Meet Lisa, our Communications Manager, based in our Corporate Headquarters in Sarasota, Florida. A voice-over artist and award-winning travel writer, Lisa has written, narrated and produced some of the Go Touch Down video’s you may have seen. She maintains our website, generates internal and external newsletters and correspondence, and works closely with our COO to create sales and marketing materials across multiple platforms.
Q: Where did you travel to last?
Lisa: This past May my husband and I went on a cruise from Italy to Croatia and through the Greek Islands. I had the opportunity to explore two of the cities on our new Go Touch Down Croatia tour – Split, and Dubrovnik. They were truly magical – our clients are in for a treat!
Meet Lucia Barnard, African Travel Specialist based in Sarasota. Lucia was born in South Africa and moved with her husband and two kids to the USA in 2009. After living in Atlanta for a year, they settled in Sarasota, Florida. This well-traveled and energetic Travel Professional has been in the Travel Industry since 1992.
Q: In your opinion, what are some of the must-sees on a first-time South African Tour?
Lucia: Nothing beats the African bush surrounded by an African sunset; however the Cape Town experience is filled with everything I want in a vacation… amazing food, culture, shopping, and exploring eco wildlife is a must-do.
Meet Shelly, Sales Director Asia-Pacific and African Travel Specialist, born in Cape Town and based in both Australia and Indonesia. We managed to steal a few minutes to chat with this vibrant citizen of the globe.
Q: What is it like living on three continents?
Shelly: It’s been years since I’ve been based purely in one country so, it’s normal to me, home is where the heart is anyway, and my heart goes wherever I go, and I am very lucky I can work from literally anywhere, provided there is internet of course. I do get a bit muddled up sometimes when there’s daylight savings, but all my apps tend to sync to whatever time zone I am in, so I rarely miss an appointment.
Meet Tarryn Kirby, Sales Manager and Specialist Travel Consultant at our Oakville, Ontario branch. A native South African and Canadian resident, she reflects on the differences between the two countries she calls home.
Q: What do you miss most about living in South Africa?
Tarryn:I guess the obvious things that I miss would be friends and family. The South African lifestyle is very social, from dining out at your favorite restaurants every weekend to a casual Braai at a friend’s house, there is always something to celebrate! Not spending weekends with familiar faces was an adjustment at first. The loss of a support structure that comes with that also took some getting used to, but thankfully technology today helps close the gap and the stretch across the Atlantic becomes a little shorter. Another obvious would be that fantastic year-round weather of course!! I miss spending my winter holidays on the beach! That has certainly changed!
Meet Taylor, our sunny Admin and Travel Assistant. Hers is the friendly voice you’ll likely hear when you call, as she deftly manages our switchboard for our North America offices – while entering client flight details, initiating the client contract process, researching travel trade shows across the country, monitoring our online chat… and more. A recent rural Michigan transplant, this country girl is literally both a hunter and a gatherer.
Q: You not only are an accomplished cook, but at times you have also had to hunt and fish for your dinner. Any favorite recipes to share?
Taylor: Yes, my family and I are always spending time together in the kitchen. While I often experiment with new recipe ideas, my best are always those prepared the same day as the catch or hunt. There’s nothing more rewarding than going through the entire process in one day and sharing with others after. My northern secret is my side of Morel Mushroom Ragout. Picking mushrooms from the forest is a great northern tradition, and sides with most wild caught meals perfectly!
Meet Dana, our spunky Office Manager/Travel Manager, who comes to us from the Silicon Valley. Based in our Sarasota office, she handles everything from managing the staff in our corporate office to assisting clients with discount promotions and payments, issuing travel insurance for U.S. clients, and booking flights and excursions.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Dana: I am passionate about volunteering for our Sarasota schools with various fundraising projects, my favorite being raising money to fund our students for extensive costs in science research.
Meet Chris, an Event Travel Coordinator based in our Sarasota office. Chris has recently returned to work from spending a few days at home with his precious new baby boy, Everett Fox Vincenti. If Everett is anything like his dad, he will be gentle, caring and sweet.
Meet Kimberly, Land and Cruise Specialist – and party planner extraordinaire. Office celebrations have become magical since this real-life Disney princess joined our staff. As a travel agent for more than a decade, she pays the same meticulous attention to detail in planning memorable trips for our travelers.
Q: What are some of your top places to travel?
Kimberly: I adore traveling although some of my best memories are in my own backyard. I firmly believe that a love of travel is deep-rooted in our hearts goes with you wherever you are. The joy of travel is in trying new foods, learning new cultures, interacting with faces and places you’ve never seen before. If you try hard enough you can venture out in your own hometown and experience this and more. I have extensively traveled the USA (I drove from Florida to California solo at 16 years old in the days of payphones, not cell phones) Mexico, and the Caribbean. As I was married on a Disney island in the Bahamas with Captain Jack Sparrow present, I may have to list that trip as my top favorite!
Meet Melissa, our International Operations Manager. A veteran travel industry professional and also wise beyond her years, she oversees… well, a lot! We managed to steal a few moments from her jam-packed schedule to chat with her.
Meet Heibrie Barron, Sales Manager and Specialist Travel Consultant at our Oakville, Ontario branch. A native South African and a Canadian citizen, she reflects on the differences between the two countries she calls home.