Our company founders have been tour guides in both a professional and personal manner for ages. We appreciate deeply this city in which we live and work, but outside the bounds of the city, in the gorge, Cascadian forests, mountains, high desert, and coast — this is where we find our hearts.
Sarah Gilbert is a writer of essays and poetry, mother of three boys, passionate bicyclist, and performs her worship in the forests, deserts, basalt walls, and waterfalls. She is finishing a books of essays called Invasive Species: Things I have learned outside of school.
Sarah began leading bike rides a decade ago, but took to tour guiding professionally in 2014, applying knowledge of wine, food and culture to an oral storytelling tradition. Sarah’s expertise begins deep in the culture of the place we now “Portlandia” — she was keeping chickens, pickling things and putting a bird on it before any of those skits for the now-famous TV show were written. Now she has developed or honed knowledge in areas ranging from geologic history, to Lewis & Clark and the Oregon trail, to Native American mythology, to coffee roasting, to the gardens of Suzhou, China and Kyoto, Japan, to tiny homes; and whatever else informs the modern expression of art, culture, spirituality and social groups in and around Portland.
Life as a tour guide has expanded her world in a way she never knew possible. Whether it’s a conversation with a long-time resident of Yellow Knife, Northern Territories; a South American television producer living in Japan; a Chinese professor on a teaching stint in Iowa; or a museum architect from Toronto, she counts among her treasures the stories of all her guests, and draws upon them to more richly inform those that come after.
Marcus also grew up in Southeast Portland. His background traveling throughout the western Cordillera of North America informs his guiding experience. He began giving Willamette Valley wine tours in 2016, a natural transition following two years of experience at a winery both in the cellar and managing the tasting room.
His expansion into a full range of tours allowed Marcus to more broadly utilize his background conducting research and teaching in ecology and natural resources. Investing the time to learn more about the history of Portland and Oregon more broadly for work on tours has led to a number of insights, allowing Marcus to contrast his home with the other states and provinces he lived in for 15 years.
For Marcus, tour guiding is about taking people on field trips for fun, while learning from his guests as if it was his first expedition. Regardless of beliefs, genes, or lifestyle, he finds that true connection with his tour guests is about seeking that common spark that we all have — to more deeply know a place and the life within.