A Ally Lewing – Spain and Portugal
My favorite passions? Hmmm...enjoying a gin and tonic on the beach, while the sun sets, is certainly one of them. Baking and shopping are both always fun. With a background in the hotel industry, I have a soft spot for hotels that are truly unique and I love many of the ones that we use in Spain and Portugal. Most of all, I’m a die-hard fan of futbol – the European kind. I grew up playing soccer and I think it is truly the world’s sport. It can be played on any surface with any type of makeshift goal. All you need is a ball. And for me, there is nothing like El Clasico in Spain – when Real Madrid and Barcelona take to the field. Not only because the games are so competitive, but because the fans on both sides offer some of the best people watching I know.
G Ginger Hill – Africa
I've seen quite a bit – from my birthplace in Kentucky to South Africa to New York City. I have taught school in Kentucky, sold safaris in Johannesburg, and spent 20 years biking, hiking, and canoeing all over the continent. After work you can often find me at a Broadway show – certainly any with Hugh Jackman. In my 20 years in South Africa I was a witness to history. I witnessed the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, stood in line six hours to vote in the first free elections, and shed a tear as the Springboks won the 1995 Rugby World Cup, right in Johannesburg – an event which restored South African pride and marked their return to the world stage.
J Jena Gardner – CEO
I may appear to be a New Yorker now, but I’m really a Montana girl. I don’t think I will ever stop loving the great outdoors: Montana’s enormous sky, its horses, and its wide-open spaces engraved themselves on my heart at a young age. When I travel, I find it’s the elements of places that remind me of my childhood that I love the most. Not surprisingly, Africa is at the top of my list, and the focus of many of the travel sustainability efforts of the foundation I co-founded – The Bodhi Tree Foundation. I want to make sure that the world’s special destinations are around for my sons – triplet boys under the age of five – to experience someday. I’m so thankful they inherited my love of the outdoors – I don’t think our house would still be standing if not.
J Joel A. Zack – Explorer and Visionary Dude
I knew I would be an architect by the time I was in fourth grade. How an architect – I am one, actually – ended up in this business is a story way too long for this profile, but for me there is only one way to recharge my batteries: hit the road. Everyone loves to ask me, “where is your favorite place to go?” And the answer is always the most recent place I have been. When I’m not on the road, I love my life in New York: work, rare visits to the gym, less rare visits to the theatre (spectating only, can’t act worth a darn) and summer evenings on my building’s rooftop in Greenwich Village with a glass of Spanish Priorat.
J John Cagle – Greece & Portugal
Here’s one you haven’t heard: when I was kid, rather than go to the movies or the park, I’d beg my mom to take me to local travel agencies so I could collect brochures of the places I dreamed of visiting. I’ve been on a mission to see as much of the world as possible since. I’ve channeled my inner Mark Twain backpacking across Europe and lived like Robinson Crusoe on an island in Thailand. My favorite destination is wherever I’m going next, near or far. But my Southern roots always draw me back to North Carolina. I’m partial to BBQ & sweet tea (of course), front porches and basketball. I consider myself an international ambassador of Southern hospitality. When I’m not on the road scoping out epic experiences for my clients, I’m probably hanging out with my golden retriever, listening to music, and enjoying a glass of wine.
J John Petrullo – Spain & Greece
As a New Yorker through and through, you bet I take every chance I get to escape the city. That’s why, after college, I landed in New Orleans on an AmeriCorps assignment. While there I learned 4 truths: I wanted to connect with people across the globe, I would never stop exploring the world, that Frenchman Street is hands down the place to go for jazz, and beignets are overrated. Don’t tell me, you love beignets… We may not agree on pastries, but I know we’ll agree Spain is unforgettable. Here’s how I know: after New Orleans I lived in Madrid for two years, spending my weekends and every dime I made seeing the country end to end. Now, I can’t stop talking about it. Luckily, it’s my job to share Spain with as many curious travelers as possible!
J Julia Binks – Africa
I was born and raised in Kenya and my parents’ passion for Africa was contagious. My father has been a private guide for nearly half a century and safari is engrained in my heart, and soul. I feel most at home with my camera in hand, sitting on the roof of my father’s Land Cruiser, scanning the savannah for the next action-packed photo opportunity. I’ve been blessed to witness countless wildebeest migrations across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, trekked to see the gorillas in the Virunga Mountains, and swam with elephants in the Okavango Delta, but Africa still holds so many mysteries, and there are so many more adventures to uncover.
M M. Thomas Jolley – Chief Operation Officer
I’m a Utah mountain boy (well, old man now) at my core. You can usually find me lost in the outdoors skiing, backpacking, climbing, fly-fishing, and generally in search of the world’s great wild places. I’m passionate about adventure and sustainable travel and take every chance I get to live what I love: from climbing Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro to trekking the full Annapurna circuit in Nepal. When I have to work, I’m an attorney (surprise!), but the kind that laughs a lot. I’ve dedicating my career to helping travel and hospitality companies thrive. Should our trails cross on some fabulous adventure, just remember, “Always drink upstream from the herd!”
M Mike Korn – Morocco
I’m a sports fanatic, Vermonter at heart, and craft beer enthusiast – so, a round of golf and sipping a Switchback Ale is the perfect Sunday afternoon. I like to unwind with early evening treks through Central Park with my wife and our Welsh terrier. I love to quote movies – ask me any line in a Mel Brooks or Bill Murray film – and I sing random song lyrics all day long, although you won’t find me on American Idol. When I get hungry, my mind starts to wander to Istanbul – I imagine the waft of freshly baked simit (Turkish bagels) in the morning, accompanied by a strong cup (is there any other type?) of Turkish coffee, and start to wonder what my next excuse for a trip will be.
N Neil Weidberg – President
I’m a Brooklyn-born, podcast-obsessed dad with two lovely, and loud, kids. I half-heartedly try to get to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I secretly love Excel and FileMaker Pro (others in the office do not as much). I like to hike in New Hampshire, and I love food courts anywhere, but I learned a long time ago to never eat the free samples no matter how yummy they look. I got to know a small family of baboons in South Africa once. They were unusually hospitable. Maybe I should go back and visit them again.