Guides

B&R guides are an exceptional group. They are consummate hosts, mind readers and raconteurs. Think teachers, painters, travel writers, architects, botanists and biologists. You should see their CVs. They’ve lived all over the world. They speak a gazillion languages. And they’re ridiculously fun to be around.  Here are just some of B&R’s talented guides:

ABBY VAN OERS

Even though Abby may have farmed cattle in Alberta and sheared sheep in New Zealand, you’ll never feel like one of the herd in her company. She also reveals some gentler skills, as her time in a Parisian bookshop and freelancing for Disney Comics would attest, though this native of Holland is always geared to go. Hence, her love of yoga, speed skating and, believe it, renaissance dancing.

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AGUSTIN CALVETTI

After studying anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires, Agustin followed in the footsteps of both George Butterfield and B&R president Norman Howe, abandoning academia in favour of more hedonistic endeavours. But ever inquisitive, for Agustin hedonism means assisting archaeologists and palaeontologists with field work when he’s not busy researching or guiding for B&R.

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ALESSIO FRANGIONI

Alessio is an experienced guide, veterinarian, and carpenter with a keen ability to put the intricacies of local life into context. This Italian has been seeing the world and guiding with B&R for over 8 years. He loves to hike, bike, fix up old houses and really get to the heart of the region, and its people.

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ALEX GRAEFE

Alex is a Berliner who loves all things Tuscan and spends his winters biking in New Zealand. Having guided over 25 trips, he recently returned from biking in Argentina and Brazil. He is such a kind-hearted and caring person, he even drove a dog home after it joined the group walking.

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ALEX MALLORY

Priding himself on his knack for adventure, Alex may have a different definition of “leisure” time than most of us. Counting rock climbing, martial arts, skiing and scuba diving among his favourite hobbies, Alex’s interests are as diverse as they are active. When possible, he prefers to get his adrenaline fix through a region’s local customs, be it in a kung fu training camp in China, or teaching skiing in the Swiss Alps.

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ALICE VAN DER VOORT

Alice was born in the royal town of The Hague. Growing up in Holland meant learning to ride a bike and to skate right after learning to walk. Being a real Flying Dutch(wo)man, she has lived in many parts of the world and now has her principle residence in Italy. Her penchant for dancing on tables is legendary.

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AMANDA GARY

To say Amanda’s resume is varied would be understating things slightly. Unless, of course, you know someone else who’s CV includes ski patroller, bookkeeper, a stint in a lawyer’s office, Italian tutor, freelance writer and, briefly, sandwich board—wearing empanada saleswoman. Such diversity has been a driving force in Amanda’s career and has translated into her travels. Now based in Buenos Aires, the native of Malibu, California has guided more than 20 trips in regions ranging from Italy to Ireland.

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ANNIK BOULVA

After successfully completing her degree in Business Management, and her masters in Psychosocial Aspects of Sport, Annik left the classroom behind to pursue her passion for adventure! A great lover of the outdoors, this athlete can be found skiing, biking, practicing yoga and playing hockey in her free time.

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ANTHONY WEERSING

Raised on the West Coast, Anthony’s heart lies across the Pacific in Japan where he studied political science and traditional Japanese woodworking. His personal connection to Japan is deepened with every new traveller he opens it up to. “These people have travelled the world and have seen the best of many other countries,” he says. “When they gush about Japan’s countryside, cuisine and contrasts, I take it as a validation for the years I’ve spent in thrall to the same things.”

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CAMILLE RIVIERE

Splitting her time between New York, Paris and the vineyards of France, Camille seamlessly blends busy urban life with B&R’s “slow down” ethos. She also shares our affinity wine, going so far as to start her own wine import company specializing in biodynamic French wines.

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CARLO PRIMIANI

An Italo-French Canadian who grew up in the Middle East, Carlo is also former resident of both Montréal and Dubai. He loves to cycle in Italy, has built houses in Tanzania and assisted with health care research in Bangladesh. Wherever he goes Carlo shares his passion for music, international development and the environment.

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CHRIS GOODWIN

It’s a not-unfamiliar tale among B&R guides and staffers: Chris was on the fast track to retirement in the corporate world before giving up the safety of the office for the allure of the road. Teaming up with B&R in 2004, Chris has guided more than 40 trips in locales as diverse as Iceland and Vietnam, but focuses primarily on his native continent, guiding countless trips in South Africa and Rwanda.

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CHRISTINA NICK

From sculptor and art teacher, to wildlife guide and naturalist for the Provincial Parks of Canada, Christina’s life experiences are comprehensive. Her talent shines through in her artwork and outlook on life as she continuously searches the world for inspiration. Christina has led biking and hiking trips in France, Spain and the Galapagos Islands—her illustrations have appeared in B&R brochures and our favourite (of a blue-footed boobie) adorns a wall at the Toronto office!

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DALE SHERROW

A Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, Dale is an adventure seeker whose passion revolves around learning the intricacies of people, culture, and most importantly local cuisine. An avid surfer and snowboarder, he can just as easily explain corporate finance as Volnay Premier Cru.

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DANE TREDWAY

Over the last ten years, Dane’s travels have taken him across the globe, from Cape Town to Katmandu, and finally to London, England where he’s settled now. Dane’s love for the outdoors and sense of adventure are infectious. He’s a runner and skier who loves trekking, spelunking, and scuba diving, but at heart, he’s also a creative guy who has an equal appreciation for photography, a hidden-gem hotel and a farm-to-table meal. Dane is a Toronto native and a writer when not guiding for B&R.

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DANA QUINN

After spending 10 years in the ultra dynamic world of insurance consulting, Dana started guiding for B&R as is still at it 10 years and over 120 trips later. Now—when she’s not vacationing on a sailboat in the Caribbean—she can be found guiding biking and hiking trips around the beautiful terrain of Italy (and Greece, Ireland, Croatia, Vietnam…).

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DANIEL BOWER

Biker, snowboarder, scuba diver, mountaineer, bungee jumper, and ultimate frisbee pro, Daniel has a thirst for adventure that seems to never be quenched. Living in Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand & Ecuador, and travelling throughout six continents, have left Daniel with an infectious sense of curiosity and enthusiasm.

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DARIUS ARJANG

With a passion for walking, hiking, biking and finding those out-of-the-way restaurants Michelin hasn’t heard of (yet), not to mention his ability to speak both German and French, two trips quickly turned to seven after Darius started guiding for B&R on a break from his teaching job in 2006.

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DENIS LUCCANTONI

You’ll be excused if you can’t keep up with Denis, given he is a former Olympian and short track speed skater who won the European Championships not so long ago. A natural athlete who loves biking, hiking, surfing and, of course, skating, Denis guides summer trips and then spends his winters teaching skiing in the French Alps. Seriously. Oh, he’s also is fluent in French and Spanish.

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DIEGO GRAU

Hailing from a small Castilian town, Diego gave up a career in biology, but not his lifelong obsession with the subject, when he began guiding trips in Africa. While he’s always been athletic, he says “many things fell into place” when he took up cycling and “found the simple and pure happiness that the path brings you.” (Around these parts we actually refer to “the path” as the slow road, but Diego’s new, so we’ll let it slide.)

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DOMINIC GIOSSAN

Having guided since the Clinton administration, there are few corners of the globe where Dominic’s left a stone unturned: from Morocco to Myanmar, British Columbia to the Baltics, it might be faster to list the regions where he hasn’t guided. Of course, with six languages under his belt and five degrees to his name, the only thing more diverse than Dom’s passport is his CV.

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EMILY HORTON

If her degrees in psychology, French and teaching somehow fail to serve Emily Horton well as a B&R guide (spoiler alert: they won’t), she can always fall back to her other love, music. (Yep, she has a degree in that too.) In between racking up degrees and singing in her university’s a capella jazz choir, she’s also managed to visit 39 countries.

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ERIC SPONSELLER

From teaching English in Austria, to living in a rondavel working with HIV-affected children in Lesotho, to baking bread in New York City, Eric’s path hasn’t been typical of a born and bred Ohio boy. He currently lives in the natural playground of Cape Town, sharing his time between running and cycling around the mountains and growing his artisan tea business. Always open to new adventures, Eric’s easy-going attitude and natural inclination to say yes to interesting opportunities have allowed him to develop an eclectic skill set and continue to fuel his passion for travel.

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ERIK RUTHERFORD

In this business we’re well familiar with those acute cases of wanderlust, and while Erik may show some gentler symptoms of it—given he has lived in Vancouver, Berlin, Stockholm and now Toronto after living in Paris for eight years—he always has an eye on exploring new parts of the world. When not guiding in France he pursues a freelance career on the culture beat.

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ERIN REED

For Erin, traversing countries under her own speed is a quiet obsession that she embraces with characteristic enthusiasm. If not walking or running the route, pedalling the roads or climbing the hills and mountains, she can be found at her seaside home anticipating her next excursion and living her mantra of, “Life is short but sweet for certain, let’s celebrate.”

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FANNY VIRET

Swiss-born Fanny’s natural curiosity has led her to some of the world’s most out-there destinations: she lived in the Congo for six months while working with Médecins Sans Frontières, and just recently rode her bike through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. France is essentially her backyard, and she’s a regular feature on our trips in Burgundy, Provence and the Loire. Her current challenges: learning Finnish and working towards a diploma in Environmental and International Development.

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GIACOMO FANO

Giacomo is an avid traveller and certified sport climbing instructor who enjoys rock climbing, sailing and skiing, but he believes that the best way to see the world is on a bicycle. A rarity as a true Venice native, Giacomo he can be found guiding throughout Italy – Puglia, Tuscany, Piemonte, the Dolomites and his home-Venice.

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GIORGIO VALVASORRI

Giorgio is a speedy Cortina d’Ampezzo-born cyclist who dreams of steep hills and Tuscan vistas. When he’s not guiding with B&R, Giorgio lives on a boat moored off the Tuscan island, Elba.

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GIOVANNI BETTIO

A student of oenology, Giovanni can’t get enough of the deep blue sea, the smiles on the faces of travellers after an uphill ride, and Puglisi pasta. He enjoys wine tasting classes, hiking on glaciers, skiing in the Alps, and discovering the world.

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JAMES BOYD

A true adventurer, Boyd has travelled throughout the world to pursue his loves of climbing. His specialty coincides with his love for Morocco, where his career in guiding began by instructing and accompanying novice climbers. Since then, James has visited Argentina, Peru, Chile, and most recently Bolivia to photograph the Bolivian High Lands and its people.

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JEFF CONDRY

After studying French at the University of Oregon, Jeff Condry knew he was destined to ping pong between the U.S. and France after spending a year studying in Lyon. A lover of languages, soccer, people, and all things Francais, he’s split his last few years teaching English in Nimes, France and biking the hills of Portland, Oregon.

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JENNIFER MOORE

A lover of “all things foreign,” Jennifer has spanned the globe in pursuit of her passions. Having travelled from South America to Tibet, with a three-month stint in Italy in between, the linguistic specialist—she speaks French, Italy and Spanish— recently settled in the Jersey Islands between France and the UK. In addition to marathon running (she completed her first one in 2011), she counts yoga, cuisine dinner parties among her favourite things.

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JORDAN BOWER

Jordan has been following itchy feet since his teens. His footsteps have taken him through more than 50 countries, including a 316 day solo walking trip from Canada to Mexico in 2010. He’s got a special love in his soles for India, where he’s spent more than two years touring, photographing, and perfecting his head-bobble.

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JUDIT ILLES

A Hungarian native, when she isn’t guiding she might be bike racing in South Africa. She is an oeno and once worked in a wine shop in Chianti and now owns an online wine shop and organizes wine tastings for wine lovers.

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LEWIS EVANS

A man whose backyard for guiding includes France, Italy and Spain, Lewis is a battle-hardened traveller who has many entertaining chapters of his travel escapades to share with others. Hitchhiking races to Amsterdam, intrepid bike tours, theatre productions in Switzerland and one notorious story that involves a flamenco dancer—this is just the tip of the iceberg. Best inquire further in an up close and personal sort of way.

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LUCA PACCHIONI

When Luca’s parents loaded him into the camper van at the age of eight and toured the coast of Portugal the seed of adventure was firmly planted. Since then, this inveterate traveller has added numerous countries to his passport, but he will forever enjoy the chance to introduce travellers to his abiding passions of Italian food, wine and cooking for far too many, while leaving some room to discuss his professional pursuits in the world of architecture, which he studies in Madrid.

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MARCELA CALDAS

Marcela took time off from architecture to travel Bologna, Punjab Lahore in Pakistan and Colombia before getting back on the road with B&R. She enjoys art, architecture, sustainable productive landscape, and dancing, and is positive, always smiling and full of excitement about what’s to come.

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MATT O’HARA

With an MBA complementing undergraduate degrees in German and poli sci, Matt brings no shortage of pedigree to each trip he guides. Formerly B&R’s regional director of Central and Eastern Europe, Matt guided in more than a dozen countries spanning three continents. Now based in New York, Matt works on a new media start up when not on the road.

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MELANIE WEBB

A certified personal trainer, outdoor guide, and former wildlife biologist, Melanie is passionate about adding a health and wellness perspective to outdoor activities, reconnecting travellers with the beauty of the body and Mother Nature. When she’s not exploring the spectacular scenery in her own Utah backyard, she can be found stand up paddling in Bali, snowboarding the Andes Mountains, hiking the Atlas Mountains, or watching the Baja 250 off road race in Mexico between bowls of ceviche.

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OSCAR BIEDMA

It was curiosity that brought Oscar to Provence, where he became a carpenter in his teens, and then to school, where he earned a university degree in physical education in his mid-30s. But, he says it was consciousness that introduced him to biking, which he describes as “the best way to meditate.” On his bike he’s “meditated” in Canada, California, Spain, Germany and Morocco—while his curiosity introduced him to many new friends along the way.

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RAFA PRIETO MARTIN

Born in Spain, Rafa’s lust for life is surpassed only by his linguistic skills; in addition to his mother tongue, he speaks German, English, Italian and Portuguese, with a little French and Japanese thrown in for good measure. Now based in Brazil, Rafa “recovers” from his guiding seasons with B&R on the beaches of Ipanema, where Brazilian music provides him with “the melody the ears can dream of.”

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RICCARDO PASQUIN

Born in a small village in the Venetian countryside, Riccardo began traversing long distances on his bike as a teen, and has since discovered much of Europe, including Ireland, Bolivia and Portugal. He was able to stay off his bike long enough to earn one degree in culture and human rights and another in tourism, and continues to explore those corners of the world that remain unknown to him—a feat made easier by the fact that he speaks five languages! A genuine Italian, Riccardo loves discussing il bel paese (the beautiful country).

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RON JARUS

For a time, Ron imagined his future on a Chinese mountain, studying Taiji (Tai Chi) and sipping tea. While espresso has replaced the tea, and Tuscan hills the Sichuan peaks, you might still catch him moving slowly before availing himself of the nearest café. With academic degrees from the old and new worlds, Ron has travelled on five continents and led trips on three. You can ask him for directions in English, Mandarin, Hebrew or Italian, but he’ll likely answer in the latter with sempre dritto, meaning “keep straight”—the Roman answer for any address query.

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SAKIS MITSOULIS

Also known as Zorba, Sakis weaves a successful career as an artist in with his work as a B&R guide, where he helps travellers find the best that Croatia, Greece and Turkey have to offer.

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SARAH LEWIS

This globetrotter was bit by the travel bug at 14 when she went to camp in France and realized that the world’s borders go far beyond those of North America. Fast forward a few years through 22 countries, exchanges in Italy and Paris, summers in Argentina and Brazil, backpacking through Europe, and teaching English in Spain. After receiving her masters in Environment and Development, she arrived at B&R to put her extensive travel experience to use and continue checking destinations off her list.

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SCOTT MCEWEN

Montreal-born and Toronto-raised, Scott left his career in television in Canada to pursue a degree in cinema at the Sorbonne. An enthusiastic cyclist, Scott takes every opportunity to explore his new home town by Vélib, but don’t think you’re in for an easy ride with culture vulture Scott as your guide; he’s no stranger to spending hours in the saddle or to just slowing down and taking the slow road. Despite taking advantage of last-minute week-end getaways, teaching English to marketing executives, negotiating with gravity on the slopes of the Alps or working with UNESCO a few weeks a year, every now again, he still finds time to hit the books.

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SEBASTIAN ROMERO

Professionally, Sebastian sees the world through a lens as a filmmaker and photographer, but occasionally this native of Germany takes time away to help others see the world from a two-wheeled perspective. He has a particular affection for winter bike rides, albeit in southern climates, and loves capturing the world wherever snow can be found.

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SONIA TER HOVANESSIAN

This talented French-Armenian jazz singer grew up in the United Kingdom, but now calls Bologna home. Sonia’s passion for different cultures and its people led her to embark on her adventure as a guide and has been with for over seven years now. As well as her love for Italy, she also has a special place in her heart for her motherland, France, and enjoys introducing travelers to both countries. Sonia loves to combine both rhythm and wanderlust as you B&R guide.

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STEPHANE LECLERC

As French-Canadian graphic designer with a penchant for adventure, Stephane’s love of hockey is surpassed only by his passion for traversing the globe.

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STEPHANIE GULLEDGE

A person can find themselves in a lot of places after majoring in communication studies: an advertising firm, a newsroom, a marketing department. Steph ended up on a bike—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. After studying in Canada, Spain and France, Steph struck out on the road and—with the exception of a stint as B&R’s guide manager in which she learned the ins and outs of the business—she’s kept two wheels planted firmly on it ever since. Her travels have taken her across Europe, South America and Asia, and included stints living in both Costa Rica and Spain. Though she can’t wait to get back to Myanmar after her most recent guiding trip, she admits she’s crazy for tapas; just one of many reasons she’s thrilled to return to Spain.

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STEPHANIE STANFIELD

When this native of Canada’s East Coast listed her interests as “history, art, food/wine and biking,” we had a hunch that B&R would be the perfect fit for Steph. The former flight attendant came back to earth long enough for a small stint in the corporate world before abandoning all pretense and embracing her love of travel and leisure. After developing a taste for guiding as a member of the B&R sales team, in 2014 she decided to continue her life adventure as a full-time guide and resident of B&R’s European home, Beaune.

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TABITA MIOTTO

This Northern Italian girl is from a town outside of Venice where she loves to spend as much time as possible in the beautiful countryside with la famiglia. When she’s not shaving off a few strokes from her golf game or perfecting her swing, Tabita is often found in the warm Italian sun, tackling new hills on her bicycle.

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TATIANA BRISOLLA

Brazilian nature lover and biologist Tatiana spends her free time exploring our beautiful blue planet, from teaching biology in Brazil, to studying yoga in India. She currently resides in Switzerland and is always ready to start a new journey. Tatiana believes that there is nothing better than a moving at a biking pace to connect with the environment – we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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TELMO BARROS

Telmo calls his burning passion for outdoors adventures a calling, and rightfully so. After growing up on the Portuguese shores of the Atlantic ocean surfing, swimming, sailing and diving, he swapped the sea (“my second home”) for the slopes, dividing his winters between the Catalan Pyrenees and the peaks of western Canada.

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THILO ERHARDT

From the depths of the sea as a professional diver to the celestial wonders working at the European Space Agency, Thilo has certainly expanded his world of possible destinations in enviable fashion. His expertise when it comes to guiding is just as eclectic, as he is as comfortable guiding in Provence, Jordan, along the Dalmatian course, and—as someone who has earned his Italian language certificate in Florence—Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia and more. Way more.

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TIM RICHARDSON

Whether cutting trees down, sailing or biking, Tim is in his element. His passion for the outdoors comes in handy while guiding for B&R, and Tim just can’t get enough of travellers’ stories and reminiscing about the day’s events.

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TIM SCHELLENBERGER

Were Tim the type to have a business card, his would have a lot of slashes: German teacher/IT teacher/diving instructor/DJ/occasional drummer. (And that doesn’t even include B&R guide!)

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TOM McCARTHY

A veteran of nearly 20 B&R trips, Tom makes his escapes whenever time allows him to get away from his base in Ottawa. That is, if he’s not spending time in his other locale of Geneva.

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WILLIAM DEBOST

Born and raised in Paris, William moved to Montreal for his undergraduate studies. His passion for outdoor adventures can be traced back to his canoe trips across Canada, which brought him as far north as the Arctic tree line. Unable to escape his Frenchness, William holds a particular affection for the cultural and culinary treasures his native country has to offer. When not reading about financial crises or political economy, he enjoys playing soccer and listening to jazz.

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YVONNE POWER

A well-seasoned guide who briefly dipped her toe in the corporate world of marketing, Yvonne returned to her favourite region of Tuscany to guide with B&R. When Yvonne isn’t guiding in Italy, she can be found tango-ing her way around Argentina.

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ZOE LAGARDE

A keen biker who loves her native France (and its abundance of food, wine, history and long summer days), Zoe’s heart has drawn her back to her French roots, where she looks forward to sharing its secrets with travellers. “Having just turned 31, it’s time to pursue my dreams!” she says. With a father in the French diplomatic corps and an Aussie mother, Zoe has not only travelled the globe extensively, but knows a thing or two about its climate, too — she’s also a highly qualified international climate change policy expert who’s worked in Brussels and Canberra.

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