• profiles

    Paddy Renouf

    paddy renouf, 58, flâneur, london

    If you want to understand what Paddy Renouf does, Google the word flâneur — we certainly had to before speaking to him. The creation of French author Charles Baudelaire, the flâneur, he wrote, was “a passionate spectator,” or a man who wanders the streets soaking in culture at every level.

    In Renouf’s case, the streets are London, and the spectating is done on behalf of Sheikhs, celebrities and C-Suite executives from the top brands of the world. And here’s the best part about it: it’s his full-time job, one he began thinking about while in the midst of building a traditional career.

    “I had time between jobs to walk around and observe the city I’d observed for years, and it led to all sort of thoughts you wouldn’t have if you worked from 9 and 5,” he told me. “And I thought, ‘If money was no problem, and I had all the time in the world, what would I most like to look at?’ I just developed a love of the environment I’m in, and living in the moment and experiencing in the benefits of serendipity, which is finding things you wanted but didn’t know you were looking for.”

    Not surprisingly, Serendipity is also the name of his business and its high-gloss website features some impressive testimonials. When both Frasier AND Russell Brand sing your praises online, you know you’re onto something.

    But it’s the path to Serendipity that most fascinated me. Renouf spent the majority of his career working for companies, traveling around the world and staying in five-star hotels. It’s there he discovered how lonely life at a luxury hotel is on the weekends. When friends from his travels came and visited him in London, he vowed to never leave them alone on the weekend. So he picked them up in a Bentley and showed them around.

    Having a curiosity that extends from the city’s seedy underbelly to the rarefied air of its private galleries helps, of course. There doesn’t seem to be a person Renouf doesn’t know, or is interested in knowing, or might be just a party away from connecting to.

    For example, there was the lauded painter who he was seated next to at a small dinner party who not only ended up tutoring him on his own painting, but asked if Paddy would sit for a portrait. It now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

    And as for Paddy’s own painting? From starting with some basic supplies and a book titled Anyone Can Paint, Renouf ended up focusing on landscapes. An eccentric farmer friend of his invited him to show them at his restaurant to see if anyone wanted to buy them. Of the nine he painted, seven sold.

    The purpose of this isn’t to relay the story of a man who turns to gold everything he touches — Renouf has made plenty of missteps as well — but rather to champion the idea that it’s not too late for anything really. Paddy was 47 when he took a risk to start a business offering bespoke guide services, and the path to that point was littered not with what-ifs or maybes but unqualified yeses.

    “I’d encourage people in every way to discover what it is they love doing, and pursue that,” he told me. “Realistically, if they can’t afford to abandon the day job then they should do both. But the idea is, dare to do it. Just say yes to everything. I’ve said yes to so many things that have led to so many things that wouldn’t have happened.”

    - Advertisement -

    Don't Miss Out!

    Sign up for the AGEIST newsletter! It's FREE and delivered to your inbox weekly.

    Andreas Tzortzis
    Andreas Tzortzis
    He has worked as a journalist for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Monocle Magazine from Berlin and London before leading Red Bull’s mainstream-facing content platform, The Red Bulletin, from Los Angeles. He recently returned to his hometown of San Francisco with his small family. dre@agei.st
    - Advertisement -


    Being Lazy? That’s Good! The Rationale for Doing Nothing

    By Bija BennettDo you think that you’re being lazy when you’re not doing something? Or wasting time when you’re simply just being there? Chances are...

    5 Ways to Strengthen the Gut-Brain Connection and Boost Your Brain Power

    You would have to have been walled off from the world recently, meditating in a cave or exploring deep in the Amazon jungles, not...

    Kim Marshall, 62: Multi-Generational PR

    We met Kim last fall while speaking at The Global Wellness Summit in Singapore and were fascinated by this humble, direct Midwesterner who is...

    8 Reasons Why We Love Ritual Multivitamins for Women Over 50

    We are so proud to have been chosen as the launch partner for Ritual’s new Essential for Women 50+ multivitamin. Before making our decision...

    CIRKEL Love and Sex

    Valentine's Day is coming up and CIRKEL is having an intergenerational mentor event around the world's oldest topic, Sex and Love, on Feb 6....