Behind the Scenes: Why We Love Wild Women’s “Girl Guides”
Our Wild Women guides are like lighthouses. They provide safe harbour (or harbor if you’re American). They are a familiar and welcome sight, weathered, resistant to the elements and always reliable. Most critically, they help us navigate unknown waters.
Guides enrich a Wild Women trip experience with their deep local knowledge, secret picnic spots, traditions, colourful storytelling, recipes, diverse interests, hiking hacks, stashes of chocolate, playlists, cheerleading and passion. You can read a dozen travel guides for a destination but a real, smiling Wild Women guide is going to know the back way to the market and how hot the hot sauce really is. She’ll know where you can find tampons, a take-home keepsake Christmas tree ornament, a Camino passport stamp and the best coffee.
Talented, patient and well-versed in group dynamics, our guides know how to juggle (some of them really do). They offer impromptu lessons on using hiking poles, reminders to hydrate, apply Band-aids and ensure group safety–no one can wander too far or Mama Bear will scold! They are experts in so many fields–some have had opera or circus training, they’re puppet masters, rock-climbers, scuba divers, yoga instructors, moms, water colour artists, birders, foodies and competitive runners. They love the wild as much as we do and bring it to life with a spirit and fire that is contagious.
Wild Women is always in motion to ensure that there are more women in the travel industry finding meaningful employment as drivers, guides and porters. We asked a few of our community members to share some favourite memories of their recent trips and how the guides made their destination a dream.
Survey feedback is taken seriously by the Wild Women team–and we love when we read glowing and gushing testimonials about our guides! Let’s meet a few of our spunky girl guides in Yellowstone, Peru and Alberta!
Kimberley and Victoria, Yellowstone Active Adventure
Coffee first thing in the morning is very important to me. I have not known many people who rise before I do, but these gals, Kimberly and Victoria (our guides) had hot water rolling every morning as I woke and roused the troops. One morning, the water was just not heating fast enough, so I insisted that the three of us yell at that pot BOIL! BOIL! until it finally did. The other campers at the campsite, I’m sure, did not appreciate our robust call for the water to heat, but, no matter. We had our coffee!
On the last day, Victoria did something very special for me. I am an avid mountaineer and fell in love with the Grand Teton on the first day of the trip. I mentioned here and there that I’d like to summit it. Victoria encouraged this little journey by sharing all the details of her travels up that hefty giant she had taken, with me. On the last day of the trip, she took me to the expeditionary company that takes folks up that mountain. She introduced me to some folks, explained the whole 4-day training and summiting expedition and encouraged me to go for it. So I am! July 2024, look out Grand Teton, I’m coming for you!
Our guides, Kimberly and Victoria made the trip. We had a variety of personalities, food preferences, lifestyles, values, imperatives and all manner of diversity. They accommodated and further, they created and curated a wonderful place for us all THIS IS THE WAY TO SEE YELLOWSTONE!!
Dr. Teri M. Hutchinson
Disnarda, Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
I have three daughters, been married for 32 years and this was my first solo big trip in a long time! WWE made me feel empowered and showed me I am much more than a Mom or wife. I was ANA!!! I work in a school and had six months off and I was so excited to have some ME time! I knew I wanted to do something special and Machu Picchu was the perfect choice.Thank you for allowing women to participate in such adventures that take us out of our comfort zone and make us feel so special.
DISNARDA! Wow, where do I start?! Going on a WWE trip is super exciting but can also be a little stressful. Who will be our guide? Who else will be on the trip? Will we all get along? Our first meeting was at Los Portales hotel. I walked in the room, not knowing anybody. I recognized Disnarda from a video that WWE had shared on Facebook; my first impression was of someone who is very calm. She seemed to be analyzing her group (a bunch of excited women!). From that moment, we all felt like we were in good hands with her. Her calm demeanor in explaining how the trip would go, answering our questions and concerns–she knows her stuff!
Our first evening was an ice breaker; learning about chocolate, making chocolate, and sharing a meal together. It was a good way to start the adventure. Disnarda has an intent way of listening and made each of us feel special.
Once we started the actual hike, it felt like we were entering Disnarda’s playground; she has such an extensive knowledge of the Incan culture and the flora and fauna of the area. She has a great respect for Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) and her own family. Disnarda is also very discreet and respectful of the participants and the porters who were on our trip. She made each of us feel special. No matter how hard the trail got or how some women needed more encouragement than others, Disnarda was always kind and helpful. I can honestly say that this trip would not have been the same without Disnarda. Thanks to WWE for this incredible first experience.
I want to point out how without DISNARDA, the trip would not have been the same: the passion she has for her country, culture, heritage. Her patience and encouragement with all of the women. Her knowledge and passion she has for Inca culture made our experience so much more enjoyable and enriching. I am going home with my head full of memories, images, new knowledge and appreciation, new friendships.
Dieppe, New Brunswick
Tracey and Brenda, Women’s Wilderness Retreat
There were so many teaching and learning experiences but we had so many laughs along the way! At night, Tracey and Brenda lit a big campfire and we loved sitting around it and talking. One night we started trying to sing “camp songs” and songs we loved. The funny thing was after the first few words we couldn’t remember any more words so we started making up silly words. Well, that brought on gut-splitting laughter and we couldn’t stop. The shy ladies in our group came up with the funniest words. It was a late night but we slept well in our warm sleeping bags.
One day, the youngest horse (who had distinct long “bangs”) kept following us on our bow “hunt”. He thought he could sneak in unnoticed. Tracey sweetly told him to stay back. We loved it!! “ Horse in tow,” is what we joked.
This was an incredible journey for my life! A soul adventure. The staff are very skilled, knowledgeable, kind and patient. Everything I learned, I will continue to practice .
Want to read more about our awesome guides? Meet Fearless Fio from our Torres del Paine Multisport Adventure and Darija, our Croatia Active Adventure guide with incredible cred! If you’re thinking about joining WWE’s Moab National Parks Active Adventure, you can read about Alex’s affection for pepperoncini-flavoured potato chips, San Diego beaches, 80s tunes and Fillo backpacking pillows here.
If anyone has been on the Galapagos Island yacht or sailing adventure, you’ll know Lulu. Like Cher, Shania and Madonna, she only needs to go by a single name. Everyone knows and loves Lulu. Her unforgettable sea lion bark is often the last sound heard at the Baltra airport in Ecuador (not the actual call for passengers to board the plane). If you have a Lulu story or would like to share a favourite memory of your WWE guide, send me an email at email@example.com for potential inclusion in our next edition of Behind the Scenes: Why We Love Wild Women’s “Girl Guides.”