Experts + Insiders:
In the travel business, everyone has an origin story. Ask anyone how, where and why they caught the travel bug and you’ll hear tales of family vacations, semesters abroad and “Aha!” moments. Less common, however, are stories about someone who didn’t catch the travel bug, but was born with it.
“I was born in Austria, where my dad played professional hockey,” explains Experience Designer, Dane Tredway. “My mom is an architect who loves to fix up old farmhouses, so we bounced around a lot. For holidays, we’d travel to Europe or go skiing and camping around North America. We were always on the go!”
So while it might be a stretch to say that Dane was destined for a job guiding and designing trips around the world, his career path should come as no surprise.
“Through university, I worked my tail off doing everything I could to pay for travel, from bussing tables in nightclubs to tree-planting in Northern Ontario, then I moved to Africa after graduating and have been on the move ever since,” he explains.
He’s become an expert in all corners of the globe, from Ireland to Sri Lanka, and with a career that has spanned the planet, he’s racked up a lifetime worth of stories.
Years in Travel Business: 10+
Years with B&R: 10+
Countries/Regions of Expertise: England, Ireland, Scotland
Countries visited: 50+
Countries lived in: Canada, Australia, West & South Africa, United Kingdom
Trips guided: 35-40
Q&A with Dane:
How did you get started with B&R?
I had recently moved to London for a job in the fashion industry when an offer to guide a trip in the English Lake District came my way. I couldn’t resist! That year, I ended up guiding trips in Burgundy, Ireland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. When given the chance to work as a trip designer years later, it felt like the perfect way to build on all of the magical B&R experiences that I’d had on the road.
What’s something that sticks out from your years spent guiding for B&R?
Year ago, I guided a trip of a lifetime in Myanmar. It was a homecoming for an 82-year old woman who had fled the country during WWII. Her grandmother had written a memoir and that became the backbone of our itinerary. I spent endless hours researching the family history, rummaging through dusty archives and colonial-era hospitals, churches, schools and cemeteries. The trip itself was so emotional and filled with tears and laughter, and of course, all of the B&R flair that you’d imagine. She and I are still in touch and I will always cherish those memories.
Yeah, OK—I guess I can see why that would stand out. What about trips you’ve designed? Any that stand out?
I’ve been planning a lot of multi-generational family trips in the UK lately, and they’ve become some of my favourite to design. This summer, I put together a trip for a large and adventurous family group and the trip was action-packed! We had biking, walking, clay pigeon shooting, golf, Highland games, canyoning, whisky tasting, castles, traditional folk music and dance. The list goes on. Considering all of the incredible activities on this trip, I especially loved hearing that some of their favourite moments were spent during downtime in the evening, with boisterous family dinners and late night bonfires at their private country house.
Alright enough about work, let’s get personal. What’s your favourite trip you’ve ever taken? (I know, I know, but try to narrow it down to one!)
Can I narrow it down to three? I’d say Sri Lanka for the food and its kind and charismatic people; South Africa for its diverse and otherworldly beauty and the Canadian Arctic for the edge-of-the-Earth feel and incredible wildlife.
Favourite hotel in the world?
Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland. Talk about back-of-beyond! An incredible maritime-meets-Scandi vibe which pays homage to the province’s local history, food and culture with locally-crafted textiles, hand-built furniture and an inspired, seasonal menu. The experiences – from traditional boat-building to geology walks – are amazing. Plus, it’s a social enterprise that gives back to the local people. It’s ultra luxury but in a laid back, very Newfoundlander sort of way.
Favourite restaurant in the world?
Is it a cop-out to say home? I love to bring all of the wonderful culinary inspirations from my travels into my home-cooking, which I do a ton of.
Favourite bar/wine bar/watering hole in the world?
Gordon’s in London, England. Literally, a wine cave – the oldest wine bar in London is underground in a vaulted railway tunnel. It’s a mix of locals and in-the-know tourists who go for the atmospheric, candlelit vibe, cask sherries on-tap, and quality cheeses. It’s so easy to lose track of time!
Favourite bottle of wine?
I do enjoy my wine, but I’m especially a fan of cocktails – a classic Negroni or Paper Plane (amaro, bourbon, lemon juice, Aperol) – and peaty whiskies, like Lagavulin.
What’s one destination you’ve never visited, but is high on your list?
Namibia. I spent a chunk of time living in West Africa and South Africa but never got to Namibia. I’m really drawn to the rugged scenery and I’m told it’s great for outdoor pursuits. Oddly, I’ve never done an African safari and would love to do one there.
What’s the best thing that ever happened to you while travelling?
As a solo traveller backpacking across the world, I was the recipient of many small acts of kindness. Whether it was having my bus fares paid when I had all of my credit cards blocked, or being welcomed into a family home to seek refuge from a storm on a long-distance trek, meeting the local people – be it in Newfoundland or Nepal – is always a highlight.
What are three destinations you think are underrated?
Bolivia, Newfoundland and Sri Lanka
What trips do you have in store for yourself: where are you headed in the next 12 months?
Up next, is Baja California for sun, surf and fish tacos. I’ve also got a winter road trip planned through Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. In the Spring, I’m eager to do more exploring in the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland.
Someone has just landed in a country they’ve never been to, where they don’t speak the language. What’s your number one piece of advice for them?
Don’t be afraid to engage with locals! A smile and laughter goes a long way.