Why Travel Beyond
I joined (and continue to stay at) Travel Beyond for two main reasons: the people and the experiences. Of course, an obvious perk of working at a travel company is the opportunity to explore. I’ve experienced parts of this world that I never planned or even expected. Most of the year though, rather than sipping wine in Stellenbosch or watching the Great Migration in the Masai Mara, I am based in Wayzata, Minnesota. And it is from home that I appreciate the real perk of Travel Beyond: my team. The people who have joined Travel Beyond over the years are some of the best and make living in snowy Minnesota well worth it.
Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda
Latin America: Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras
Additional countries: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Israel, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Iceland, Canada
BA in Anthropology and Classical Civilizations, University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
I joined Travel Beyond right out of college and over the years I have held many different positions. I started off as a Travel Producer, then a Travel Associate, and then moved into the Travel Consultant role. My latest move was becoming Travel Beyond’s Sales Development Specialist where I assist with the Travel Producer, Travel Associate, and Travel Consultant teams.
Professional Awards & Accomplishments
Travel Agent magazine “30 Under 30” Recipient – 2019
Where I’ve Lived Abroad
Years ago I was fortunate to live abroad in Florence, Italy, where I traveled the country extensively, taste testing every gelato shop from Como to Sicily.
Most Memorable Travel Experience
During a visit to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, I had a thrilling animal sighting that still gives me chills. My group and I were silently driving home in the dark one evening when our driver came to an abrupt stop. I looked up, and there was a pride of about a dozen lions laying in the middle of the road. Our driver turned off the engine and with only the stars in the sky to provide us with light, we quietly watched the lions as they got up and slowly walked to us. The lions took turns curiously passing by our vehicle, looking up at us as they went. They were close enough to the car that I could have touched them. After the lions were gone, my group just sat there quietly for a while, enjoying the thrill of that moment. It was a magical evening.
My Most Recent Trip
My most recent adventure took me to East Africa to explore both Tanzania and Rwanda. My first week was spent completing Tanzania’s northern circuit, visiting Tarangire National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Grumeti Reserve, and the northern section of the Serengeti. After Tanzania, I flew to Kigali and spent my second week exploring the different areas of Rwanda. While there, I was fortunate enough to trek to see both chimpanzees and gorillas. Both treks were extraordinary but spending an hour watching the gorillas interact with one another and noticing the similarities between gorillas and humans was the highlight of my entire trip.
Shinde (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
Speak with any Travel Beyond consultant about best camps in the Okavango Delta, and you’re likely to hear Shinde Camp on their list. Why? Animal viewing is spectacular here, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. Shinde offers game drives, nature walks, mokoro rides (traditional dugout canoes), motorboat safaris, and fishing. The camp is also near a permanent water source. So, while other camps in the Delta only offer water activities during specific times of the year, Shinde offers water activities year-round.
Sarara Camp (Namunyak Conservancy, Kenya)
As soon as I arrived at Sarara Camp and saw the spectacular views, I fell in love with this camp. While my mornings watching the sunrise out on my porch were pure bliss, the real magic of this place are the people. Sarara Camp is focused on creating a positive impact on local communities. Ninety percent of the staff come from nearby communities, and the camp helps even more people by offering a selection of activities for guests to learn about the community and the Samburu culture. You can visit a local village, bead with the local women, take part in an interactive workshop with IllKonono blacksmiths, and so much more. This is my favorite camp for anyone wanting to have an authentic cultural experience.
Cape Grace Hotel (Cape Town, South Africa)
The Cape Grace is an elegant but quirky hotel located right on the V&A Waterfront. This tasteful hotel is subtly designed to make you feel like you’re in a sunken ship with whimsical features like shoes and pots hanging from the chandeliers. The Cape Grace is truly unique to Cape Town. The location is also unbeatable. You can walk straight out the front door and walk two minutes to the waterfront, where there are many shops and restaurants to enjoy an afternoon.
Singita Sweni Lodge (Kruger National Park, South Africa)
Singita Sweni Lodge receives 5 stars from me in every category. The lodge is stunning with a contemporary design, bold colors, and a flood of natural light, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows everywhere. Food here is also exquisite, and the lodge has its own wine cellar and in-house sommelier to provide recommendations to improve your dining experience.
If you can get yourself to leave the gorgeous lodge, you will be even more amazed by the wildlife here. Sweni Lodge is located within the Kruger National Park, which is considered the most productive area in all southern Africa. Although technically in the park, the lodge has a bubble of private land which means that at Sweni Lodge you get the same amazing animal-sightings as you would in the Kruger National Park, but with all the benefits of being on private land.