MEET THE PEEPS

An idea that sprang to life in 2008, HermitGuides was created, designed and developed by a small team of dedicated travel enthusiasts in Vancouver, Canada. Bringing these walks to life has been, quite simply, a labour of love. Hundreds of hours of research, writing, travelling, walking, recording and editing goes into crafting each one. The guides who have lent their voices to the audio tracks are the same people who have strolled along the streets, alleys, roads and bridges featured in our walks.

MAXINE

Scribe, Storyteller, Hermit and Guide

Most people would call me an introvert and I’m okay with that, in fact I’m quite content living life as one.  I’m also a scribe, a storyteller and guide.

It all began with a hermit.  It happened in Paris.

One day, as I was sitting on a bench in the Square René Viviani something extraordinary happened.  If you’ve been there you know it’s a tranquil place along the Seine with deep shade providing shelter from the hot afternoon sun.  A place where Merovingian tombs once lay and monasteries existed.  I knew that not far away, many centuries before, a hermit once lived.  His name was Severin, a solitary man who made his home on a remote patch of land on the Left Bank when everyone else still lived on the Île de la Cité.  Separated from society but close enough to receive visitors many Parisii beat a path to his door.  He welcomed them all for the true purpose of a hermit is not only to counsel and advise but also to assist travellers on their journeys.

And sitting on that bench taking it all in everything changed.  It was a revelation – hermits assisting travellers, the lost, the weary, the curious!  It was as if somehow he’d reached out to me through the centuries and everything became clear.  “Life changes in the instant.  The ordinary instant,” writes Joan Didion and quite simply it had.  I had stumbled upon something amazing.   Something so familiar, so true and so deep it was everywhere.  I finally understood why I’ve always collected maps and guidebooks and travel brochures and magazines.  I’m in love with cities, with their stories, their streets, their architecture and art and that I love sharing what I’ve discovered but I needed to do it in a way that reflects who I am.   I’ll always be grateful to the hermit who helped me find who I am – a storyteller, scribe and guide – a hermitguide!

Hollie Whitehead in Prague

HOLLIE

Writer. Expressionist. La Flâneuse.

Stories spark my imagination. Travel lights me up. Adventure beckons. As I see it, Life is a book (leather-bound & letterpress, of course) and travel is sure to provoke the most thrilling and heroic chapters. The plot of my own story is a mystery but I revel in stitching together my personal journey with the greatest characters & tales from around the globe.

I am happiest when dwelling in Beauty— perhaps in the faded shimmer that is Venice, the dappled sunlight under a canopy of Provençal plane trees, or in the singular remoteness of Canada’s vast prairie (from which I hail). I love all things esoteric, mystical and seemingly magical—including unicorns, quantum unification theory, historic architecture, and tomatoes with bocconcini. I feel an equally electrifying thrill upon the simple discovery of the perfect shade of blue (French pastel woad, bien sûr) as I do when languishing at fancy-pants Relais & Chateau hotel. Cat videos are a cure and I prefer pen & paper over laptop. Writing and capturing travel photos inspire me.

And while the very mention of expanding horizons brings a glimmer to my eye, I do have a nest on Canada’s west coast, together with my hubby, where I am forever plotting the next chapter…

CHARITY

Hopeless Romantic, Bohemian Girl,  Restless Writer and Spiritual Seeker

I try to live simply and find the beauty in everyday things. I have been known to get bitten by the travel bug and am prone to wanderlust and daydreaming, but I am a true homebody at heart. No matter where in the world I may be, I will always find a way to make that place my home, even if only for a brief period of time. Any nest is worthy of feathering as far as I am concerned, be it with candles, books and flowers or a thorough scrubbing.
When it comes to travel I will often seek out the road less travelled. I am inspired by faded grandeur, nature and places of quiet contemplation. I love to discover the hidden jewel in the spots overlooked and out of the way.
I am unapologetically girly in many ways and as my sister suspects, probably a ballerina in a former lifetime. I like to fuss and dress up with jewellery and cosmetics, as long as the look is authentic.
Flowers are a constant companion, as well as lots and lots of white paint. I’m passionate about curating a lovely home and enjoy the gallery-like quality of white walls; the perfect backdrop for my latest vignette.
I am a spiritual seeker. I enjoy the constant quest for enlightenment. Losing myself in spiritual prose is a common practice, as is meditation and yoga.
Writing is a way of life for me. I am a journalist and a blogger and cannot go a single day without writing; even if it is merely scribbling a fleeting thought in my one of my tattered notebooks. I dream one day of writing many books and being a well-loved author.

Paaren in Rome

PAAREN

Art Director, Graphic Designer, & Internet Figure-Outer

People come to me asking to work magic on their branding, corporate identity, marketing, and internet ‘stuff’ (it’s called stuff because they don’t know how to describe what they want and part of my job is is to figure that out). If it exists on the inter-google-web-tubes, I will find it. And if not, I will create it. Illustrator and Photoshop are my good friends. I love antique maps and can be found scouring markets and les librairies in France hunting for them. Creativity in cooking comes easy but I’m told the cleaning part could use a boost. I occasionally get kicked out of hockey. When not doing HermitGuides reconnaissance abroad, I live with my wife Hollie on Canada’s west coast.