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Get to Know Our Staff at Boundless Journeys

Here at Boundless Journeys, our expert home team combines a love for travel with an insider’s knowledge of off-the-beaten-path adventures. Our staff has traveled extensively around the globe, scouting trails and waterways, finding the hidden gems of each destination, and our greatest joy is crafting outstanding travel experiences for you. If there is somewhere you want to go, chances are we’ve been there!

When you call Boundless Journeys, you will reach a real person, not a machine. Our tour managers have a passion for adventure travel, and when not exploring new destinations, they love helping you choose the perfect trip and planning your next adventure.

From your first call, we take care of every detail of your vacation, whether it’s assisting with pre- or post-trip extensions and obtaining visas, to providing specific information about your trip. Simply choose a Boundless Journeys tour, and let us help you do the rest. Our travel experts look forward to providing you with an unforgettable journey!

Meet the Boundless Journeys Team:

"My Boundless Journeys trip exceeded my expectations in every way and I feel like a richer person for having experienced it. Thank you again for another life changing experience!"

- S. Grenier, Bhutan: Hiking in the Peaceful Kingdom

Matt Holmes

Founder and President

In a world that seems to change more quickly with each passing year, it is important to step outside our usual routine, to slow down, and to take time to remember what connects us all. We invite you to join us as we trek the paths of yak herders in Bhutan, paddle amid the sun-dappled islands of Palau, and discover the forgotten villages of Tuscany on foot. Our expert home team combines a love for travel with an insider’s knowledge of off-the-beaten-path experiences and a passion to share the best of the world with you.

"Working with Karen was an absolute delight. There was never a point nor issue that did not receive prompt and professional answers. Having traveled the world with many different tour companies, I have never had the ease of experience that I did with Boundless Journeys. Thank you, Karen, you made the trip planning fantastic!”

– D. Munro, Peru: The Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

Karen Cleary

Destination Manager

Areas of expertise: Africa (Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zanzibar).

Latest journey: Researching our Ultimate Elephant Safari in Zimbabwe. To sum it up in one word: epic! There is nowhere else that I’ve been with such incredible opportunities to photograph elephants, topped off with beautiful, intimate lodges.

Where next: I’m looking forward to heading to Namibia soon to explore the unique landscapes of the desert and Skeleton Coast.

Favorite places: Wherever I am at the moment; but if I had to pick a few standouts they’d be PeruBotswana, Tanzania, and Ireland. I could go back to the wild places of Africa 1,000 times and never tire of the grandeur.

Favorite travel quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

Best travel experience: I’ve been so lucky to be able to see places many people only dream of. But it’s not the famous places that I remember so much as the little experiences along the way. Waiting for the ferry to leave Great Blasket Island off the coast of Ireland, I decided to take advantage of the time. I found a secluded stretch of beach and went for a swim in the Atlantic just as it was starting to rain.

Nobody ever talks about the colors of the north Atlantic, but it’s the most beautiful, translucent aquamarine color. There have been other memorable times, and some that are certainly more impressive to talk about, but that day has stuck with me…the perfect water, the solitude, and that totally alive feeling.

“Many thanks to Deborah and our guide Alessandro for an absolutely wonderful trip! It was beyond our expectations and our wildest dreams! The tour was well structured and organized, and the walks were different every day—each one was more beautiful than the other! The hotels, food, wines, etc., were all extremely well chosen and of the highest quality.

In summary it was one of the most memorable and precious adventures and journeys we have ever had, and we will treasure it for the rest of our lives! Thank you for your help and for giving us this incredible opportunity…really, we can’t thank you enough!”
– Miriam W., Italy: A Taste of Tuscany & Umbria

Deborah Tobey

Destination Manager

Areas of expertise: Europe (Iceland, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, Spain), Ecuador, and Costa Rica.

Latest journey: Traveling to southeast Iceland where I spent days walking on glaciers, hiking through volcanic landscapes, and standing under waterfalls…followed by visits to natural hot springs. To me, the beauty of Iceland is in the great contrast of lava and ice, long dark winters and summers lit by the midnight sun, and vast expanses of unspoiled nature lying at the doorstep of the highly modern city of Reykjavik.

Favorite places: Rome, Italy—a museum with no walls or ceiling…and that gelato!

Favorite travel quote: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

Best travel experience: Sicily! Perhaps because it is an island, or perhaps because Sicilians consider themselves impregnable to outsiders, Sicily is an experience unlike any other I have had in Italy. From flamboyant cathedrals, to immense Greek temples, to ancient lava flows, and sweet pastries, the past is present in the smallest details.

As J.W. Goethe wrote in Journey to Italy, “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to have not seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.”

Where next: Looking forward to developing a new trip for Boundless Journeys! Greece is at the top of my list, but let me know if you have suggestions.

“We are all still talking about our wonderful time on the Tour du Mont Blanc, and are all wondering how the next trip will compare! We are thrilled to have found and connected with Boundless Journeys and look forward to seeking your help in choosing the next adventure.”
- Sharon W., Tour du Mont Blanc

Michelle Cournoyer

Destination Manager

Areas of expertise: The Alps, Scotland, Slovenia, Peru, Palau.

Latest journey: I was thrilled to hike in Scotland with our guide Cory and a great group of guests. The warm hospitality of the Scottish people, the incredibly fresh food, and the hiking opportunities definitely exceeded my expectations.

Favorite places: I’m a bit biased as a Francophile and mountain lover, so the French Alps—anywhere amidst them. More specifically? Standing atop the Domes de Miages with Mont Blanc seemingly a stone’s throw away, surrounded by 360 degrees of incredible mountain beauty—glaciers below, blue sky above, granite peaks, snow underfoot, silence and stillness, save a slight whisk of wind.

The café in Contamines Montjoie (where we enjoyed pizza oozing with Roblechon cheese and potatoes with a glass of French wine afterwards) was quite a nice place, too!

Favorite travel quote: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A. Shedd

Best travel experience: My visit with a very inspiring woman in Brittany, France years ago. Her 85-year-old friend taught me how to make galettes of buckwheat flour and water (not be confused with crepes made with milk and white flour!). She gracefully demonstrated the use of the ladle, rake, and long skinny spatula and made a perfect product each time. Mine? They looked more like a Rorschach test—or maybe that was due to her homemade cider she kept serving me.

We then proceeded to a traditional Fez Noz dance, which started at about 10:00 p.m. With what seemed to be with everyone’s kids, parents, and grandparents from town, we danced in circles linked by pinkies around two musicians sitting in back-to-back chairs, playing what resembled oboes as loud as bagpipes. We left at 1:00 a.m., long before the dance was over!

Where next: Slovenia—It’s time to explore some new Alps. I’ve been intrigued by Slovenia for years and look forward to experiencing Slovenian culture and cuisine and discovering everything the Julian Alps has to offer first-hand.

“Thanks for all of your help. I have never worked with a more professional and competent agent for any trip in my life. You are the gold standard. I appreciate everything you’ve done for us.”

-Dianne M., Peru Custom Tour

Kristen Bernarsky

Destination Manager

Areas of expertise: Japan, Bhutan, Nepal, VietnamPalau, New Zealand

Latest journey: Palau! The waters are so blue and clear, the marine life is so colorful and abundant, and the vast stretches of ocean and secluded beaches provided such tranquility that I didn’t want to leave.

Favorite places: Australia will always hold a special place in my heart as my original travel destination obsession and my very first trip overseas. It was truly a dream come true to spend several months in tropical northeast Queensland with its endless beaches to explore and exotic wildlife to encounter (or walk briskly away from in the case of some snakes and spiders). I love the Australian people with their “no worries” attitude and easy-going sense of humor.

Favorite travel quote: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” Anonymous

Best travel experience: Taiwan! It was the wonderfully welcoming and laid-back Taiwanese people who shared their beautiful island with me that really awards this travel experience into a “best” travel experience. Memories of night markets, the smell of stinky tofu, elaborately decorated temples with their distinct smell of burning incense, hiking Xueshan Mountain, and driving a scooter through the winding Taroko Gorge National Park make up my fondest Taiwanese memories.

Best souvenir: My dog, Modi.

Where next: Nepal to scout our Everest Lodge-to-Lodge Trek!

"My encounters with everyone associated with Boundless Journeys, from start to finish, have been, without exception, pleasant and free of frustration. That's rare enough to be astonishing!”
-Julie D., Iceland: Hiking the Land of Fire and Ice

Katya d'Angelo

Marketing Associate

Latest journey: I had a wonderfully immersive cultural experience in Bhutan and Laos. Having never been to Asia before, this trip was eye-opening to the cultural, religious, and topographic diversity of the continent (and I was only in a small area!). With the hikes, a Buddhist astrologer, a ride up the Mekong River, and walking through local markets, this was one of my top adventures!

Best travel experience: Too many to name, but two stand out – watching a Mexico/Honduras soccer match in a Honduran bar and celebrating with the whole village when Honduras won and hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc with my husband—there were times I really couldn’t believe we were really there, surrounded by utterly jaw-dropping scenery everyday. And those picnic lunches with 3 kinds of French cheese and fresh baguettes…Unforgettable!

Favorite place: Italy, where I have family and friends and speak the language. But I find new favorite places every time I travel…It’s become a problem.

Favorite travel quote: “…a tourist visits all the big sights, sees spectacles on stage, and returns home unchanged, with a suitcase full of knickknacks. A traveler becomes a temporary local, engages with the culture, and comes home enriched, with a vivid collection of experiences and a broader perspective.” – Rick Steves

Where next: Hoping for a Northern Lights trip with my husband this winter.

"I've planned a number of major trips in the past by myself and after this experience I'll never do it again. I had no concept of all the fringe benefits of enlisting someone like yourself to make it happen. Thank you again!!"
-Scott B., Tanzania: Great Migration Safari

Chris Kolter

Guest Services Coordinator

Latest journey: In March, I visited Arches National Park with my family and grandchildren. Hiking to Delicate Arch with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains as a backdrop was thrilling. Our national parks are a treasure, and preserving them for future generations is critical.

Best travel experience: Having worked in the travel industry since the late 80s I have been fortunate to have traveled around the world. One of the best trips was to Chile. It featured the sights from the Lake District to the Atacama Desert and places in between. The accommodations were exceptional and the scenery breathtaking. My favorite experience was cruising up the coast in a small boat in the early morning watching the marine birdlife, seals, and sea otters!

Favorite place: My own backyard here in Stowe, VT! I’ve seen the Taj Mahal at dawn and the Matukituki Valley in New Zealand, but seeing Mount Mansfield bathed in brilliant pink of the rising sun is about as beautiful as it gets.

Favorite travel quote: “You can’t get there from here.”—an old Vermontism!

Where next: Portugal is high on my list.

"Boundless Journeys provided us with a fantastic trip. We have gone on a few other adventure trips and can honestly say that Boundless Journeys is far superior to any of the other companies we've traveled with."
-Susan R., France, Italy, & Switzerland: Tour du Mont Blanc

Emily Trostel

Assistant Destination Manager

Latest journey: Moving to Vermont from Colorado via a 40-day road trip with my wife and tiny dog!

Best travel experience: One of my most memorable travel experiences was taking the train from Berlin to Tarifa, Spain and then ferrying to Morocco (which in reverse was an underwhelming 2-hour flight). Traveling overland extended the sense of place, and felt like a true journey across cultures and landscapes. I ended up chatting with a man sitting across from me in a Tangier café. He was reading three different newspapers in three different languages, and shared stories about growing up in a poor fishing village before making his way to university. Quite openly, he told me about his attempts to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar, how he hoped for a better life in Europe. He knew where all the guards patrolled the docks and the best spots to hide at sunset. The rawness of his reality humbled me, and after we parted ways I couldn’t help wonder every night if he was out there, swimming.

Favorite places: What can I say, I’m in love with the world in all its wildness and wonder! But Ghana and Mali hold a special place in my heart. I’d love to return to West Africa—from the little I’ve experienced, there is much more to explore and learn about the region’s cultural and political history. And the food, music, art, and landscapes are incredible!

Favorite travel quote:Adventure is a path. Real adventure—self-determined, self-motivated, often risky—forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind—and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

Where next: I’ll soon be traveling on my first Boundless Journeys trip, Spain: Hiking the Camino de Santiago!

Questions?

Our dedicated team of travel experts are here to help.

1-800-941-8010

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National Geographic Adventure Magazine

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