Tourists will also find difficulties in getting their bookings done had they wanted to try hiking in KL. A prevalent common problem but OpenSky’s Kevin and Amos had probably known it was a puzzle they could easily solve.
The pursuit for OpenSky actually began before it even became a business. It was just Amos and the late Kevin Tan then who started off by taking church friends hiking over the weekends and during the holiday season. Ben their common friend over on the other side of KL in Hulu Klang was also doing the same with his own church mates. This innocent hobby slowly ballooned for Amos and Kevin when their entourage got larger and larger. It led to one trip which was tailored for about 40 school going children over a three-day camp. Five of such camps took place in 2009 and at the end of the last trip, “There’s some money to be made and there’s demand for it,” said the late Kevin to Amos. They began talking and the rest as they say is history.
But things began to unsettle for Ben when he saw pictures posted on facebook.
“Aww man, they’re doing it,” laments Ben. “I would always ask if you need part time guide, let me know.”
More than just a third wheel, Ben was as qualified as the duo in handling amateurs. All three were in fact so committed to the trade that they actually took up the Wilderness First Responders (WFR) certification.
“We were looking for the best outdoor course to equip us.”
The all weather and all terrain two weeks course in India afforded them with the skills to tackle outdoor challenges and real life emergencies. Passing the grueling 80% Scenario Based training meant you’ll be certified for outdoor’s gold standard. Although the WFR may be alien to Malaysians but over in America, regular hikers know what they mean.
“It gives them confidence when they see we are certified,” and that has become the emblem that attracted more and more customers.
“Everyday is a small success.” – Amos Ho
“We even have this one client from England who have come to us a few times already. The first trip for him was so good that whenever he comes here for a holiday he would engage us for a trip.”
They went on to describe that some clients may be apprehensive in the beginning but some hours later, they all conclude the trip with a big smile, with “I can’t believe I’ve done it” written all over their faces.
“It’s fulfillment,” Ben says for running his own business “and sure beats receiving emails from the bosses.” But the road to where they are today hasn’t always been straight. There were arduous challenges where they had to balance their very own paycheques and quiet days.
An Idle Mind…
“In the first month, we only had five trips, doubts really set it,” Amos recalls.