Meet the Thomson Family Adventures Advisory Board members! These enthusiastic past travelers help us fine-tune our trips to make your family vacation even more unforgettable. We’re grateful for their input, and we're proud to have them as part of the Thomson family!

Stephanie Augenstein

I was born in Corning, NY and I now live in Charlotte, NC.

My dream trip: Tahiti

How many countries have you been to? 14

Most memorable meal while traveling: Gnocchi and fresh anchovies in Minori, Italy on the Southern Italy TFA trip. I always thought anchovies were disgusting until eating them fresh in Italy. The most amazing flavors came from the anchovies and the dishes were absolutely incredible.  I was in heaven!

Something unexpected: I lived in Communist Hungary as a child.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Eye-opening and Immersive

Bruce Berrol

I was born in Kansas City, MO, grew up in Oakland, CA and now live in Mill Valley, CA.

My dream trip: Chile (Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Torre del Paine, Atacama desert, Boriloche, etc.)

Most memorable meal while traveling: Michelin-starred dinner at La Siriola in San Cassiano, Italy in the Dolomites.

How many countries have you been to: 30+

Something unexpected: I earned an Olympic medal during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics (this is a bit of a cheat – I helped organize the Olympic torch relay, considered an “Olympic event”- so I received a participant’s medal, just like the athletes who participate in other Olympic events). But I also got an Olympic torch which the other athletes didn’t get!

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Authentic and Affirming

Danny Blitz

I was born in Elgin, IL and I now live in Cupertino, CA.

My dream trip: All throughout the Silk Road

Most memorable meal while traveling: After ballooning along the Serengeti, we were treated to an English breakfast, complete with linens and silverware, and an outdoor loo with a view.

How many countries have you been to: 42

Something unexpected: I used to think I was a rule-follower. 

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Enticing and Dynamic

 

Tina Bowe

I was born in Boston, MA and I now live in North Andover, MA.

My dream trip: Two trips that are on my bucket list: 1. Take a few weeks and travel the U.S., southern and northern routes, and 2. Take a few weeks to tour through Europe.

Most memorable meal while traveling: Thorny Bush, South Africa on our 4th of July celebration, singing of our country’s songs and introducing our new friends to s’mores.

Something unexpected: I try to step outside my comfort zone.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Awesome and Incredible

Eduardo Canabarro

I was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil. I immigrated to the U.S. in 1988 and now live in Live in Westfield, NJ.

My dream trip: Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Most memorable meal while traveling: Peking Duck in Beijing, with TFA.

How many countries have you been to: 33. I have made 100+ transatlantic trips to Europe and taken more than 600 flights (airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons). Crossed over the North Pole to Asia 7 times. My 18 year old twin sons have been to 20 countries, including TFA trips to China (2011), Turkey (2012) and Japan (2018).

Something unexpected: Love photography. 100,000+ pictures of my family & our trips. Soccer aficionado: coached my sons since they were 4!

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Absolutely priceless!

 

Mary Ann Casey

I was born in Buffalo, NY am now live in Hobe Sound, FL and New York City.

My dream trip: I have always wanted to visit Bali but never had the opportunity!

Most memorable meal while traveling: An outstanding barbecue birthday celebration at sunset on the Serengeti.

How many countries have you been to: 40+

Something unexpected: I have always had a curiosity about peoples throughout the world whose lifestyles are totally different from mine.

Three words to describe my TFA experiences: Well-customized and consistently excellent

Andrea Chan

I was born in Hong Kong and I now live in Menlo Park, CA.

My dream trip: Tanzania – I would stay at Thomson Safaris Eastern Serengeti camp and do volunteer work.

Most memorable meal while traveling: an Italian meal in Rome

How many countries have you been to: 23

Something unexpected: Worked 30+ years at a scientific institute that did research into the ultra-small building blocks of matter, as well as into the cosmos.

Three words to describe my TFA experiences: Magical, precious, born-free

 

Tony Currera

I was born and I now live in New Orleans, LA.

My dream trip: Antarctica or Rwanda

Most memorable meal while traveling: Guinea Pig in Peru

How many countries have you been to: At least 25 different countries with some visited a few times.

Something unexpected: I’m an older Dad to a 15 year old son and an older daughter who has a 17 year old son (my grandson). The four of us have an annual summer big travel vacation. The boys have a goal of visiting 5 continents before college. One left to go!!

Three words to describe my TFA experiences: Memorable family experiences

 

John DiGiovanni

I was born and I now live in Newport Coast, CA.

My dream trip: Egypt

Most memorable meal while traveling: Cuy (guinea pig) in Cusco, Peru

How many countries have you been to: 20+

Something unexpected: I play in a band

Two words to describe my TFA experience: Awesome experience

 

Neysa Finnie

I was born in Oakville, Ontario, Canada and now live in Vancouver, British Columbia.

My dream trip: Fiji

Most memorable meal while traveling: Private picnic on a sandbar near Pemba, Tanzania.

How many countries have you been to: 106 (and I will be visiting 3 more soon – San Marino, Croatia and Montenegro).

Something unexpected: Despite my career tethered to technology, my 3 favourite trips have been the ones where I am completely unplugged and present in the moment.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Masterfully organized

 

 

Steven Friedlander

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the Bronx and now live Knoxville, TN.

My dream trip: Svalbard to see the Northern Lights and polar bears mentioned in “The Golden Compass”— Svalbard is the location of the panserbjørne palace and centre of the ice bear government. And Paris might be nice.

Most memorable meal while traveling: I sat at the legendary Myrtle Allen’s table at Ballymaloe House, County Cork, Ireland. Every item in the salad was from the garden and the delicious fish plucked 10 minutes earlier from the pond. One could taste the freshness in every bite.

Something unexpected: I was at game seven of the 1986 World Series when the NY Mets defeated the Red Sox in the World Series. People forget that Bill Buckner’s error was in the 6th game (Vin Scully’s iconic call still gives me chills: “Little roller up along first … Behind the bag … It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight—and the Mets win it!”).

 

 

Larissa Kosla

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in a small town called Orinda. After being away for several years, we’ve returned to live in the Bay Area.

My dream trip: Without a doubt I would travel to New Zealand. With a passion for adventure and the outdoors I imagine it to be the ultimate vacation experience.

Most memorable meal while traveling: My husband and I visited the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. We had sushi for breakfast at a hole in the wall eatery as the sun was coming up. Such a memorable experience!

How many countries have you been to: Over 30

Something unexpected: When I was 17 years old I soloed a Cessna 152 airplane. I haven’t done much flying on my own since then but hope to get back to it someday.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Enlightening and Seamless

 

Helen Laster

I’m a born and raised Delawarean.

My dream trip: Without a doubt, I would hop on a cruise to Antarctica! I’ve always wanted to see the white continent, preferably before it’s been irreparably altered by climate change and human activities.

Most memorable meal while traveling: While in Sydney, Australia, I got the chance to try kangaroo!

How many countries have you been to: Thus far, I’ve been to 10 different countries. However, I’ll soon be adding five more to that list!

Something unexpected: I’m taking a gap year to do service between high school and college. After my year, I’ll be attending Reed College in Oregon.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Stimulating yet comfortable.

Amy Nolan

I was born in PA and I still call the Keystone State my home.

My dream trip: Antarctica

Most memorable meal while traveling: Guinea pig in Ecuador. The presentation of the meal was unforgettable!

How many countries have you been to: I never counted before until today! I stopped counting at 30, but I know I’m missing some.

Something unexpected: I’m a tap dancer. I danced as a teenager and stopped after college and other things took over. But, as an adult, I re-discovered dance, and I have been tapping for the last 10 years.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Togetherness and Stress-free

Charlotte Orr

I was born in Houston, TX, raised in Alvin, TX and I now live in Houston.

My dream trip: Australia and New Zealand

Most memorable meal while traveling: I just had sheep’s brain appetizers when I was in Morocco! It was most memorable!

How many countries have you been to: I have been to 36 countries on 6 continents. Just need Australia to complete the world!

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Rip-roaring fun!

Sarina Phatak

I was born and I currently live in St. Louis.

My dream trip: New Zealand

Most memorable meal while traveling: Easily when we stayed in a treehouse in Oregon and cooked ourselves. The laughing makes the food taste better.

How many countries have you been to: I traveled more internationally as a kid, on guided tours through Europe, Asia or on cruises. As an adult, we have enjoyed a lot of US national parks, Belize, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada.

Something unexpected: People are always surprised a bunch of girls like fishing. Two of my kids tie flies. I lose them.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: “Speechlessly Awesome” – Quoted by my 9 year old and I couldn’t agree more.

Kim Prince

I was born in Fremont, CA and now live in Woodinville, WA.

My dream trip: Scandinavian countries and the Nordic circle. As well as Cambodia and Vietnam.

Most memorable meal while traveling: November 2000 in Central Siberia while traveling on a dark snowy night between two cities. We stopped for “BBQ” – skewers of chicken marinated in a vinegar marinade and cooked over coals on a cinder block BBQ. A huge sleigh approached pulled by horses with a man and women wrapped in traditional Russian blankets. It felt like a fairy tale. The chicken was good too.

How many countries have you been to: We counted recently and we have been to about 35 countries and plan to make it 70 by 70.

Something unexpected: As our son is adopted from Russia, I have been to Central Siberia three times.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Variety and Fun

Biff Pusey

I was born in Richmond, VA and I now live outside of Richmond in rural Hanover County.

My dream trip: The Elkhorn Ranch, Gallatin Gateway, MT

Most memorable meal while traveling: Calf brains outside of Paris, France when I was 12. Never touched organ meat again!

How many countries have you been to: Dozens! While living in France and England, I traveled throughout Western Europe, East Germany and Berlin behind the Wall. We’ve lived in Costa Rica twice and throughout the US and Caribbean basin. Our TFA trip to Tanzania was a lifetime highlight!

Something unexpected: Sonya and I are accidental performing arts parents. All of our 9 children (including our daughter in law) have been or are currently actors on stage and on screen.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Thoughtful and Adventurous

Kerry Riordan

I was born in Boston and now live in Hingham, MA with my husband and 3 boys.

My dream trip: A luxury safari with Thomson.

Most memorable meal while traveling: In Thailand when I thought I could handle “Thai hot” and quickly realized when I lost the ability to form words with my lips that this was NOT something I could handle.

How many countries have you been to: 25

Something unexpected: I’m not a great flier. I have to work through pre-flight nerves before take-off, but despite those fears, the end is always worth it all. Travel changes you in immeasurable ways.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Experience and Togetherness

Rika Stevenson

I was born in Boston and grew up in Cornish, NH. I now live in Harvard, MA.

My dream trip: Belize or Costa Rica

Most memorable meal while traveling: Paella in Galapagos almost a universal answer when I asked my family.

How many countries have you been to: 12. Tanzania and Ecuador were with Thomson.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Extraordinary and Local

Shani Smith

I was born in Utah, lived my early childhood in AZ and currently live in Utah.

My dream trip: Egypt. My 17 year old son is dying to get to Egypt. We had it planned through TFA several years ago and had to cancel it and then things turned crazy in that country. It’s on the list and I will get there someday.

Most memorable meal while traveling: a DELICIOUS octopus salad on a recent trip to Croatia! It was plated beautifully, the food was fab and the outdoor seaside setting was magical.

How many countries have you been to: 40

Something unexpected: I didn’t take my first plane ride until I was 26. I’ve since made up for my slow travel start.

Three words to describe my TFA experiences: Stress-free, educational, interactive

Tracey Stark

I was in born Hazleton, PA and now live in Gilbert, AZ (America’s fastest growing city).

My dream trip: Morocco (probably Casablanca). I am fascinated with its architecture, history, and food.

Most memorable meal while traveling: A lobster salad on Pinel Island, a territory of the French portion of St. Martin. Pinel is only accessible by small water craft, so we kayaked across the bay. The waiter waded into the water, opened a trap and pulled out the largest live lobster I’ve ever seen. He got our OK, took the lobster to the chef and we watched our salad being prepared.

Something unexpected: I love to plan my own vacations but since I’ve become a single career mom, I haven’t had the time to plan more than long weekends.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Balanced and Organized

Jason Torrey-Payne

I was born in Ontario, Canada and now live in Los Angeles.

My dream trip: Antarctica again, but a longer cruise.

Most memorable meal while traveling: Vietnam’s food was excellent everywhere, but we ate a little home in the Mekong Delta that was awesome. A little cafe in Amman for lunch was fantastic. We were invited to our guide’s home in Marrakech for dinner with his family. Also, eating under the tents on our Tanzania safari with Thomson.

Something unexpected: I don’t like heights especially when the stairwells are open and you can see down. St Paul’s Cathedral in London was very scary for me.

Two words to describe my TFA experiences: Cultural immersion. By hiring local guides, you really do get an insider’s view into the country. On our most recent trip, we got so much history and insight into both Jordan and Israel.