Founders & Management
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Siem Reap, Cambodia
Make foreign friends and then hit them up for insider tips and accommodations in their homelands.
Sharmila, who made her first international trip to India when she was only a year old, lives to travel. Since then she has visited, sailed, dived, climbed, lounged and indulged her way across 40-plus countries and six continents. Her best story leads are insider tips from her long list of international friends she has met along the way.
Born and raised near Chicago, Sharmila studied at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, worked in New York City and now resides in Dubai, a place that gives her access to a whole new set of exotic destinations in the Middle East and beyond. When not uncovering and writing about hidden gems for Galavante, Sharmila spends time relaxing with her globe-trotting husband and multiple-passport-toting daughter.
It's a close tie between Montenegro and the South of France. It's not a coincidence my two favorite hotels are Aman's Sveti Stefan and the Hotel du Cap in Antibes. For winter getaways, I love Villa Rockstar in St. Barth's.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Easter Island, Chile
Maximize my limited time off by experiencing all a destination has to offer in culture, history, restaurants, nightlife and high-end hotels.
As the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Galavante, Christine directs the strategy, business development and editorial content of the site. Christine also contributes to writing travel reviews, using her trips to over 45 countries and counting as inspiration. Travel has been her passion ever since her college study abroad as an exchange student at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. While her accommodations have greatly changed since her backpacking days in Europe, her philosophy to maximize her experiences in every city has not.
Before launching Galavante, Christine worked for The Blackstone Group for five years in the fund-of-funds and corporate finance groups. With a demanding career and limited time off, she wanted to make the most out of long weekends by knowing exactly where to stay and what to do. Until Galavante, she couldn’t find an adequate travel site that gave her targeted recommendations or understood her interests as a working jet set traveler.
When Christine isn’t trekking around the world, she can be found in New York City, where she resides with her husband David. Christine is conversational in French and German, and a beginner in Spanish. As an active part of that community, Christine is a Board Member of the New York Junior League, a Young Associate at the Metropolitan Opera and a Young Fellow at the Frick Collection. Christine also has an MBA from Columbia University.
Eva Helene Foust Yazhari
The Swiss Alps: stunning natural beauty, excellent hospitality and high-brow culture.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Muscat, Oman
Blend in with the locals for the most authentic experience.
Anywhere that offers a little adventure (like my trips to Morocco, Lebanon, or pure what I call the "life is good" vibe. In the case of the latter, it's Ibiza or St. Tropez. Add rosé, please!
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Kigali, Rwanda
Never stay in a giant hotel -- always go boutique and never pay rack rates. Indulge, indulge, indulge in everything else -- food and wine, massages, nights out dancing, art, shopping. Walk everywhere. It's the best way to discover hidden treasures.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Nepal
Flexible and adventurous. Go off the beaten path, walking, hiking, exploring. This is what separates a trip from an experience.
Michael is a member of the Galavante Advisory Board. His passion for travel started in his teenage years with a trip to London to visit his sister who was studying abroad. This passion was greatly enhanced while working in jobs that sent him around the world, from South America to Dubai to Singapore, and he always made time to take a look around, meet some locals and try the food. His passion for photography was fostered during a five country trip to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Greece and Nepal in the summer of 2008.
Michael is the Global Director of Mobile Products for the Associated Press, the largest and oldest news organization in the world where he is responsible for advancing the award-winning AP Mobile product line and platform as well as developing new mobile products leveraging the AP’s vast content collections across multiple platforms.
Previously Michael spent more than 6 years as Vice President of Operations at Thinking Pictures Inc. and served as Director of the Singapore subsidiary spearheading the global advancement of their innovative media platform.
Michael holds a BSE in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Michael enjoys the New York City life, photography, hiking, biking, basketball, tennis, golf and is an avid world traveler. Michael currently lives in Battery Park City in Manhattan and can often be found on his bike riding up the West Side of Manhattan.
Internationally, it’s a tie between Tuscany and Rio de Janeiro. Locally, I can’t get enough of Big Sur.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Kenya
Say “yes” to (almost) everything.
With a passion for discovery, Aidan has worked across fashion, music, and lifestyle editorial in New York and Los Angeles, including three years as New York Editorial Director at UrbanDaddy. Currently based in San Francisco, she heads up Galavante’s editorial team and works as a creative consultant for emerging brands.
The Hotel Katikies in Oia, Santorini. Sans children, of course. With children, I love the rolling hills and picturesque towns of Provence and Cote D'Azur
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Bali, Indonesia
To explore destinations rich in culture, history, and natural beauty by discovering fun, unique and practical ways to engage my family, without compromising the quality of our travel experience.
Cristina is a New York City native of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Italian descent. Her diverse cultural upbringing sparked her interest in travel and foreign languages. Whether she’s indulging in a Thai cooking class in Bangkok, snapping up Balinese art and furniture in Ubud, or intoxicating her senses with dazzling sunsets at a winery in Santorini, Cristina savors every travel experience.
After graduating from Duke University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and Political Science, Cristina earned her J.D. at Rutgers University. Cristina served as a Deputy Attorney General in New Jersey, where she specialized in energy law. As a working jetsetter, Cristina traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. In 2007, Cristina left behind her career in public service to become a full-time mom.
These days, Cristina jets around with her toddler and new baby in tow, searching for the perfect luxurious family destination.Cristina is fluent in Portuguese, conversational in Spanish, and dabbles in French and German. She serves as a Board member of Project A.B.L.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy for children in the developing world. Cristina and her husband Samir have two small sons, Dylan and Andrew. Cristina looks forward to seeing the world through her children’s eyes.
Three favorite cities? Barcelona, New York, and San Francisco, though not necessarily in that order.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:I’ve sipped yak butter tea in the Himalayas; embarked on thigh-aching slogs up Maya pyramids; and slept in a bamboo longhouse with the headhunters of Borneo. But probably most important: After spending many summers in the vineyards of Spain, I’ve mastered how to uncork a bottle of Rioja wine in about five seconds.
As you discover new cultures, you discover yourself.
AnneLise has penned (and wine-tasted) her way across four continents, from Barcelona to Belize City and Calcutta to Copenhagen. She has written and reported for over 30 national magazines, newspapers, websites, and TV/radio, including New York Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, Gourmet, Time Out, The Daily, HotelChatter, MSNBC, Jetsetter, Fodor’s, and Rough Guides.
She hosts weekly TV travel segments, and has appeared as a travel expert on NBC, CNN, MTV Networks, Forbes, Real Simple, Budget Travel, ABC Radio, and the UK Guardian. AnneLise is the author of Top Ten Barcelona; and co-author of books to Belize, Spain, Scandinavia, Canada, New York, and California. She was also the Lead Editor and Writer on Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: 1000 Ultimate Travel Experiences.
AnneLise has worked extensively as a Senior and Managing Editor, including at Penguin Publishing and MSN (Microsoft Network). She’s also a Travel Consultant, with a focus on business development and guiding the launch of successful travel websites. AnneLise teaches a popular eight-week Travel and Food Journalism course at MediaBistro.
You could say that AnneLise has travel in her blood: Her mother is from Catalunya in Spain, and her father from Denmark. She was born in Germany, and spent her youth in Europe, Egypt, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. She graduated from UC Berkeley. These days, she’s based in New York City, the one metropolis that satisfies her wanderlust – and cravings for steak frites at 3am. For more: www.annelisesorensen.com
Cinque Terre, Italy
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Istanbul, Turkey
Eat, buy, drink and move around like the natives is necessary to understand the culture and enjoy the simplicity and richness of a different way of life.
An aspiring world traveler, Ingrid’s Galavante philosophy is staying in cozy places while mixing with the locals for a highly enriching cultural experience. But for this Colombian born and New York City based writer, traveling is her main source for fashion ideas. From the color of spices to traditional indigenous jewelry, the inspirations for global designers are born.
Fluent in Spanish, English and conversational French, Ingrid attended The Fashion Institute of Technology and has degrees in Business with Public Relations. Her passions for fashion and travel come to life in contribute to Galavante’s fashionable in series and “what to pack” for each destination.
I might be pale but I’m a total beach junkie and you can't beat the beaches in the Bahamas' Out Islands, especially Exuma.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:China, India and Abu Dhabi
If I’m not traveling, I’m not happy.
As a little girl, Maya used to spin her father’s plastic globe, close her eyes and touch down her outstretched finger on her next destination. Her father no longer has the globe, and she no longer travels only in her imagination. When family vacations turned into a European backpacking trip with a friend during college turned into an eight-month, around-the-world trek after college, it was only natural that from there Maya would pursue a career that married her passion for travel with her love of writing. She now resides in Brooklyn, New York, but hits the road whenever possible. So far that includes 30 countries and counting. Her travel advice: Try to take in as much as possible everywhere you go, seek out the unique, and always be inclined to say, “Yes.”
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:South of France
Hit the ground running. Don't wait to put the bikini on and head down to the pool with a good book, sit in that little cafe with a glass of wine, or have that massage. Unwinding takes time - especially these days. So switch gears as soon as you reach your destination.
Saundra’s earliest fashion memory was in 1st grade when she yearned to be out of her saddle oxfords and in something far more sophisticated and stylish. After fixating for weeks on a pair of lime green suede shoes with just the merest hint of a heel, she convinced her mother to buy them. Wearing them to school the very next day, and dying to hear the grown-up click they made on the wood floors, she literally did a two-step across the classroom and was promptly told to sit down. Thus, she says, began a life-long love of fashion.
As a free-lance writer based in New York City, Saundra says she always has the perpetual feeling of a kid at Disney Land when it comes to the daily access of stores, sample sales and show rooms in the city. Known for taking fashion risk and keeping her look cutting edge, but not trendy, she can sniff out an off-the-beaten-track boutique or designer sale no matter what city she’s travelling. Still, she says, when nothing can compare to Paris and London when it comes to pure unadulterated shopping.
A journalism major, Saundra has been a fashion industry insider for almost 20 years as a fashion copy writer, a buyer, an account executive and personal stylist. She lives with her two sons and works for the luxury Italian jewelry company, Pomellato USA. To this day, she believes fashion, and all it has to offer, is something truly worth kicking up your heels.
She loves to travel anywhere with culture or, conversely, anywhere with a white, sandy beach and fun frozen cocktails. That said, her all-time favorite destination is the rainy locale of London, England. She's ridden camels in Morocco, gone scuba diving in Australia and swam with dolphins in Mexico.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:The souks of Morocco...amazing mazes
Her travel philosophy is, in the words of the great Bob Marley, "Wake up and live."
Laura Schreffler was born with wanderlust (and even has a tattoo to prove it). Though she was raised on the East Coast, she now fully considers herself to be a California girl. She is a former celebrity columnist for the New York Daily News, a pop culture expert and the current Los Angeles editor of Haute Living Magazine. Laura's first book - a dating guide - will be published in the fall.
It's very tough for me to choose just one favorite location. I love Croatia; all of it, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Stintino, Sardinia, Cesme, Turkey and the Côte d'Azur.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Be adventurous, spontaneous, curious, daring, friendly, positive, enthusiastic and sometimes self-indulgent. Learn from the locals and live like the locals. Enjoy each day to the fullest.
Born in Istanbul to Armenian parents, Jenny was raised in Berlin and in Toronto, before making NYC her home. Jenny grew up traveling regularly with her family and has continued feeding her serious case of wanderlust well into adulthood. Professionally, Jenny began her career in the TV and music production industry, while pursuing her passion for reporting, producing and writing for film entertainment sites. She began her entertainment career with joblo.com. in 2005 and moved on to become a freelancer entertainment producer/writer/reporter for hollywood.com, latinoreview.com and myspace movies.
Jenny has also contributed to blackfilm.com, ign.com, movieweb.com, comingsoon.net and hitfix.com. In 2011, Jenny joined one of the nation's leading moviegoer and ticket selling sites fandango.com, which she is currently a freelance TV reporter/producer for. She has vast experience covering film junkets, festivals, red carpet premieres and awards events. Additionally, she has also contributed to travel sites such as area-daily.com.
For adventure, cuisine, and haggling: the roads of Vietnam, somewhere between Hoi An and Hue, preferably by motorbike. For friends, art, and delicious French fries: the roads of Amsterdam, preferably by bicycle.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Burma, more specifically, anywhere on the multi-day hike between between Bagan and Taunggy.
Travel as much as possible, and eat all you can. Make friends with locals, and brave bikes, motorbikes, and public transportation whenever possible.
Saba has had the travel bug for as long as she can remember. Born and raised on the East Coast, she's made it her job to travel east of east as much as possibly, funded by grants, fellowships, art performances, and the search for spicy food. Saba has studied in Amsterdam, lived in Khon Kaen (Thailand), performed art in Basel, studied art in Venice, and interviewed members of government in Nairobi.
Saba recently graduated with a BA from Princeton University. She currently lives in Brooklyn and in the true spirit of her borough, she designs and makes jewelry.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Naxos, Greece
Travel is all about food to Christine, a chef who was inspired to leave a career in PR after reading Calvin Trillin’s Tummy Trilogies.
After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, Christine opened Hudson Palate, a full-service private chef, catering, and event planning business. She cooked on the set of Rescue Me for three seasons and can often be found at a New York City farmers markets, searching for the moment’s best ingredients for her clients.
Writing recipes is a great way to put her English degree from Georgetown to use, but testing them is even better, since it offers the perfect excuse for eating tagliatelle with truffles, scallop crudo, and strawberry ice cream.
I think it has to be Seville, Spain, which is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places I have visited. I am passionate about eating and drinking and watching life, so the off-the-beaten track tapas bars were delightful. I also loved strolling around the luscious oranges groves by day and dining out under the stars by night, listening to the hypnotic Andalucían music.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Mauritius, my motherland, and Hong Island in Thailand
Leave your blackberry or iPhone locked in the safe so you can really switch off. Live in the moment and cherish every moment.
Nandini is currently executing high-profile events as Director of Sales at Colin Cowie Celebrations. She has also teamed up with her husband Yusef, to elevate their own company the Cocktail Architect, where they create custom cocktails for events all over the globe.
With a passion for travel and an enthusiasm for life, Nandini has worked for over 20 years in the boutique hotel industry. Born and raised in London, Nandini studied Hotel Management, which led to positions in some of the city’s finest hotels. The journey to her entrepreneurial life began after traveling to Mauritius, where she successfully set up and operated her own boutique hotel.
New Zealand, Southern Africa
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Bhutan
When you learn to travel, you travel to learn.
Before putting his professional expertise and personal passion to the ultimate test to travel around the world for a year with his family, Rainer worked for National Geographic for 13 years. During that time, Rainer met some pretty amazing people who helped fuel his wanderlust and motivated him to explore possibilities he never thought possible. Kind of what travel does!
During Rainer's yearlong journey, he reported for National Geographic Traveler's award-winning Intelligent Travel Blog, posting a weekly column about the experience and offering an inside look at life on the road traveling together as a family. Since then, he has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Family Travel Bloggers by Babble.com. Having now traveled to over fifty countries, he has become an authority on the subject of family travel and how it can be used as a learning tool. Rainer lives in Nyack, NY with his wife and two young boys who continue to grow like weeds!
London and Maui (with kids); Prague and Big Sur (sans kids)
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Moscow
Getting there is half the fun. Well, maybe more like a third of the fun, but once I make the decision to take a trip, I want it to begin as soon as possible (preferably, the moment I reserve the hotel). Once I arrive, I find a marketplace and chat up the locals to solicit ideas for unique experiences.
Judy grew up traveling regularly with her parents and brother and is thrilled to have passed the travel gene on to her son and daughter. She lives in Beverly Hills with her three favorite travel companions – Fred, J.J., and Leia. She believes that any destination can be made “family-friendly” and is always looking for ways to excite and engage her family in cultural and philanthropic activities.
When she isn’t planning her next family adventure, experimenting with exotic cuisine, serving on boards of philanthropic organizations, or driving various carpools, Judy works as an attorney at a private equity firm.
It's a toss-up between Calabria, Calcutta, and Alaska.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Antarctica, Nepal, and eastern Russia offer plenty of exoticism, but I think Northern Norway still gets the prize for being the one place that really feels to me like the ends of the earth.
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain
Roger Norum is an anthropologist and writer who has suffered from a lifelong addiction to maps, languages, and the power of cold places to illuminate the various meanings of life. After studying linguistics and languages at Cornell, he moved to Oxford to read for a doctorate in social anthropology, writing his thesis about expatriate communities of transient and itinerant mobile professionals. In between, he has worked for UNICEF, Goldman Sachs, and the BBC World Service, penned several books about Scandinavia, and written and photographed for the Guardian, Telegraph, Rolling Stone, and Sunday Times Travel Magazine, among other publications. Alongside teaching and research, he is currently writing a guidebook to Greenland. Some of Roger's work can be found at www.rogernorum.com.
Anywhere I can see and/or learn something new – but the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont has a special place in my heart. I'm an ice cream addict.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Israel. The entire country is pretty incredible. It has so many different facets: beach, mountains, nightlife, culture, religion.
Must try something new wherever you go. There's no point in ordering the same meals, participating in the same activities, and going through the same motions, as you would at home.
Hilary is a writer based in New York City and originally from sunny South Florida. She has contributed to national, regional, and online publications including Marie Claire magazine, amNew York, and ELLE.com. In addition to celebrity and food, Hilary writes about beauty, love/dating, and lifestyle. She is a University of Florida summa cum laude graduate (despite attending Florida State for two years).
Media, Art, & Technology
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Petra, Jordan
Andria was born and raised in New York City, took a brief departure from city life to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. After only a year Andria decided she could not live anywhere besides the big apple, and returned to finish school at Brooklyn College. Where she studied and graduated with a B.A in Film Marketing.
Andria has been working as a Digital Archive Associate at abcNEWS for the past four years. Outside of work Andria enjoys travel, the theatre, dining out and taking advantage of everything New York City has to offer!
Andria enjoys traveling to exotic places and has ever since she was a baby. Her first trip out of the country was to the Dominican Republic. Andria spends most of her free time in East Hampton, New York.
Point Reyes, CA, Spain, Australia, the beach.
Most Exotic Destination Travelled:Senegal, Africa
Go everywhere you can. Explore, discover and eat!