Our Guides

We are often asked what it takes to be a guide on our trips. First off, we look for interesting people who are natural leaders, passionate about the kind of travel we do, and can inspire those with them to enjoy themselves fully. Languages help lots (as you’ll see from the bios below) and living or having traveled extensively in the regions in which we tour is a prerequisite. For most of our guides, leading trips is a part-time vocation. You may be surprised to learn that some have had (or still have) careers as architects, ski instructors, artists, and teachers, musicians among others.

Meet some of the guides who lead trips for Great Explorations



Adrien T.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Annecy, French Alps
Education: Engineering
Previous Life: Ski instructor in Whistler and Argentina, manager of summer camp for kids
Languages: French (native), English, Spanish
Passions: Skiing, Biking, Tennis, Music, French cheese, good food and wine
Guiding in:France, Morocco, Spain
Favorite Trips: Provence, Tour de France, Burgundy
Why: Something for everyone
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Snowblading is my passion
Can name 37 French cheeses
Knows Whistler Mtn. like a local

Ainaz M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Germany
Education: BASc, Mechanical Engineer
Previous Life: Trapped in a cubicle
Languages: English; Farsi; some Spanish and Italian; and a few useful words in Greek, Polish, Croatian, Slovakian, German, French and a few others
Passions: Outdoors, cycling, hiking, travel, good food, books, cats, sustainable living
Favorite Trips: 11,500km cycle-tour of 22 countries in 7 months
Why: I felt at home on my bike and in my tent
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Been on a voyage on a camel’s back
Have traveled the world
Makes a killer salsa

Alex V.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Education: Life
Previous Life: Animator
Languages: English, German, Croatian
Passions: Cycling & Travel; meeting people
Guiding in:Croatia
Favorite Trips: Dalmatia
Why: Attractive landscapes, clear sea and interesting history
2 Truths and 1 Lie:
Armel C.
Born in; lived in; currently based: (born in) Vancouver; lived in Montreal; now in Victoria
Education: atmospheric science, meteorologist
Previous Life: eagle, nomad
Languages: espanol, english, francais and most recently quebecois!
Passions: fruit, flying, frivolity, snow, sailing, paragliding
Guiding in:Gulf Islands, Tour de France, Turkey, Morocco
Favorite Trips: Morocco
Why: The people are alive!
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Has distant lineage to Joan of Arc
Rode over a million pedals strokes over 10 months from Ecuador to make it to a friend’s wedding with only hours to spare
Spent 3 years with the Cirque du Soleil riding a bike juggling ping pong balls

Atila M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Alicante, Spain
Education: World Traveler
Previous Life: Advertising, Production
Languages: Spanish, Catalan, English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese
Passions: Outdoors, cycling, surfing, sailing.
Guiding in:Catalonia, Vuelta de Espana
Favorite Trips: Catalonia, Spain
Why: It's where I am from
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Cycled 9,000 km through New Zealand with a surfboard on a trailer.
Works as a filmmaker for Volvo Ocean Racing.
Turned down a role in an Almodovar film with Penelope Cruz

Brynn P.
Born in; lived in; currently based: New Haven, CT
Education: B.A. in French Language & Literature/International Affairs
Previous Life: Student, ESL teacher, server, gardener
Languages: English, French, basic Spanish
Passions: travel, skiing, hiking, biking, pottery, the ocean, the mountains, food & wine, trying to grow vegetables in Wyoming
Favorite Trips: France, Poland
Why: Such great people and experiences along the way and so much interesting history in both countries
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Rides a bike year-round for transportation(in Wyoming)
Learned to drive a boat before a car
Drinks coffee black

Charlotte L.
Born in; lived in; currently based: In the Rhône-Alpes region in France not far from Geneva
Education: Master degree in tourism, business travel & event management
Previous Life: Life guard in Switzerland
Languages: English, French, Spanish and a little bit of Italian and Chinese
Passions: Bicycling, glass mosaic artwork, concerts, cooking, reading biographies or historic novels, tasting great wine
Guiding in:Burgundy, Provence, Loire, Bordeaux, Champagne, Véloscénie (from Paris to Le Mont Saint Michel), Avenue Verte (from Paris to London), Normandie, Bretagne, Velodyssée (along the atlantic coast), Canal du midi, Dordogne. I also guided cycling tours in Cuba.
Favorite Trips: Burgundy & Cuba
Why: Burgundy for the delicacy of the wines and Cuba to see musicians and dancing everywhere!
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I went several time from Paris to London by bike
I won a French gymnastics championship
I love to ride under the rain

Christophe C.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Paris, France
Education: Graduate in Science of education
Previous Life: Teacher, social worker, master carpenter
Languages: French (native), English, Spanish
Passions: Wandering (biking, hiking, freediving), learning (chatting, reading, doing), sharing (good foood & good times) and contemplating nature.
Guiding in:Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Nepal, Corsica, Spain, Greece, Romania, Cyprus, Poland, Sweden, Mexico, Congo Brazzaville, Australia, Canada, Antarctica
Favorite Trips: Each and every one
Why: Encounters, wilderness experience, stunning learning, food
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I won the third place at the freediving Canadian national competition by holding my breath for 4min30
I have been chased by a black bear
I live in a castle from the 17th century

Damir J.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Split, Croatia
Education: Computer Science
Previous Life: Yoga instructor, race car driver, bohemian
Languages: Croatian (native) & English
Passions: Design, rock climbing, snowboarding, kitesurfing, guitar
Favorite Trips: Sicily
Why: The annual guide gathering.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I can put my leg behind my head.
I can lick my elbow.
I can do leg-splits

Dimitri J.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Haute-Savoie, France
Education: Engineering
Previous Life: Engineer, ski instructor
Languages: French (native); Italian, Spanish, and some Swedish and Portuguese
Passions: Mountain / Outdoor activities, Travelling, Music, Photography
Guiding in:Throughout France, Portugal, Tuscany
Favorite Trips: New Zealand, Canada, Norway
Why: Wild feelings, Astonishing landscapes and animals, Good people
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I lived in a van for 8 amazing months.
I climbed the western Europe summit and dived the great barrier reef.
I saw a “dahu” in the french Alps.

Dominic A.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Vancouver, BC
Education: B Sc. from UBC
Previous Life: Aquaculturist, salmon fisherman, house renovator, long distance bike traveller.
Languages: English (native), French
Passions: Biking, traveling, surfing, coffee, photography, family
Guiding in:Kettle Valley, California Coast, Oregon Coast, Gulf Islands, Prague to Vienna, Tour de France
Favorite Trips: Anywhere near the sea or mountains
Why: It's where I am happiest
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Cycled to Mt Everest Base Camp
Spent 10 years raising salmon and surfing in Tofino
Once spent 10 days in silent meditation at a retreat in Burma

Natalia M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Argentina
Education: The best kind - through traveling
Previous Life: mountaineer
Languages: Spanish, English
Passions: mountains, ski touring and now cycling
Guiding in:Chile, Morocco
Favorite Trips: Anywhere in South America
Why: The culture, landscapes, beauty, people
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I survived an earthquake while attempting to summit Mt. Logan
I make my home in Whistler, BC
I once competed in the Tour de Argentina

Celine G.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Avignon, south of Franc
Education: Economics, Wine University
Previous Life: Wine business
Languages: French, English
Passions: Wonderful wines, good food, and outdoor activities
Favorite Trips: Provence
Why: See my passions above
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Was once chased by a wild boar on my bike
I enjoy climbing rock faces
I have a wine nose

Christopher H.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Cardiff, Wales; currently resides in Vancouver, BC
Education: BA in English
Previous Life: Journalist, Whale watching guide, Earth Ranger
Languages: English, and a keen grasp of French and Spanish
Passions: Blue water sailing, hiking, and smooth smoky jazz
Favorite Trips: Vietnam and the Loire Valley, France
Why: Fascinating people, beautiful cultures, and the food
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Spent new year 2000 sipping champagne in the Antarctic with Diana Krall
Once tried out for So You Think You Can Dance
Learned to sword fight with a French fencing master

Daniele V.
Born in; lived in; currently based: (born) Madrid, Spain; (lived in) Alicante, New Mexico, Süd Tirol, Berlin, Wesfalia; (home is) Pamplona, Navarre
Education: B.A. In Economics, Masters in Education.
Previous Life: Salesman, fruit picker, teacher, entrepreneur.
Languages: Spanish (native), English, German, Italian, French
Passions: Culture, Philosophy, Bicycling, Nature
Guiding in:Camino de Santiago, Catalonya
Favorite Trips: Camino de Santiago
Why: The atmosphere of all other pilgrims is unique and goodwill is overwhelming
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Collected 500 Tons of stone to build walls.
Had a food allergy in Cuba that almost killed me.
Have biked the camino de santiago more times than anyone

Federica
Born in; lived in; currently based: Lucca, Italy
Education: Degree in Art History
Previous Life: Runway model for Victoria's secret
Languages: Italian (native), English, Spanish
Passions: Mountains, trekking, animals, travelling
Guiding in:Tuscany, Puglia, Cinque Terre, Spain, Portugal, Nepal, Thailand, India
Favorite Trips: Tuscany, Puglia
Why: Bella, bella
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I am a pizica dancer
I eat chocolate for breakfast
I don’t eat gelato

Gabrielle M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Turino, Italy
Education: Comparative modern literature
Previous Life: Filmmaker
Languages: Italian (native), English, French; some Spanish and Portugese
Passions: Cinema, Literature, Cycling
Favorite Trips: The ones I haven’t yet done
Why: Any where the amount of biking/walking/dancing/climbing we enjoy supercedes my gelato, wine, or chocolate consumption. 🙂
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Played soccer with Diego Armando Maradona
Drove Ronald McDonald around Turino for Olympic Games
Was a television personality in Estonia

Grega S.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Kranj, Slovenia
Education: BA in Tourism
Previous Life: Instructor at Vocational College for Tourism
Languages: Slovenian, English, German, Croatian, Serbian
Passions: traveling, riding a bike, skiing, hiking
Guiding in:Belgium, Netherland, Germany, Italy, Austria, France, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Spain (islands and mainland), Portugal (islands and mainland), Estonia, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Favorite Trips: Iceland; Slovenia
Why: amazing landscapes; it's home
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I hiked from my house all the way to the highest mountain in Slovenia.
Was awake once for 36 hours.
I can sing.

Guido M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Rho, Milano, Italy
Education: BSc Communication and Cultural Studies
Previous Life: Consular Officer, Australian Consulate General Milan
Languages: English, Italian, Spanish and French
Passions: Food, Wine, Beer, Film, Photography, Writing and Cycling
Favorite Trips: Victoria to Los Angeles
Why: Did it solo and therefore had a lot of time to think… about everything. It confirmed that cycling had to be an integral part of my future.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Wants to see Mt. Everest
Played soccer with Woody Harrelson in London
Enjoys Italian food prepared in other countries

Jean-Raphael L.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Rimouski, QC, Canada
Education: Bachelor in physical education
Previous Life: Teacher, Tree planter
Languages: French (native) and English
Passions: Biking and Ski touring
Favorite Trips: Prince-Edward Island (Canada ) and Cuba
Why: Very warm and friendly people, very safe for cycling, great sunsets…
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Would love to cycle around the world
Can’t live without cheese cake
I was 4 years old on my first horseback riding competition

Juan C.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Barcelona, Spain
Education: Life
Previous Life: Ski instructor
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, French, Portuguese, English
Passions: Surfing
Guiding in:Catalonia, Camino de Santiago, Portuguel, Vuelta
Favorite Trips: Catalonia
Why: It's home.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:
Luis V.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Spain
Education: Diploma Business, Girona University
Previous Life: Surfer
Languages: Spanish, Catalan (native), English, Portuguese, Italian, French
Passions: Surfing, skiing, biking
Guiding in:Catalonia
Favorite Trips: Catalonia
Why: It's got everything.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Was a DJ in a previous life.
Won a World Cup Downhill ski racing.
Split my time between UK and Spain

Maria F.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Spain
Education: Law Degree
Previous Life: Talent Scout
Languages: Spanish, Catalan, English
Passions: Travel
Guiding in:Catalonia
Favorite Trips: Catalonia
Why: Food, wine and people.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Biking is my passion
I lived and worked in China
I enjoy meeting North Americans

Matteo Z.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Italy; currently resides in Massa, Northern Tuscany
Education: B.A. Environmental Engineering, Mountain Guide
Previous Life: Mountain Hut manager
Languages: English, French, Spanish SerboCroatian, a bit of Russian
Passions: Travel, Bicycling, Mountaneering,Photography, Literature
Guiding in:Tuscany, Puglia
Favorite Trips: all of them, expecially the next one
Why: each one is different, yet capable to add something more to the overall experience
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Was adopted by bears before his parents came back to pick him up at the age of 4.
At the age of 3 fled from home with his 3 wheel trike.
His treatise Theory of Time will soon by published.

Nicky V.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Netherlands
Education: Tourism Management
Previous Life: Surf and ski instructor.
Languages: Dutch, Spanish, English, German
Passions: Sport and being in nature
Guiding in:Amsterdam to Bruges
Favorite Trips: Amsterdam to Bruges, Columbia
Why: Windmills, canals, pretty villages, great cycling
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I jumped from a 20m high bridge into the water
I played semi-pro soccer
I won a surf competition in Nazare, Portugal

Nico D.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Toulouse, France
Education: Management, tourism, sports
Previous Life: Ski and snowboard instructor, surf instructor
Languages: French (native), English, Spanish
Passions: Riding, good food, friends, trips...life!
Guiding in:Brittany, Dordogne, Piedmont, Cinque Terre, Camino de Santiago, Andalucia, Catalonia, Canarias, Greece, Morocco, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Philippines, Maldives, Thailand, West Indies
Favorite Trips: Every trip. It's always good to move from your comfort zone
Why: To know yourself better and to meet others
2 Truths and 1 Lie:
Patrick S.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Vancouver, BC
Education: Music
Previous Life: Camp counselor in the Berkshires
Languages: English, the language of music
Passions: Music, cycling
Guiding in:Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Cape Cod
Favorite Trips: Kettle Valley, BC
Why: Great way to ride through the history of BC
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I once biked from Prague to Nice with a guitar on my back.
I’m a singer songwriter and founder of a folk/rock band Coldwater Road.
I met the owner of Great Explorations while busking at Granville Island public market.

Peter J.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Frederikshavn, Denmark
Education: Business school DK, Royal Kings Guards, Mechanical Technician
Previous Life: Motorcycle Racing Technician
Languages: Danish (native), French, English, German
Passions: Travel, Gardening & Nature, Cycling
Guiding in:Provence, France
Favorite Trips: Provence, France
Why: I live here and it is the best cycling in the world.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Piloted Helicopter through thunderstorm
Laughed with Red Hot Chili Peppers whilst they were trying on underwear
Survived tsunami

Phil R.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Vancouver, BC
Education:
Previous Life: Ski guide, climber
Languages: English, German
Passions: outdoors, mountains
Favorite Trips: Kettle Valley Trail, BC
Why: It's a ride through the history of BC. Beautiful scenery.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

First to summit and then ski off of K2
Produced and acted in a film that premiered at a Vancouver film festival
Wore lederhosen to school as a youngster

Silvia C.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Milan, Italy
Education: Architecture
Previous Life: Architect
Languages: Italian (native), English, French, Spanish and a bit of Russian
Passions: Art, Cinema, drawing, reading, travelling and biking
Guiding in:Puglia, Sicily, Tuscany, Dolomites, Piedmont, Sardinia... Provence, Dordogne, Alsace, Pirenée. Architectural tour in Swizerland , Austria, Germany. UK and Ireland. Holland. Spain and Portugal. Croatia. In South America Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Perù.
Favorite Trips: Sardinia, Sicily
Why: islands of bliss
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I lived on Vanuatu Islands.
I produce saffron.
I had a cup of tea with Kevin Bacon.

Simone B.
Born in; lived in; currently based: The Netherlands
Education: Tourism management
Previous Life: Olympic Synchronized swimmer
Languages: Dutch (native), English, German
Passions: Travel!
Guiding in:Amsterdam to Bruges
Favorite Trips: Amsterdam to Bruges
Why: It's a great ride between two fabulous cities
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

First Dutchie to swim across the English Channel
Can ride three people on a bike
Jumped out of a plane in New Zealand

The Professor
Born in; lived in; currently based: Central Vietnam
Education: Degree in tourism and English
Previous Life: Teacher, footballer
Languages: Vietnamese, English
Passions: My wife and family
Guiding in:Vietnam
Favorite Trips: Vietnam
Why: Scenery, people, history
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Direct Descendant of a Cham emperor
Bronze medalist in marathon
Has biked over 15,000 km in Vietnam

Robbin M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Canada; currently resides in Vancouver, BC
Education: B.A. in Business, M Sc. from Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture
Previous Life: Grape picker, rickshaw driver, teacher, itinerant traveler
Languages: English, French, Spanish and a wee bit of Arabic
Passions: Travel, Bicycling, Music, Life
Guiding in:Tuscany, Umbria, Provence, Dordogne, Loire Valley, Alsace, Brittany, Burgundy, Camino de Santiago, Andalucia, Portugal, New Zealand, Morocco, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Croatia, Chile, Cuba to name some
Favorite Trips: The first trip (Camino de Santiago) and most recent (Chile)
Why: They have all been enjoyable, but the first got me hooked, and the most recent has me wanting to go back.
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Former stunt man- can ride two bicycles at one time (while facing backwards)
Ridden a camel from Mhamid, Morocco to Timbuktu (facing forwards)
Bicycled 5000 km through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Laos (without shoes)

Sebastien R.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Nancy, north-east of France
Education: Bachelor of engineering and Graduate from international business school.
Previous Life: International Project Manager
Languages: French, English, Spanish and some Portuguese and German
Passions: Travel, photography, being in nature
Guiding in:Provence, Normandy, Brittany, Loire Valley, Morocco, Camino de Santiago
Favorite Trips: Anywhere in France; Chile; Morocco.
Why: Diversity of landscapes
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Cooked pasta on a geyser in Chile.
3 flat tires during a travel of 9 month by bike.
Survived from being parched by cutting a cactus in Argentina.

Thomas W.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Canada; currently resides in southern Spain
Education: Life
Previous Life: A caleche driver
Languages: English, French, Spanish, German and a wee bit of Japanese.
Passions: Planet Earth, pushing myself to extremes, food, drink and laughing with my friends and, Moroccan tajines.
Favorite Trips: Camino de Santiago, España
Why: The Camino for its landscape, food & wine, culture & history
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Scheduled to be a contestant in the show ‘Bachelor’ in 2008
Is the world’s slowest tire changer
On a clear day can see Morocco from his home

Uschi R.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Switzerland, currently resides in Vancouver, BC
Education: Veterinary degree
Previous Life: whale researcher, server, lifeguard, flight attendant, veterinarian
Languages: English, Swiss German and German, a hint of French
Passions: Travel, food and cooking, mountain biking, animals
Guiding in:British Columbia, Switzerland
Favorite Trips: Each trip is special for its’ own reason but Nepal holds an extra special spot in my heart
Why: It felt like I’d stepped back in time and the style of travel just felt so authentic
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I have been North of the Arctic Circle
My father is a Swiss chocolatier
I have touched a wild lion

Veronika M.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Prague, Czech Republic, currently living in France.
Education: Human Recreation Program. First Aid Responder. Ski Guide, Instructor & Coach.
Previous Life: English Teacher in Japan, Youth Coordinator.
Languages: English, Czech, French & basic Spanish.
Passions: Cycling, skiing, mountaineering, hiking, traveling & making jewellery!
Guiding in:So many...
Favorite Trips: Cycling- Italy, Skiing-Patagonia!
Why: Beautiful beaches, landscape, food, wine, weather in Italy. Unbelievable ski terrain, mountains, culture, people, & snow in Patagonia!
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

I have climbed and skied two volcanoes
I have eaten grasshoppers
My middle name is Cycle.

Yannick V.
Born in; lived in; currently based: Near Paris, currently lives in Toulouse, France
Education: Mechanical Systems Engineering Degree
Previous Life: Backpacker, Hiker, WWOOFer, Pruner
Languages: French (native), English
Passions: Nature and all outdoor activities liked with it, fixing things, growing vegetables, playing Djembe
Favorite Trips: Tour de France, Dordogne, New Zealand & Canada
Why: Because of the wilderness, the stunning scenery, the easy-going people and so much more
2 Truths and 1 Lie:

Loves goat cheese
Hitchhiked across Canada, from Vancouver to Gaspé Peninsula
Did his first 55km bike rally at the age of 8