We love to travel, not just to see places but to immerse ourselves in foreign cultures.
We adore meeting the wonderful characters that bring destinations to life. We've stayed in the simplest of pensiones and the grandest of palazzi; we appreciate both equally, and everything in between. We met in 2006, but we're convinced our paths crossed countless times even before then...including at one memorable Palio in the early 1990s that had us squished among the spirited crowds in Siena's Piazza del Campo. Our passports are always at the ready and when we hit the road, we strive to revisit favourite haunts, discover hidden gems, reconnect with old colleagues and introduce ourselves to new ones. When we plan your trip, we hope to share these special places and people with you.
Jen visited 6 countries by the age of 6 months, and so it began. The travel bug well ingrained, she combined her passions by the age of 17 when she spent a summer living in Siena to study Medieval & Renaissance Art. The taste of a foreign lifestyle was just too delectable, so after several semesters at the University of Toronto, Jen returned to complete her BA in Florence where she lived for nearly 3 years.
While she studied, she explored Italy and guided trips in Europe for Butterfield & Robinson, laying the groundwork for her experience as a trip planner. After some time back in Toronto, Jen moved to France and designed luxury private and corporate trips throughout Italy with Burgundy-based Hamilton Fitzjames. After four more years of living the European lifestyle and gathering an inspired network of local colleagues, she returned to Canada determined to share some of these special people and places with other like-minded explorers. So many friends and acquaintances shared their keen curiosity about "the real Europe," and with this Jen recognized a niche market that craved authentic cultural experiences when they travelled. This craving for authenticity ran a high risk of going unsatisfied among a demographic with no time for the necessary research and planning...and it was then that she founded Quench.
Many work and research trips, along with her own exciting adventures worldwide, have broadened her destination knowledge, spanning the budget and luxury markets in Africa, Asia, India, and South America. While she has many favourite places, her next trip to Italy is never very far off.
Mercedeh was on her first plane at the age of 5 months: a journey from her native country of Iran to Scandinavia on holiday with her family. Since then she's lived on four continents and traveled to more than 35 countries.
Wanderlust ultimately guided her professional path. After graduating from the University of Toronto with a degree in Commerce & Economics, she was recruited by the public accounting firm KPMG to join its audit practice.
Soon after obtaining her Chartered Accountant's designation, she crossed the pond from Toronto to London and from there transferred to Cape Town, South Africa on a four-month work project. When she returned to Canada, she took on senior management positions at KPMG before leaving the corporate world behind to become Director of Operations and CFO at a luxury tour operator.
Since 2003, Mercedeh has been a feature travel writer for The Globe and Mail, a columnist for The Report on Business Magazine, Away, and 1879 by Birks. Her work also has been published in ELLE Canada and Chatelaine.
Her recent travels include a safari through East Africa, a family-friendly road trip in Sweden and England, and an idyllic week in a Majorcan villa. She speaks two languages fluently and hopes to master four more before she retires.
Photo Credits on this website:
Portraits of Jen and Mercedeh by Christine McNab.
Destination photographs courtesy of Jen Deacon, Mercedeh Sanati, Christine McNab, Julia Cabassi, Eleanor Deacon, Lori Toledano, Marilyn Orecchio, Rob Dawson, Kiloran McRae, Wendy Reid & Natalie Herbert.