Displaying items by tag: travel

I wasn’t born with a backpack.  As a kid my idea of traveling was taking the two hour drive from Chicago to the lakes of Wisconsin.  But over time small glimpses of other cultures and landscapes reeled me in like an aggressive street vendor.  In the past ten years I’ve gone from being a travel newbie to visiting more than 20 countries in four continents.

I think that’s one of the great things about traveling.  It doesn’t take a PhD or Swiss bank account to explore the world (although some pocket change helps).   All you need is a little curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a desire to connect with people and places around the globe.

I came to work for Solimar’s Undiscovered Travel Collection to help foster those connections.  At Solimar we’re working to help local communities develop a positive stake in their tourism growth.  I look forward to telling you about the undiscovered places of the world, and the ways you can experience those places while contributing to the preservation of their cultural and ecological integrity.

With every destination I visit, I add five more to my travel wish list.  I hope this journal can add a few destinations to yours.  Keep exploring and I hope to see you out there.

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Hi, Talia Salem here, the new Marketing Coordinator for The Undiscovered Travel Collection.

Those who know me, know I love to travel. Traveling is something that is part of my very fiber. My passion for globetrotting and discovering new places arose in me at a very young age. I got my first passport at five months old and soon after went on my first international trip to Amman, Jordan. While I was not yet in control of my travel schedule, or anything for that matter, this early experience with travel undoubtedly stuck with me. 


Growing up I made many more trips to Jordan to visit my mother’s family and explore the region. Each time I returned home with a slightly different perspective on the world, but I didn’t fully realize the importance of these experiences until I got to college. So when I was offered the opportunity to study abroad while working on my Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, naturally I accepted. I packed up my bags and moved to Paris, France for one year to immerse myself in the French culture, which included taking all my courses in French. While living and learning in French was challenging at times, especially considering how frequently I was asked about my political views during the Iraq war, I attribute my mastery of the French language to France’s intellectual curiosity about other cultures and other peoples’ opinions on politics and the world.

This year living in the cultural capital of France was indescribably enriching. The city is a veritable crossroads of different cultures, political beliefs, people, perspectives, and activities. It was also the perfect jumping-off point for traveling to lesser known, more intimate destinations in France and Europe, which allowed me to experience the authentic culture outside of the mainstream tourism meccas. (It is very rare to meet a Parisian that is actually from Paris; if they tell you they are, lookout for the unmistakably southern French “twang.”) This year of traveling in Europe led me to another year of living in France, which gave way to many other trips in other countries and eventually a career in the travel industry. 

As a traveler, travel industry professional and a travel writer, I always seek out new experiences and that feeling of being stimulated by a completely foreign essence. These days, an authentic and novel travel experience can be hard to come by. America has found its way into many destinations. You can hear American top 40 in a club in Dubai and eat McDonalds in China. And while these are the effects of globalization and they have a place in the tourism world, many travelers like me seek out a more unfamiliar experience.

 My quest to uncover new, off-the-beaten-path destinations is what attracted me to The Undiscovered Travel Collection. Our portfolio of destinations, communities, lodges and settings are largely unknown to the traveling public and provide a distinct and meaningful sense of place. The Collection is authentic by nature—and not only because authenticity is a huge travel trend right how. Our members do not have to hype up their local cuisine, high employment of local residents, or well-protected natural settings, because this is the inherent experience that The Collection offers.

We hope that you find something undiscovered in our Collection. I am signing off for now.

A la prochaine (until next time),

Talia Salem

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When someone asks me where I am from, I cannot really say one place. I rattle off a list of countries and states, it is almost easier just say that I am from D.C. I have lived abroad for over a quarter of my life. In a sense, I have spent my life traveling and it drives a major part of me today.

I live to explore international destinations and learn about the various cultures (that is me in Vietnam pictured below). I seek out those exclusive offerings I can only experience onsite.  Recently, I have been interested in returning to various destinations that I have not visited in approximately 10 years.  By doing so, I can see how much that country has changed and been influenced by Westernization and globalization.

These experiences have permitted me to bolster my skills to interact with people from various cultures and have fueled my passion for the greater tourism industry. There are so many amazing tourism destinations, many of which are still undiscovered to me, that will lead me to the discovery of a new part of myself and the world.

I hope you find something Undiscovered in The Collection as I plan to share these unique experiences with enthusiastic travelers like me and you.

-Michelle Rasper

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Hi everyone, Karen Megarbane, here. You could say that I was naturally brought up for a career in international development and sustainable tourism. Different cultures, traditions and languages have always fascinated me. By the time I was seven years old, I could speak three languages and had already traveled to over twenty different countries. I was quickly becoming a citizen of the world. This global feeling continues to grow, as does the number of counties I have visited. (That is me in The Bahamas below). By the time I am thirty, I plan to have visited all the continents—the only two remaining on my list are Australia and South America.


Growing up in Syria with multicultural roots and voyaging through most of Europe, traveling has always been an important aspect of my live and an obvious career path. As I plan to expand my career in International Development and capitalize on my undergraduate degree in Marketing from American University, joining the Undiscovered Travel Collection became an obvious choice.

I was immediately drawn to the diverse members of The Collection. Each destination, lodge and community represent different corners of the world, but they share the common thread of authenticity and offer visitors a one-off travel experience that they could find no where else. In addition to providing patently local encounters, the travel industry members who make up The Collection strive to conserve and improve their surrounding environments and communities.

Can’t wait to cross South America off my list, so I hope to see you in San Miguel del Bala!


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Hello to all our readers,

Jackson Stubbs here. I’m a Marketing Coordinator with Solimar International’s Undiscovered Travel Collection. I enjoy sports, the outdoors, and probably most of all, traveling (my travel list is long but not specific; I’ll go anywhere I haven’t been before, and I’d like to get back to few of the places I’ve already seen).

Born and raised in Melrose, MA, I have had a keen interest in traveling since I was in elementary school. My parents took me on a number of awesome trips around North America and Europe in my younger days, and I caught the travel bug sometime back then, which is good because it got a little boring spending most of my time three blocks from where I was born.


These traveling experiences developed into a passion for encountering new cultures and helping people less fortunate than me, and in the summers of 2008 and 2010, I participated in a research and development project in a rural community in Nepal (that is where I am in the picture above). Living with, learning about, and helping the people of this impoverished village inspired me to get into the development field. This experience also allowed me to witness first-hand how responsible tourism can benefit the economic development of poor communities, which ultimately brought me to where I am today.

With Solimar’s Undiscovered Travel Collection, I work on marketing for community tourism enterprises in East Africa in an effort to promote sustainable tourism and strengthen the economies of local communities. I am on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube all day getting the word out, but I do a lot of writing and editing as well, which suites me just fine (those who know me would say that I have the horribly impolite habit of correcting people’s grammar) and this provides me the forum to do that without making people want to forcibly shut me up.

As for the future, I hope to continue my travels, live and work abroad in the development industry, establish new relationships, and share my experiences with anyone willing to listen, which hopefully includes you.

Until next time,


Published in Our Journal

Hey I’m Sydney! The Undiscovered Travel Collection’s lone Latin America Marketing Coordinator and self-proclaimed travel addict. I was bitten by the travel bug in my early teens when I decided traveling and seeing the world was all I wanted to do, and announced (to anyone who would listen) that I planned on eventually studying abroad for a year.


It was during my studies abroad when I began to think of tourism as a means of economic development. Seeing both good and bad examples of ecotourism made me realize its potential for job creation, environmental conservation, and economic sustainability. The experience taught me that tourism—when implemented correctly—can benefit the greater community and the environment as a whole, not just me as the tourist. Similarly, I realized that setting up tourism according to ethical, economical and environmental sustainability guidelines is not always easy.

When I look at the destinations and accommodations within The Undiscovered Travel Collection, I see an assortment of places that meet my personal expectations of what characterizes responsible tourism. I didn’t think it was possible to make my travel wish list any longer—because it was too long to start with—but it has grown exponentially since I joined the team! As travelers and tourism operations become educated in responsible tourism I think the industry will change for the better, and I’m so excited to be a part of it!

I invite you to start exploring The Collection on your own and add to your travel wish list!



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