Why did you decide to start leading experiential travel tours?
Traverse Journeys is years in the making, if not decades. In fact, I can’t even pinpoint exactly where it began. Was it my globe-trotting Danish grandparents that instilled the love of travel in me at a very young age with the postcards, coins and stamps they sent me in all shapes and sizes? Was it the myriad books that I read as a kid, or was it my first pivotal trip abroad to Panamá at 17 to do service work in the jungle?
Whatever the case, as my journey into adulthood moved forward it took me to more and more places through college, grad school and career, ranging from journalism in Costa Rica, social change research in Brazil, running with the bulls in Pamplona (true story, for work!), teaching English in South Korea, and roadtripping through Namibia. Each and every experience has a unique story, and the common thread between them all is the people I met, the cultures I encountered, and the transformation I experienced every time.
What do you hope to gain from showing people your environment and culture?
In Clash! 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are, Hazel Markus and Alana Connor point out that one way the Global North – generally richer, safer and with better opportunities for employment and education – can be more understanding, empathetic, and open-minded about their neighbors in the Global South is by actually visiting them. Not just places, but people. This is critical in a global economy, and one with unprecedented conflict, food shortage, and economic and political migrants. This is why cultural exchange and education is an integral part of every trip that I develop. It’s about the space created to foster social change through people-to-people interaction, appreciation for nature, and rooting meaning into our favorite topic: travel.
What are you most excited to share with tourists?
I love to share the highlights of every destination we visit, whether it's some unique, local food, an interesting craft or tradition, a breathtaking landscape or challenging hike in nature, or the hospitality and friendliness of our local partners - everyone from guides and drivers, to chefs and restaurant owners, to change-makers in each community.
What specifically about your culture/history/environment would be beneficial for a traveler to learn about before taking their trip?
We encourage cultural education before each trip, not just learning the do's and don'ts of cultural etiquette but the deeper values that drive society. We provide a lot of this insight in our Welcome Packs and on our blog. We also love travel reading and have book lists for nearly every destination we visit!