What is your favorite travel memory?
I'd answer differently if asked on a different day, but today a story from Thailand comes to mind.My boyfriend and I were at Khao Sok National Park, a beautiful jungle reserve in the south. We hired a guide with a longtail boat to take us out on the lake for a day. It was a beautiful day, so he asked if we wouldn't mind if he brought his family along. We went to his house, picked up his wife and little girl, and spent an amazing day on the water with this lovely Thai family. We were having such a nice time that our guide extended the excursion to show us some of his favorite spots on the lake, including a beautiful swimming spot between some ivy-covered cairns. It was one of my happiest days in Thailand.
Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?
It's always surprised me how little you hear about Portugal. I've visited several times and come home every time thinking it was the best trip I ever took. Lisbon, Evora, and Oporto are fabulous cities, and Monseraz is one of the most stunning towns I've ever seen. It's an incredibly beautiful country with great food, friendly people who generally speak good English, and it's cheap and accessible. I think Spain just overshadows it.
I think Barcelona is really overrated. It's super touristy and the people aren't very friendly. Maybe my love of the rest of Spain makes me biased, but I just don't find it as appealing as Madrid or Sevilla or San Sebastian.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think the most important thing is to have a knowledgeable and responsive staff. Everyone here has traveled extensively and most have lived abroad, so we all intimately understand the processes and challenges that all of our participants face. Because of that experience, we're quick to respond and eager to help every step of the way.
What unique qualities does your company possess?
Having participated in a few study and teach abroad programs myself, I'm constantly amazed at the level of support that my Greenheart Travel colleagues provide. The program managers here are friendly, responsive, and so helpful. Because it's a non-profit, we aren't desperate to sell our programs --our focus is working with each participant to make their individual experience a great one.
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team
I just started working at Greenheart Travel after 5 years of teaching in Spain and Thailand. At this job I get to work with like-minded people who have endless fantastic travel stories and are constantly thinking about that next trip. They're all so enthusiastic about their participants because they love traveling abroad and want to help others make it happen. It's a wonderful team.