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!

Belinda Adkins

I was born in St. Louis, MO. I now live in Port Saint Lucie, FL.

My dream trip: Antarctica

Most memorable meal while traveling: In Panama with our grandson who has been a picky eater. He tried things I never expected like octopus and ceviche. Then in Bocas Del Toro at El Ultimo Refujio he tried my shrimp risotto, decided he really liked and wanted half of it.

How many countries have you been to: 80

Two words to describe TFA: Wonderful and well-organized

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 TFA: Eye-opening and Immersive

Allison Barker

I was born in CT. My husband is in the Coast Guard so we’ve moved around but we’re now in Norfolk, MA.

My dream trip: Egypt

Most memorable meal while traveling: In Rome, with my brother and family at a tiny wine bar. Meat, cheese, wine and 100 kinds of tiramisu. Delicious.

How many countries have you been to: 14

Something unexpected: I’m a genealogy buff. I hope to visit all of the places my ancestors immigrated from, starting with Slovenia.

Two words to describe TFA: Beyond expectations!

 

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 TFA: 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 TFA: Enticing and Dynamic

 

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 TFA: Absolutely priceless!

 

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 TFA: 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 TFA: 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!”).

 

 

Elise Gardner

I was born in Boston, MA and now live in Winchester, MA.

My dream trip: I would love to see the Taj Mahal

Most memorable meal while traveling: In Peru with Thomson for lunch at a lovely family’s stunning backyard. The food was typically Peruvian and amazing.

How many countries have you been to: 15

Something unexpected: I volunteer for The National Park Service at Minuteman National Park. I work in a historic home helping visitors discover the social history of the house and what life was really like for people during colonial times.

Two words to describe TFA: Amazing and life changing

Kristi Griffin

I was born in Miami, FL. I lived in Danville, CA for 10 years and now live in Western Springs, IL.

My dream trip: I would take my family on safari in Tanzania with TFA.  My favorite trip ever.

Most memorable meal while traveling: I can’t forget about a pot of chicken in Paris but no one can top the surprise breakfast after a long walk in the Serengeti. Warm pancakes, oatmeal and the most delicious jams.

How many countries have you been to: I have been to 24 countries.  I grew up with a dad who is a pilot and a brave and adventurous mom who loves to travel.

Something unexpected: I was a competitive water skier.

Two words to describe TFA: Life changing

Jennifer Houston

I was born in New York, NY and live in Wellesley, MA now.

My dream trip: Egypt – on my bucket list!

Most memorable meal while traveling: 1. Tiny sushi place in Tsukiji Market in Tokyo – Yamazaki – the most incredible sushi.  2. Dinner at Andy’s Shin Hinomoto – Tokyo – an izakaya under the train line with amazing crab legs. 3. Eating under the tents in Tanzania – how on earth Thomson made my husband’s birthday cake in the middle of the Serengeti is beyond us!

How many countries have you been to: 16

Something unexpected: I didn’t travel outside the US until my 20s, which no one could ever guess since I travel as much as as I can!

Two words to describe TFA: Adventurous and inspiring!

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 TFA: Enlightening and Seamless

 

Lynne Morrison

I was born and raised in Massachusetts and have lived here all my life.

My dream trip: A cruise down the Amazon River. I have always wanted to see pink dolphins and the other amazing wildlife there.

Most memorable meal while traveling: With my husband at a restaurant on the roof of a beautiful hotel overlooking Rome. Surprising, delicious and we struck up an interesting conversation with a woman dining alone.

Something unexpected: As an adult, I competed on a Synchronized Ice Skating Team! It was quite a challenge and a lot of fun.

Two words to describe TFA: Unique and fun. But impossible to do justice to TFA with only two words.

 

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 TFA: 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 TFA: 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 TFA: “Speechlessly Awesome” – Per my 9 year old and I couldn’t agree more.

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

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

Libby Snow

I was born in Chicago and I live there now.

My dream trip: Australia – it’s the next continent on my list.

Most memorable meal while traveling: Eating noodles by grabbing them with chopsticks out of a bamboo slide in the Kii Peninsula in Japan, and not realizing that was meant to be a fun ‘appetizer,’ because there was a full (delicious) meal inside, too!

Something unexpected: I was in my high school’s juggling club!

Two words to describe TFA: Exhilarating and Easy

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 on 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 took the lobster to the chef and we him prepare our salad.

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 TFA: Balanced and Organized

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 TFA: Extraordinary and Local

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 and we ate a little home in the Mekong Delta that was awesome. A lunch cafe in Amman was fantastic. Dinner at our guide’s home in Marrakech. And 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 TFA: Cultural immersion. By hiring local guides, you really do get an insider’s view into the country.