Second up in our Meet Vantigo series, hailing from sunny SoCal, is Eddie Guerena- teacher, joker, and tour guide extraordinaire.
What were you doing in your pre-Vantigo life, and what prompted you to make the switch?
Before Vantigo I was a history teacher and vice-Principal at Balboa Middle School in Ventura, California. I made the switch to Vantigo when Erik reached out to a handful of his friends, via email, to see if there was anyone interested in joining his start up company of one. I’ve known Erik for over a decade and when he started Vantigo as a potential business, I thought it was a genius idea that could spread and be marketable in different parts of California. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to see what it’d be like to be a part of a growing business. In addition, the idea of living in SF has always excited me so the combination of the job and the city seemed like a perfect fit.
Do you have a favorite Vantigo tradition?
My favorite Vantigo tradition is engaging with bystanders that are walking the streets of SF and are captivated by our vans. You feel like a celebrity when rolling down the streets in these vehicles and people stop in their tracks to admire them. They take photos, wave and smile, and I respond by honking, waving or giving the thumbs up as we continue to go on our way. It’s such a simple gesture, yet it leaves a lasting impression. It’s nice to know that I’ve made someone’s day simply by driving by.
How has Vantigo changed since you started working here?
When I started with Vantigo it was just Erik and I figuring things out as we went along. We were two guys, with two vans in a garage in the Marina District. There was no script or manual to starting this business so we simply went by trial and error. We’ve modified tours, routes, jokes, music, etc. Now we’ve moved to a bigger space on the Embarcadero that accommodates three vans, we have two additional employees, and have added more tours to our itineraries. It’s very exciting to be a part of this growth and I’m even more enthused to see where we can take it down the road.
What’s your best joke?
My best joke? Hmmmm… I definitely have a lot of bad ones but my favorite would have to be when I see a stumbling toddler either at Golden Gate Park or on a random sidewalk and I accuse them of drinking too much.
What’s your favorite San Francisco factoid?
My favorite factoid of San Francisco would probably have to be the irony of the John McLaren statue.
Vantigo is a company that values the spirit of travel. What have been your biggest lessons from time you’ve spent traveling?
The biggest lessons that I’ve learned through my travel experiences is that travel helps you gain perspective on what life is really all about. It’s about seeing everything you can possibly see, tasting everything you can possibly taste, and learning everything you can possibly learn. There is no better school or educational institution than traveling the world. It changes you, and as you change, so does your view of the world and of others in it.
What superpower would you most want to have?
If I had to choose a superpower it would actually have to be to not have one and be a billionaire like Bruce Wayne/Batman. Batman has no superpowers but still manages to be a superhero. Be like Batman everyone!