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Emily Strauss

I’m an avid nature lover who uses every excuse I can to get out and hike, swim, bike or climb. Experiencing the natural beauty of a destination is always one of my top priorities when traveling. I also believe in scaring myself often. Whether it’s skydiving or jumping off waterfalls, I’ve always found that a little adrenaline is good for my overall physical and mental health.

I'm forever on the lookout for authentic experiences and new perspectives. I want to get to the heart of local cultures and learn about their history, as well as their modern lifestyles. Before travel and I were introduced, food was my first love! So one of my favorite side effects of an active travel style is the extra calories it makes room for. There are so many meals I’ve had while traveling that I still melt at the memory of, so making the most of every meal is an essential part of any trip for me.

How did you get involved in travel?

"As one of 9 kids, I didn’t grow up traveling. I grew up in Central Texas dreaming about all of the beautiful places I wanted to see. My first 3 trips out of the U.S. were voluntourism trips. I got to see Mexico, Trinidad and Costa Rica while being fully immersed in the every day lives of the locals. Those trips have very much shaped my view of what travel can be, and it’s that vision that has lead me to working in the travel industry. I’ve experienced first hand the frustration that can come with spending countless hours researching, only to end up in tourist traps, completely disconnected from the authentic pulse of a destination. It’s my passion to help others break out of the tourist ruts with experiences specially tailored to their passions. Whether that’s through food, nature, art or meaningful cultural exchanges, travel can be so much more than just a vacation!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"On my first trip to Costa Rica we camped on a remote Bribri reservation. We were working on a construction project when it started pouring rain. As we took shelter we sat and watched our tents flood and wondered how we would make it safely across the river the next day if it kept up. As we sat there, I noticed one of the local boys holding a beachball nearby. All I had to do was smile at him and he knew exactly what I was thinking. Before I knew it, half the kids in the village had joined us in our slippery mess of a beachball soccer match. I was never one to participate in sports and had never even attempted to play soccer. Yet there I was, sliding around in the mud with a dozen kids giving it their all. After playing for a while the kids started yelling at us to follow them down to the river. So we all took off barefoot to see who would get there first. We spent the afternoon swimming and skipping rocks in the river until the rain stopped.

Exhausted and muddy, running through the village back to our campsite, I remember thinking I was the luckiest person in the world to have an experience like that. "

Views of the Mezquita-Catedral and Puente Romano
Highlights of Madrid and Andalusia - 8 Days

Explore some of Spain's best cities on this 8-day trip to Madrid and the region of Andalusia, start ing with private tours of Madrid's historic neighborhoods and its royal past. Board the train to the city of Seville for tapas and flamenco, as well as a day trip to the town of Ronda and a winery. You'll end the trip with Granada for a tour of the famous Alhambra and Generalife Gardens before returning to Madrid.

The Northern Lights in Norway
Explore Norway's Arctic Wilderness in Alta - 5 Days

Discover the winter landscape of Norway's northernmost county and the town of Alta, where you'll enjoy a dog sled ride through the snowy scenery. Transfer to a lodge of cozy tents with woodstoves and floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights, as well as the opportunity for skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and hiking. End the trip with the indigenous Sami community, where you'll learn about their local culture and enjoy a thrilling reindeer sledding experience.

Sunset over the Nicoya Peninsula
Costa Rica Road Trip: Arenal & the Nicoya Peninsula - 8 Days

Experience a perfect blend of cloud forests and tropical beaches on this 8-day Costa Rican road trip. Start your adventure in Arenal, where you'll explore the rainforest via suspension bridges and zip-line tours while spotting exotic birds and playful monkeys. After some exhilarating whitewater rafting and volcano hiking excursions, you'll head to the western Nicoya Peninsula to wind down with snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing on the white sands of Tamarindo.

Catch the Northern Lights in Norway
Explore Norway's Arctic Wilderness in Alta - 4 Days

This tour starts in the city of Alta, located in the northernmost county of Norway and surrounded by incredible Arctic scenery with opportunities to ski, hike, snowmobile, sled, and ice skate. After exploring the city and the Alta Fjord, you'll transfer to a wilderness lodge to enjoy dinners in a renovated barn and a thrilling dog sled ride through the snowy landscape. Sleep under the stars and the Northern Lights in your own insulated bungalow, complete with a wood stove. 

Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano.
Best of Costa Rica: Arenal, Monteverde & Manuel Antonio - 8 Days

This 8-day trip is ideal for travelers looking to experience Costa Rica's highlights. Go for a dip in Arenal's hot springs and spot monkeys and other wildlife on hikes around the famous volcano. Continue to Monteverde, where you'll discover the remarkable flora and fauna of the cloud forest. Finally, spend a few days in Manuel Antonio National Park, kayaking through turquoise waters and relaxing on pristine white sand beaches.

Tromsø, gateway to the Arctic and one of the northernmost cities on earth.
Norwegian Winter: Oslo, Bergen & Tromsø - 8 Days

Discover Norway's most beautiful season with this 8-day winter adventure by land, sea, and air. Starting in the country's buzzing capital, you'll head west while enjoying spectacular scenery along the famous Flåm Railway. From here, venture through fjords by boat, explore the majestic mountains of Voss, and stroll through the historic wharf city of Bergen. Finish off by flying north to Tromsø—gateway to the Arctic—where you'll venture into the wintry landscape to go dog sledding and (weather permitting) catch a glimpse of the northern lights.