Trip Leaders & Guides

Great Leaders Make Great Trips

Here’s what we look for— and make sure we find—in a GeoEx trip leader: Expertise about the place. We expect our leaders to share our love for our destinations and communicate their enthusiasm. Ability to get the trip from Points A to Z, and all stops in between. And the resourcefulness to solve unexpected glitches. Street- (and higher-) level know-how in dealing with different cultural norms and business practices. Good fellowship and the ability to relate. Trip leaders should be catalysts for our primary objective: having fun.


  • Vassi Koutsaftis: one of our all-time, all-destinations aces; he’s at affable ease everywhere from a pub to a tent.
  • Rick Montgomery studied Mandarin in Beijing and has visited the majority of China’s provinces.
  • Bodio, Monkhtuya, and Ishee manage tours and are great interpreters of their up-and-coming country.
  • Bill Jones, one of our most polymathic leaders, has led more than 100 trips across Asia and Europe.
  • Dr. Robert Thurman is a Tibetan Buddhism expert, Tibet House founder and professor at Columbia University.
  • Tese Wintz Neighbor, Senior Director at the World Affairs Council, infects fellow travelers with her 35 year-old love affair with the peoples and cultures of Asia.
  • Neel Pratap lives in Varanasi and has years of experience introducing travelers to India, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.
  • Yatish Ba Huguna has the unusual distinction of dual graduate degrees in tourism and ancient Indian history.
  • Vishu Singh was educated at the prestigious Mayo College of Ajmer before beginning his career as a trip leader.
  • Yam Gurung, one of our most popular trip leaders, has led countless Himalayan and Silk Road adventures.
  • Kabir Heimsath holds a doctorate in anthropology from Oxford and leads trips in India, Nepal and Tibet.
  • Karma Lotey and Karma Choden have inexhaustible energy and attention to detail for our Bhutan tours.
  • Bart Jordans, who lived with his family in Bhutan from 1999 to 2004, has led more than 80 treks since the ’80s.
  • John Roskelley made the first American ascents of K2, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Nanda Devi, and Gaurishankar.
  • Sha Phurba, Ugyen Yoesar, Tsewang Rinchen, Tashi Namgay, Tandin Gyeltshen & Kesang Dorji are just a few of our most senior and respected leaders in Bhutan.
  • Patti Seery, National Museum of Jakarta’s travel program founder, has deep knowledge of Indonesia.
  • Sona Hishi Sherpa is a superb guide; this warmly elegant man is, quite simply, one of the great Sherpas.
  • Amy (Emiko) Sakaoka brings a fine mix of companionship, passion, and expertise to her Japan tours.
  • Andrew Bender is fluent in many languages, a frequently-published travel author and is a multifaceted leader.
  • Susy Barry established Hanoi's first international-level recruitment and training consultancy.
  • Ted Callahan has been a trekking, rafting, and mountain guide for years in Nepal, Chile, Argentina, Patagonia, Tibet, and China.


  • Carolyn McIntyre, former GeoEx Middle East and Asia leader, exchanged her desk for the open road.
  • Sarah Timewell’s wanderlust was nurtured by a family of classic English adventurers.
  • Sylvie Franquet, who is fluent in Arabic, has written voluminously on the Middle East.
  • Leyla Topal, a talented Mediterranean guide, exudes her love of photography, sailing, and archaeology.
  • Serdar Balin is an avid art collector, history buff, and is always up for a good hike.
  • Levent Evkuran’s Istanbul roots feed his deep affinity for his country, its history, and archaeology.
  • Masha Nordbye, a TV producer and author, has more than 50 trips to Russia and Central Asia under her belt.


  • Jackson (Sigilu Ole) Looseyia was once described as a fellow “who can name every bird, animal, insect, and plant in Swahili, Maa, English, and Latin.”
  • Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi partnered with the Maasai to create the exquisite Campi ya Kanzi.
  • Joe Charleson, an Association of Professional Safari Guides’ favorite, is renowned for his charm and verve.
  • Judi He Lmholz is a Renaissance woman living with her family on the banks of the Zambezi.
  • Khalid Mouzaki hails from coastal Casablanca and shares his passion for the culture, its cities, sea, and Sahara.
  • Worku Sharew calls Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, home when not guiding.
  • Brad Hansen, once a Tanzania guide, launched his own safari company with a practiced eye for the magnificent.
  • Thuto Moutloatsi is a passionate conservationist, a generous storyteller, and a natural ambassador.
  • Brooks Kamanakao shares with us his insider’s perspective on the Botswana ecosystem – from its birding boom to the vivid cosmos overhead.


  • Tony Pandola, an avid musician, writer, cyclist, and mountaineer, is one of the most experienced guides in Cuba.
  • Janko Gorse is one of Patagonia’s premier guides and passes along his stupendous enthusiasm and knowledge.
  • Jose Antonio Gonzalez —poet, artist, and avid outdoorsman—knows just about every Central American corner.
  • Merlin Lipshitz has summited Fitz Roy and the ultra-daunting Cerro Torre, along with most of the region’s peaks.
  • Efraín “Effy” Valles of Cusco leads treks, rambles, and in-depth explorations of the Inca heartland.
  • Zacharias de Ugarte is an avid birder and botanist, plus a peerless introducer of his native land, Peru.
  • Alex Rodríguez, native of Colombia’s coffee-growing region, is said to make our travelers “feel like family.”