Meet Peter and George Tanner.
Both are brothers.
Both are twins.
Their lives extraordinary.
Their stories, their journey’s, their experiences, so amazing they need to be told separately, not as one.
First up – Peter.
Next week – George.
For Peter life means a lot of things – luck, true grit, sheer determination, being in the right place at the right time, having a sense of adventure.
And there was one question people often asked him – what’s your nationality?
His answer – always leading to new adventurers, amazing opportunities.
Peter was born and grew up in Switzerland – a small village, outside Zurich.
At age 12 he took a test at his school to determine whether he should take the academic or trades path ( a common practice in many European school systems) for his future schooling.
For Peter it was the trades route.
His mom, a pragmatist, suggested he become a baker ”as people always need to eat.”
So Peter trained as a baker and pastry chef.
And he took it a step further.
He also went to night school, taking hotel, restaurant management, bartending, courses, and to top it all off – a 30-day “crash course” in English.
So at age 20 Peter was ready for his first job – applying for a baker’s position in Calgary.
He got it and proudly – acceptance letter in hand – went to the U.S. Consulate in Berne to apply for his visa.
He was redirected to the Canadian embassy – heartbroken – but filled out all the forms for a Canadian visa. After that he stopped at the library to do some research on Canada and decided it wasn’t a bad alternative.
Weeks later he got his Canadian visa – his parents flabbergasted.
Upon arriving in Calgary – a small suitcase, boots, skis, in hand – Peter thought he’d arrived on the set of Stagecoach, a 1939 Western starring John Wayne.
“Everyone at home in Switzerland had seen (it).”
After a year in Calgary – he quit, determined to see the Pacific ocean.
Upon his arrival in Vancouver – in his olive green Mustang – he was shocked.
The year was 1973 and the neighbourhood he mistakenly entered was more dilapidated than expected so kept driving and reached Stanley Park – “Shangri-la” – and then to Ambleside Beach – promptly dipping his feet into the Pacific ocean.
His love affair with Vancouver had begun.
And then he read about the grand opening of the Four Seasons hotel – time for a peek.
Peek he did, got into a conversation with another gentleman, who asked Peter – what’s your nationality?
His response – Swiss.
Making a long story short – the next day Peter was the hotel’s pastry chef.
After a year’s time, Peter wrote home letting his parents know that he intended to come home for a visit, only to receive their unexpected response. “Don’t bother. We’re coming to see what’s keeping you there.”
So when they arrived the three of them went on an excellent six-week adventure – seeing the sights and sounds of Vancouver Island, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, the Mohave Desert, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and other places.
By now Peter realized – he had gotten the travel bug.
But in the meantime meeting various people and the inevitable question – what’s your nationality? – led to new and exciting jobs.
A manager of Vancouver’s well-known William Tell Restaurant and as the food and beverage manager of a new downtown, luxury, boutique, hotel, the Georgian Court.
At the Georgian Court he met guests that were part of a Tauck tour, a major operator of guided tours and river cruises in more than 70 countries.
Next thing you know Peter is a Tauck director with advice from the company’s founder – Dick Tauck – “Make me look good.”
And Peter took Dick’s advice.
For the next 25 years, Peter led 22 different Tauck tours all over the world.
And he never said “no” to any new itinerary or any new schedule.
Peter’s favourite country – South Africa.
“God’s country. When you go out on a jeep and get up close to a pride of lions in their home environment, it’s so wonderful and so are the people.”
Today Peter and his brother George live in a bungalow outside Vancouver. Their backyard overlooking a ravine, close enough to see an endless array of wildlife, parading by for them to enjoy.
A momma bear and her cubs are the favourites.
Click on the picture below to see the video.
And when not doing that Peter likes to chill out.
Always active Peter is a volunteer with Meals On Wheels, a program delivering meals to seniors, people with serious medical issues, caregivers, people recovering from major surgeries.
Peter Tanner – life is an endless journey of being open to new things.
Every Wednesday, veteran journalist, George Froehlich, gets personal – sharing with you, his amazing travel destinations, his wonderful recipes, art he loves, music he enjoys.
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