. Working in Alaska was, no joke, the best experience of my life.