The seed for Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx) was planted on the Tibetan side of Mount Everest by a group of trekkers in 1981. Huddled in a cold tent at about 16,500 feet and thrilled to be there—at the time, fewer than 300 Westerners had been permitted in Tibet and this group of 15 was the first American contingent ever allowed into the Tibetan backcountry—they cajoled a spunky Jo Sanders, the trek’s master permit-wheedler, into starting her own adventure travel company specializing in travel to recently forbidden parts of Tibet and China.
A Travel Company is Born
A year and many adventures later, Jo had InnerAsia, the company’s first name, off the ground. Her collection of supporters and advisors grew from that group in the tent to include the likes of Al Read, a pioneer in the adventure travel business, and George Doubleday, who had a vision of what adventure travel would become. When medical issues forced Jo to turn over the reins to Al and George, she knew her seedling was in good hands. George made strategically magnificent hires, including Jim Sano, Tom Cole, Scott Montgomery, Shana Chrystie, Vassi Koutsaftis, Ann Aylwin, and Brent Olson (many of whom are still with us) and amiably established Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx) as one of the planet’s great travel companies.
Blazing Trails in Adventure Travel
Along the way, we pioneered adventure travel to places that most of us had only dreamed about and forged bright new ways to experience them. The Kangshung Face of Everest, far western China, South Georgia Island, the length and breadth of Bhutan, the mountains of northern Myanmar (Burma), Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach, Snow leopard haunts in Ladakh, new corners of Patagonia, etc. View our list of Firsts.
Today, based from San Francisco’s beautiful Presidio, our staff of about 50 continues to lovingly craft and smartly run trips—from treks and safaris to cultural tours, cruises, and rail journeys—to all seven continents.
With more than 35 years of experience under our belts, we’re still convinced the world is brimming with new travel gems, still in love with travel and convinced of its worth. Our solidity and success a source of pride, we’re still chomping at the bit, still deeply charmed by our well-peopled planet, and tickled at how far we’ve come from that little tent in Tibet.
A Trustworthy Copilot
“Geographic Expeditions understands completely more than the logistics of travel—they understand the poetry and magic of travel,” wrote GeoEx traveler Tom B. “I am always deeply impressed by their rich and respectful approach to exploring the world, their superb professionals, and their genuine commitment to the highest quality experience.” We’re proud not only of reviews like this, but also that GeoEx ranks among the world’s top travel companies and is featured as trusted experts by Condé Nast Traveler, Outside, AFAR, Travel + Leisure, and others.