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 10 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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AMINA ABDELJAWAD

Care to have that phrase translated into six languages? Meet Amina, our inveterate adventure seeker from Sweden whose irrepressible enthusiasm has found her diving to the depths of Lake Malawi, high atop the hills of Burgundy on her bike, and shaking it down in the dance clubs of Andalucia. Now, how would you translate ‘dynamo’?

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ANGELO SCIMIA

Now based in Barcelona by way of Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, London and of course his native Italy, Angelo manages a “secret gourmet restaurant” when he’s not guiding for B&R. (We can’t tell you more about it because he’s sworn us to secrecy.) In addition to secret restaurateur, he harbours a deep love of music—so don’t be surprised if a guitar should emerge from a B&R van while on trip.

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ANTHONY KING

Anthony is an avid sportsmen, spending his time windsurfing, running marathons, surfing, free-diving and forest trekking. Most impressively though, he recently completed a bicycle trip around the world, crossing 17,000 miles through 23 countries across endless desert stretches and many high altitude climbs!

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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. “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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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 many 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 adorns a wall at the Toronto office!

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CHRISTOPHER LITT

Chris traded busy Toronto streets for the open roads of Europe when he joined B&R, to say nothing of the equipment upgrade—freed from his pedicab (a pedal-powered taxi for two) it’s safe to say he’s now enjoying our new fleet of Bianchis. He’s always preferred two wheels to three anyway; an avid cyclist, he’s ridden across Canada and up the Pacific Coast Highway in addition to roads in France and Switzerland.

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CLAIR ROGERS

Born in Wales to an Italian father and a Welsh mother, Clair spends her time between the shores of Lake Maggiore and Chianti in Tuscany, where she indulges her passion for wine to the fullest….it’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it. When not guiding for B&R she’s a professional translator, specializing in the fashion and design industry.

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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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DANA QUINN

After spending 10 years in the ultra dynamic world of insurance consulting, Dana started guiding for B&R and is still at it many, many trips later. Now—when she’s not hanging out in Southern France —she can be found guiding biking and hiking trips around the beautiful terrain of Italy (and Greece, Ireland, Croatia, Croatia, Vietnam…).

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DANE TREDWAY

Dane’s travels have taken him across the globe, from Cape Town to Katmandu, to London and finally back to Toronto 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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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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DAVID FACCHINI

Italy-born David has dedicated much of his life to working in the humanitarian aid sector, supporting different social projects all over the world.  When he’s not out there making the world a better place, he’s travelling, singing and playing the guitar. He loves exploring new cultures, engaging in exciting activities and identifies as a buona forchetta (or foodie, in English). 

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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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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.

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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 in the interior of British Columbia 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, she rode her bike through Georgia’s Caucase mountains and the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan. But she feels most happy in her own Swiss Alps, where you will find her biking during the summer months or skiing in the winter.

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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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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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GLYN MANWARING-JONES

A Toronto native, Glyn first felt the travel bug’s bite while spending his youth canoeing in northern Ontario. (To this day he refuses to acknowledge that they were probably just mosquito bites; we don’t have the heart to tell him.) His love of music took him first to Montreal, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music, and then to Brazil, where he honed his ear for both music and Portuguese.

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IRENA OSSOLA

From the lakes of Northern Italy, to the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Irena grew up between two vastly different but very rich cultures. Long having a passion for the outdoors, she was a professional runner in Italy before transitioning to cycling—a segue that allows her to share her love of travel, athletics, languages and adventure with travellers as a B&R guide.

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JACOPO DI LORENZO

Growing up, Rome-born Jacopo “Jay” Di Lorenzo wanted to be an explorer. With that childhood dream in mind, he embarked on his first exploration in 2006 and hasn’t looked back. His travels have taken him from Kenyan missions to Australian horse farms and Thai beaches. Today Jay lists adapting to new cultures and environments as his addiction, and biking and paragliding as his interests, among others.

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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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JOHN BROOKS

John was born in Boston and in the best of local tradition has remained a diehard Red Sox fan. After earning a degree in classical music, John spent three years learning French in Paris and coming to appreciate the European lifestyle. He fell into guiding to prolong his stay in Europe and after some 20 years leading trips throughout Western Europe, he’s settled in Burgundy where he manages a small wine domaine.

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JULIE MICHAUX

Julie grew up in a family of painters which explains her endless searching for artistic inspiration in her travels and in nature. Passionate and spontaneous, she likes to spend her time meeting new people, riding her bike and painting portraits and landscapes.

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KIM HESSION

Give Kim a good cup of coffee, a New York Times, the company of strangers, and she’ll be a happy cat. After graduating from broadcast journalism, she hit the open road and spent two years adventuring across Canada: backcountry skiing in the Rockies, lobster fishing in P.E.I., canoeing the Yukon River and treeplanting across the forests of British Columbia.

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LARA MATTIOLI

Born and bred along Italy’s Adriatic Coast, Lara feels most comfortable with a glass of Italian wine in hand and a salt water breeze at her back. (No wonder we like her so much.) After studying communications in university she hit the road, and has lived in Brazil, Spain, Morocco and the UK in addition to her native Italy.

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LEAH HOWE

Leah prefers the road less travelled and with over 10 years guiding and planning trips for B&R, she’s had the opportunity to travel her fair share. From the colourful mountains of Purmamarca to the temples of Bagan and her eternal city of Rome. An easygoing, sophisticate at heart, Leah appreciates the luxury of simplicity; like handmade burrata, heavenly light duvets or Barolo out of the barrel.

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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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LORENZO SANTAMARIA

Born in Sicily, “adopted” by Venice and now based in Copenhagen, Lorenzo has been on the move from an early age. While his travels have taken him all over the world, the themes that permeate his adventures have always been a thirst for knowledge, a propensity for music and an absolute love of people.

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LOTTIE WILLIAMS-BURRELL

Lottie’s love of travel stems from her early summers spent backpacking Europe with her family. After graduating University with a degree in Theater Arts, she toured Germany and Italy with the White Horse Theatre Company and taught theater workshops in Jaipur, India. Today, Lottie spends her time teaching English at a business school in Italy, the country she quickly fell in love with and now calls home.

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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.

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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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MARCOS GRELLET

If there’s one thing Marco loves more than the natural world, it’s writing about it. With a masters in literature and an undergraduate degree in biology, he’s spent the past 18 years pursuing both passions. His work as both a marine biologist and travel writer (how’s that for a business card?) has taken him from his native Brazil to Australia, and the Philippines among many others.

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MARJOLEIN ROELEVELD

Amsterdam-born Marjolein has biking in her blood and walking in her soul. A love of theatre propelled her to degrees in theatre and mime (but please, don’t ask her to pretend she’s trapped in a box) while her love of travel and wide-open spaces propels her along the road—preferably on two wheels.

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MARTIN TATICEK

A love of language, nature, and adventure has led Martin from his native Czech Republic to Italy, France, Switzerland, Canada, and he’s just getting started…Trained as a teacher and armed with the heart of a poet, his energy and enthusiasm for discovering new places, meeting people, and learning anything and everything is insatiable.

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NANCY TOWNS

“Multi-faceted” is probably the term that sums up Nancy best. Trained in anthropology and schooled in adventure, she’s an ideal blend of book-learning and on-the-fly adaptability. She is a master at finding those amazing little touches and interesting people that make a good trip great — rock climbers, historians, chefs… you name the experience, Nancy can (and will) find it. Fluent in Spanish and French (plus a smattering of Italian), she’s also the perfect point-person for our Catalonia trips.

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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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PAOLO MARAGLIULO

A native of Lecce in B&R’s beloved Puglia, Paolo came to guiding the old fashioned way, via a degree in art history and a stint playing basketball. Italian basketball’s loss was B&R’s gain: Paolo abandoned his athletic pursuits for more adventurous ones, earning a masters in international tourism. When not guiding, he also works as the production manger for a British theatre company, touring Italy and performing shows in English.

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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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REMI LAHAUSSOIS

Born to an American mother and French father in Rome, Remi’ s been on a path toward becoming a B&R guide practically since birth. Along the way, he’s dabbled in everything from sculpting and winemaking to home-building, music and sound design, somehow managing to squeeze in a few triathlons—you know, just for good measure.

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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 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!

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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.

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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 began guiding with B&R.

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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. 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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SJOERD VINK

Born in the southern part of Holland, Sjoerd practically grew up on a bike. (It’s practically dictated by law there.) In addition to cycling, he’s an avid yogi whose practiced Bikram yoga daily for nearly a decade and has taught the practice for six years. With a photography degree from the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, he combines his athleticism for a deep appreciation of the arts.

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SONIA TER HOVANESSIAN

This talented French-Armenian jazz singer grew up in the UK, 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 B&R 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.

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STEPHANIE GULLEDGE

Rather than ending up at an advertising firm after receiving her degree in communication studies, 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.

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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 France, can be found guiding throughout Europe, and is always ready to start a new journey. Tatiana believes that there is nothing better than 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, Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia and more. Way more.

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THOMAS FRIESE

Calling three of the most beautiful cities in the world his home – Florence, Vienna and Vancouver – Thomas has guided B&R travellers through most of Italy and central Europe for precisely a decade now … and he here with declares his intention of continuing this service and pleasure into the foreseeable future!

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TIBOR BARNA

In recent years, Tibor has spent his time teaching English in Vietnam and mentoring local English teachers in Malaysia. When he’s not teaching in Asia he’s gallivanting around the world on his bike! In 2012 he did a 5000 km bike trip through South-East Asia followed by a two month cycling trip around New Zealand.

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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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VERENA ZIEGLER

Verena studied social work at the University of Berlin before completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters in Sociocultural Studies at the University of Frankfurt. She has travelled the world for her studies and is currently living in Barcelona where she loves working outdoors and being active (especially on her bike!)

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