Fear of going with the flow


One day, I became an aeronautical engineer. Life promised to be easy. At just 24, I’d just bought a case of good wine for a future cellar. Bourgeois and settled, I was going to be. But then I became afraid of myself. Was my life already mapped out? Would my travel dreams take second place to accumulating RRSPs, buying a nice house or a high-performance car? There’s nothing wrong with these choices, but what’s a life without surprises, without the unknown? I was afraid of going with the flow. Enough to change course and become a science teacher for five years. I never practiced my engineering profession, but I enjoyed the experience of teaching, especially as I enjoyed long summer vacations. As an avid climber and hiker, I had to go to the Himalayas. But there was a big problem: at this time of year, Nepal is hit by monsoon rains, making trekking impossible. The solution was obvious: I had to change jobs again, or, more simply, create a new one, especially as the business I had in mind didn’t exist in Quebec.

It was under the influence of Tintin albums, Indiana Jones films and my need to see the world that I created an adventure tourism agency: Karavaniers. Entrepreneurship was not at all part of my career objectives. In fact, had I ever had one? I had sweaty hands as a mountain guide: crossing an avalanche zone, when the Twin Otter pilot wanted to land on a runway that seemed no bigger than a schoolyard. Or when I was caught in a memorable snowstorm in Nepal at 5,000 m altitude, waiting for helicopter rescue with eight passengers and 23 sherpas.

But in business, I’ve never had sweaty palms. Despite several events that have had a huge impact on international tourism: the attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Iraq, the financial crisis of 2008 and, above all, the pandemic. I knew I had to be bold to overcome these trials because, more than anything, I wanted to continue seeing the world. And to let others see it.

Today, my responsibility as an entrepreneur obliges me to take action to reduce the carbon impact of my international tours. It’s a commitment I’ve pursued for several years in the same spirit that motivated me from the start of my entrepreneurial adventure: out of absolute necessity.

Richard Rémy

Founder of Karavaniers and guide