Our Team

Meet Team Earthbound Expeditions! From L to R. Gretchen, Kara, Bradford, Andrea, Danna, Matthew, Brooke and Nancy




Earthbound Expeditions guides offer a unique perspective on the places you’ll visit. These group leaders are not just great historians, naturalists and linguists, but as our happy alumni can testify, they are also great travel companions! Scroll down below to meet a few of our expert expedition leaders!


Matthew BrumleyMatthew Brumley (pictured in Havana) is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions and has been leading and creating adventures worldwide for 25 plus years. He has utilized his talents as an expedition leader with Lindblad Expeditions, Smithsonian Institution and Rick Steves in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, Russia, North and South America. In addition Matthew spent two summers as the expedition leader on the Trans-Siberian Orient Express. After completing his undergraduate studies at the universities of Copenhagen and Moscow, he went on to attend the graduate program at the London School of Economics. He has lived in Copenhagen, Paris, London, Tel Aviv and San Jose, Costa Rica. Matthew has led well over 100 overseas adventures covering 5 continents. And, at the world famous  Naadam games in Mongolia Matthew won the 2010 and 2011 world title for heavy weight wresting by beating out Mongolia’s top competitors.

Okay, the last part about wrestling in Mongolia isn’t true. But… it sounded good and I have always thought that back in the day I could have given those wrestlers a run for the their money. I now live on “la Isla Bonita” (A.K.A. Bainbridge Island, Washington) with my Francophile wife Danna, and my two travel-weary children. Tune into KPLU-NPR PUBLIC RADIO weekly as Ed Ronco & I serve up savvy travel advice at: http://www.kplu.org/term/going-places

Danna Brumley (pictured here in Paris, France with NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley) is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions. She studied French language and Civilization at the Université d’Aix-Marseille in Aix-en-Provence and Sociolinguistics of the Romance Languages (French and Italian) at La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. So naturally, she became a waitress. (Just kidding). After completing her studies, she lived and worked in Paris for several years, after which she was hired at Rick Steves’ Europe. Danna became the Manager of their popular Tour Program and also worked as a tour guide after training under the devoted tutelage of Matthew, who would later become her husband. Thanks to Earthbound, she has worked and traveled throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. She speaks, French, Italian and Spanish and after hours can be caught tutoring French, teaching ESL and salsa dancing. She is married to Matthew Brumley (see above) and they enjoy both tag-team parenting and forcing their children to travel the world (when they’re not embarrassing them with their dance moves).

FrancescoFrancesco Selvaggio, our Sicilian guide, is a professional architect by trade. In his spare time he leads walking tours of the Amalfi Coast, Dolomites and Sicilia. A walk through one of Sicily’s stunning hill towns with Francesco is truly a mind-opening experience. His passion for medieval architecture and life as it was in the Middle Ages creates the stage for understanding how Sicilian society evolved. He resides in Palermo.

Gabriel Fawcett spent two years working for BBC Radio News before leaving London to live and work in Berlin, Germany, where he put his history degree and obsession for the subject to good use by specialising as a guide around the city’s unique sights. He is engrossed in Central Europe’s sometimes tragic, sometimes inspiring past as well as its promising future. He loves nothing better than travelling in this part of the world and gleaning new material for his historical sense of humor. We suspect that he also enjoys guiding Earthbound tours to escape from his own cooking.

Holger ZimmerHolger Zimmer (pictured here with fellow Vienna guide Hebe Jeffrey) is a native of Germany, though he spent his early years traveling throughout Europe and the U.S. He also studied English literature and drama in Berlin, Germany and Dublin, Ireland. He divides his time between working as a tour guide and a broadcast journalist for various international media such as BBC, ARD German Radio, ORF Austrian Radio and RTE Irish Radio. He enjoys music of all kinds – ask him about his band!

RobertoRoberto Aviles has been with Earthbound Expeditions since 1998. Besides guiding Earthbound Expeditions trips Roberto is a senior park ranger and has been with the National Parks of Costa Rica for over 20 years. Those lucky enough to travel with Roberto will enjoy an his passion and enthusiasm for his native land

tn_Mara+Greek+GuideMara Kanari, an Athens native with a degree in Greek Civilization from the National University of Patra. She’s been a guide for 11 years and loves introducing her country, culture and religion to interested travelers. She lives in the same apartment building she was born in, which she shares with her brother and his family, cousins and their families. Mara can do just about any dance but can’t cook a thing, but since her entire family for three generations has been in the food business, she is only a phone call away from amazing recipes and secret ingredients. Earthbound guests rave about her kindness and consideration of their needs and requests and we try to schedule Mara for all of our Greek expeditions. She is in high demand, so we feel lucky to have her for your upcoming journey.

Kara Pantenburg has worked in the travel industry for over 18 years. Her passion for travel took her to Denver, CO, where she started her travel career working in a call center for a large corporate travel company. After a few years in Denver Kara found her way back to the Pacific Northwest and began working with a local travel agency, booking a variety of travel and handling all the office accounting. Always searching for new challenges, the next step in her journey brought her to work with an Expedition Cruise company as the Field Staff Coordinator. Life eventually brought Kara full circle back to her roots and she found herself with an opportunity to work with Earthbound Expeditions. Kara lives in historic Port Gamble with her two children, son Eli and daughter Kailee.

Mr TiboMonsieur Thibault Martin (pictured here at the Pont du Gard in Provence) specializes in French culture, history, food and wine and has guided tours in the South of France for over 10 years. His indepth knowledge of everything French and his sense of humor makes Tibo an ideal travel guide and companion.Tibo and his wife Marie also run a charming B&B in Aix-en-Provence that is housed in a historic 17th century mansion.

NevilleNeville St. Clair has been guiding in Cape Town since 1995. He is proud to say that his mother was the first registered black guide in South Africa. He has worked with well over 50 groups, and that is only in the last 1 ½ years! Along with four South African languages Neville speaks Germand and is learning to speak Italian. He is married and the father of four children. In his “spare” time Neville designs clothing. Earthbound guests traveling to South Africa rave about Neville!

ValVal Thomson was born and has lived all her life in Cape Town. Her passion for the local flora started 25 years ago after buying a home. Val joined the local Botanical Society to learn about what indigenous plants to put in her new garden. The love blossomed…soon Val was leading walks on the mountain for amateur botanists with young families. This led to volunteer work at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. At Kirstenbosch, Val became a guide and then environmental educational officer for school groups visiting South Africa’s most prominent botanical garden. Val loves showing her country to visitors and looks forward to meeting you in Cape Town.

VaclavVaclav Storek is one of the finest guides in Eastern Euorpe. His organizational skills and knowledge of history combine to make Vaclav the perfect travel companion. When not touring Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Austria, Vaclav may be found guiding groups in his hometown of Prague. Vaclav has been guiding tours for over a decade and is fluent in Czech, English and German.

JoanneJoann Lantz is a native New Yorker and graduate of New York University, School of Education, where she also studied Italian language and art. After travelling many years to Italy to pursue her interest in Italian food and wine, she met her husband at a Chianti grape harvest in 1988. She began her career as a tour guide ten years ago sharing her love for her adopted country. Her specialisation in walking tours has given her in-depth knowledge of the countryside and small villages from the North to the South of Italy. When she is not travelling, she resides in the Tuscan countryside of Lucca with her husband and 7-year-old daughter and works on their small farm.

KarmenKarmen Poljak is one of Earthbound’s savvy Croatian guides. She was born and schooled on the island of Hvar in Dalmatia. Soon after graduating from the University of Zagreb, Karmen set out for South America where she acted as an expeditions leader. Her unique experiences, charming character and in-depth knowledge allows her guests to gain a deep appreciation for Croatian culture.

MarkoMarko Kassenaar (pictured left) is a musician and guide. He has travelled and worked all over the world, including the U.S. and most countries. He now works as a guide and education programmer in the major art centers of Amsterdam: The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw. Earning his money from his various dayjobs, he devotes the rest of his time to composing. His works, including choral works, chamber music and a grand scale Broadway-style operetta, have been succesfully performed in Amsterdam and throughout the country. Apart from his music making, he has a wide range of interests in the artistic and historic field. Once you get him started, you will have to stop him talking about it….

Martin Klimenta hails from the beautiful city of Prague. Martin is one of those rare, talented guides who can go anywhere and somehow (even in the most remote corners of the planet) pull off the perfect tour. His travels frequently take him to China, Mongolia, Russia, the Balkans, Uzbekistan and Georgia. When not guiding expeditions, Martin lives in Prague with his wife and two kids.

Laura and AlejandroAlejandro Infante and Laura are just two examples of Earthbound Expeditions outstanding guides in Havana. Both have a great sense of humor and deep knowledge of this once forbidden land. Journey to Cuba with Earthbound Expeditions and travel with Frank, Ale, Laura and/or Grency and experience the music, history, culture and people of Cuba!

MariaMaria Cannavo: Traveling has always been a part of Maria’s life. She is a classic Sagittarian. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and education from Pennsylvania State University, has taught in a private school in Denver, Colorado, and completed a lengthy 18-year career in the financial industry in Seattle, Washington. An amorous feeling for all things Italian led her to study Italian language, art, history and literature. Italy, actually Sicily, is her new home. She, like most Italians, has an innate, gregarious passion for diverse cultures. Maria states quite passionately, “I have the love for Italy in my heart and some of its history in my blood.”

MuguetMuguet Becharat (pictured left) holds degrees in English and Art History from the University of Tours, France and obtained her national guide license from the University of Nanterre, Paris. She has worked extensively with Elderhostel, alumni groups from Yale, Cambridge and Texas universities, as well as the Smithsonian and San Diego Art Museum. She has also lectured on barge trips throughout France and worked as an interpreter at the Cordon Bleu cooking school. Her love of art and architecture, medieval history and gastronomy is infectious, and she has charmed all who have been lucky enough to visit Paris with her!

MinorMinor Alfaro (far left) was born and raised in Grecia, Costa Rica, where he became a local celebrity at a young age, singing with “mariachis” and guitar trios around the country and on T.V. After participating in a four month exchange program in Canada, he decided that he wanted to study tourism. He graduated from the Castro Carazo College and has been guiding tours throughout Costa Rica for 12 years, a career that provides him with the perfect opportunity to merge his gift for entertaining with his love for his country. His enthusiasm is truly contagious, and he says the best part of his job is the people he meets and the friendships that emerge on his journeys throughout Costa Rica. Minor still lives in Grecia and enjoys a quiet life (when he’s home!) with his wife, Amy, and their two children, Christopher and Jessica.

HannesHannes Schönauer hails from Salzburg, Austria. He fell in love with his Chilian wife (and Chile) while hiking the Inca Trail in Peru some years back and now permanently resides in Concepcion, Chile, with his architect wife and two children. Hannes brings passion and a special quality to each and every trip he guides and loves to share his knowledge for food, wine and culture with fellow travelers. Earthbound Expeditions is proud to have Hannes Schönauer as its travel partner.

TaniaTania Masi is a travel author and has published several articles and a city guidebook on Berlin and Tuscany. She has a degree in social geography from the University of Florence, but with an American mother, an Italian father and residing in Berlin, after having lived in New York City and Sao Paolo, likes to call the world her “home” and traveling her “bread”. She claims that sharing it with people is what makes it all worth it.

Becca Torres was born and raised in the “city of brotherly love”, Philadelphia.  In her mid twenties she took a leap from the shipping business to the travel industry as she realized there was more to life,  It was during her first trip out the country when she found herself in what she deems the most magical place, Costa Rica, that she knew she had made the right decision.  Now almost 7 years later Becca has worked with some well known travel companies while fueling her desire to learn about destinations and cultures around the world.  She has for the last 3 years specialized in legal travel to Cuba for Americans.  In her words, “Cuba is what I am most passionate about. My first visit was by far the most humbling and interesting experiences of my life and now my goal is to share this knowledge with as many others as possible.” If you’re looking for true passion in a program director, look no further. Earthbound Expeditions is proud to welcome Becca Torres as our newest Cuba Tour Director.

Julianne Lowe is a proud Kiwi and 100% pure New Zealander. And like so many Kiwis, Julianne is a phenomenal story teller and loves to show off the rich beauty of her native land.