Speakers

Renee Blodgett & Anthony Compagnone

Renee Blodgett, We Blog the World and Anthony Compagnone, Blue Soul Travel  

Program leaders, life design mentors, and travel writers with a philosophical and mystical bent, Renee Blodgett and Anthony Compagnone are the founders of Blue Soul Travel™, which produces, curates, and leads retreats and immersive experiences around the globe as well as virtually through online content and courses.
Their crafted experiences are designed to awaken and transform the senses, the body and the soul: from sacred rituals on the ground, wine tasting in nature, yoga & sacred movement to meditation, hiking, forest bathing, sound healing and much more.
Through their Soul’s Evolution™ and Blue Soul MASTERS™ programs, they help people get aligned with and step into purpose, so they can live their lives with ease, grace and abundance. They teach about Universal Consciousness, Heart-Centered Living and our Human Existence transformative travel is part of it as it unlocks the hidden parts of yourself, so you can emerge on the other side knowing the interconnectedness of all things.
“Your Soul’s Journey often begins with a decision that is furthest from your comfort zone.” — Renee & Anthony, Blue Soul Travel
Deeply passionate about the power of embracing a multicultural and non-dual worldview, Renee has lived in eleven countries and traveled to over 90. She is also the founder and editor of We Blog the World™, an online travel magazine with over a half a million reach globally. Renee has partnered, collaborated, and/or spoken at conferences and events around the world, from science, travel & technology to spirituality, wellness, and culture, including the New York Times Travel Show, the Travel & Adventure Show, Wisdom 2.0, SXSW, IONs, Healing Summit, Gathering for Humanity, New Living Expo and others. An avid photographer, she has created five photo books, covering London, the Galápagos, Ecuador, South Africa and Rome. She is also the co-curator and producer of TEDxBerkeley, one of the largest TEDx events in the United States.
Anthony is a Martial Arts master and a specialist in Prana Yama (“Art of Breath Control”) who speaks five languages. As a bilingual speech pathologist and founder of Speech Synergy™, he’s a credited CCC-SLP as well. A long-time passionate yogi, he uses the power of Qigong and Ujjayi (also called ocean breath) for connecting to deeper states of awareness. Together, Renee & Anthony hope to ignite the spark in each human being and in doing so, accelerate global consciousness for those yearning for a deeper exploration of philosophy, spirituality, science, and the human condition. Their intent is that you feel embraced and supported as you step into your purpose and higher calling, so you can live your full potential.

Dawn Campbell

Tourism Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage

Born in Eagle River and raised on the Alaska outdoors, Dawn can’t wait to share highlights and stories from the 49th state! Whether you seek trailheads or tasting rooms, glaciers or grizzlies, Dawn can point you in the direction of your dream Alaska adventure.

Kristin Carlson

Managing Director, Tahiti Tourisme United States

Kristin Carlson has served as Managing Director of Tahiti Tourisme United States (TTUS), the destination marketing organization for The Islands of Tahiti, since 2017TTUS oversees all business and consumer outreach for the destination, working regularly with prospective business developments such as airline, hotel, resort, tour operators and cruises in addition to conducting all business and consumer outreach through marketing, advertising and public relations initiatives and programming.
Carlson had held the position of Director of Marketing for TTUS from 2011 until her appointment as Managing Director. She has more than 25 years of professional experience in the tourism industry, including her role as Global Brand Manager at Mering Carson, for the agency’s Visit California account with an emphasis on and brand advertising in China, Mexico, the UK and Australia. She also served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Signature Travel Network and enjoyed a 13-year tenure at Crystal Cruises in both Marketing and Hotel Operations for the luxury line. The beginning of her career was in marketing communications for The Fontayne Group and Korean Air.
She has a BA in International Studies and French from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and a Masters in International Business from Pepperdine University (The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management).

Angel Castellanos

World Travel Expert, Writer/TV Host AngelsTravelLounge.com

Angel Castellanos, (www.AngelsTravelLounge.com) is a passionate world traveler, travel writer, influencer, multi-media personality and nationally recognized speaker dedicated to helping people travel smart, well and often. Traveling to over 85 countries on 5 continents (and counting), Angel travels 12-14 weeks internationally each year and draws on his experience and frequent travels to teach “Smart Travel” and equip travelers with the skills they need to make travel easy and enjoyable. He bridges the gap between the practical, common sense advice he’s learned by traveling the world and the new savvy tips and experiences that have helped his generation revolutionize travel. Angel has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Univision, Frommers Radio, USA Today & Travel & Adventure Show as “America’s Newest Travel Expert”.
Since you’ve last seen Angel, he has visited The Philippines, Colombia, Honduras, Singapore, Laos, UK, France, Ireland, Italy, Bosnia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
His favorite travel memories include camel trekking in the Sahara, traveling overland by train from Beijing to London, Horse trekking in Mongolia, Hot Air Ballooning in Laos and sailing down the Nile River.
When not in Italy or Paris, Angel is home in Pasadena, California where he is a proud volunteer with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

Sarah Dandashy

Award-Winning Travel Concierge and Travel Expert, Ask a Concierge

Sarah Dandashy is a verified travel expert and former award-winning Les Clefs d’Or concierge with over 18 years of luxury hotel experience. Going beyond the traditional concierge desk, Sarah brought her travel advice to the digital space establishing a 200+k social media following and continues to work with some of the leading brands in the travel industry. People seek her out for her travel tips, advice, and knowledge of trends from the “frontlines of travel.” Sarah has been featured in numerous publications from the New York Times, Nerdwallet, Business Insider, USNews, Reader’s Digest, and Thrillist. She can be seen sharing travel advice and trends on TV, on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX.

Kim Dickey

Marketing Manager, French Canal Boat

In 2016, Kim Dickey and her husband, Chris, embarked on their first luxury canal barge cruise and immediately fell in love with the experience. It may have been the wine talking, but 6 months later they had joined with 3 experienced operating partners to become the proud owners of a 100-year old, 100ft barge in France. They feel so fortunate to be able to share the immersive experience of floating along the canals and through the locks aboard a true piece of French history. She loves to travel and currently lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and their two children.

Julian Douglas

Travel Writer, Photographer  and Experience Curator, Listen, Journey, Savor

“Listen, Journey, Savor with Julian Douglas”… is exactly what he asks of his family, friends and especially his readers to do with him.
As an experienced traveler, Julian has traversed the globe since he was a child. From treasured moments with his flight attendant mother growing up, to his years in the music industry, to just vacationing with his wife Nicole for pleasure. It has all inspired Julian to write about his passions for music, food and especially his love of travel.

Pauline Frommer

Editorial Director of the Frommer’s Guides & Publisher of Frommers.com

Pauline Frommer is co-President of Frommer Media, LLC, with her father, travel legend Arthur Frommer. Together, they publish America’s most popular series of travel guidebooks, the Frommer guides, as well as Frommers.com, a website that welcomes more than 3 million unique users per month. She is also a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and she pens an internationally syndicated newspaper column on travel for King Features. You may recognize her face as Pauline created weekly travel segments for CNN’s Headline News for 3 years. She’s also appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and every local news station you can name. She was the founding editor of Frommers.com and edited MSNBC.com’s travel section for two years. Pauline is the proud mother of two well-traveled daughters and wife to Columbia University professor Mahlon Stewart.

Josh Gates

Explorer, Host of Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown

As the host of Discovery Channel’s smash-hit series Expedition Unknown, adventurer and explorer Josh Gates crisscrosses the globe to explore archaeological wonders and enduring legends. Armed with a daring passion for adventure and his signature sense of humor, Josh takes viewers on thrilling quests in search of answers to the world’s greatest mysteries.
Recently, Josh helmed an unprecedented live event in the deserts of Egypt when viewers from 95 countries around the world witnessed history in the making in Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live. This real-life Indiana Jones adventure, which was also simulcast on Travel Channel and Science Channel, gave viewers a rare opportunity to join an actual archeological excavation in real time as Josh Worked alongside world-renowned Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass and Dr. Mostafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Together, they uncovered the 2,500-year-old mummy of a high priest for the first time ever on live television.
Gates also kicked off Discovery’s Shark Week by diving in Mexico and South Africa to unravel one of the oceans greatest mysteries – what happened to the mighty Megalodon?
In his latest season, Josh braved sub-zero temperatures to snowmobile across Siberia investigating one of the coldest cases of the Cold War: the baffling deaths of nine hikers on Russia’s infamous “Dead Mountain.” Josh also explored the Holy Land as he descended into newly discovered caves and tunnels that could hold the next Dead Sea Scrolls. In an exciting first, Josh returned to follow up on some of his most fascinating stories from seasons past, revisiting the lost Maya city of El Mirador where he previously helped discover a lost temple-complex, and he headed back to the 1980’s on a mission to unravel the maddening puzzles in a cryptic book known as “The Secret.”
An avid adventurer, scuba diver, and photographer, Gates has participated in sub-sea archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, and his wanderlust has taken him to over 100 countries – from sweltering African deserts to the icy shores of Antarctica. In addition, he has scaled “the roof of Africa” on Mt. Kilimanjaro and climbed Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas. A mysterious “Yeti” footprint recovered by Josh in the Himalayas is now on display at the “Expedition Everest” attraction at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.
In 2016, Gates won ‘Best Host’ in the CableFax Program Awards for Expedition Unknown, and the series also took home the ‘Best Educational/Instructional Show’ award. In 2018, Josh won a Cynopsis TV Award for ‘Best Reality Series – Travel.’ He holds a degree from Tufts University in Archaeology and is a member of The Explorers Club – a prestigious organization dedicated to the advancement of exploration and field research. Josh also serves as a trustee on the governing board of the Archaeological Institute of America.
Josh is also the host of Legendary Locations on Travel Channel where he shares the epic tales and secrets of the most storied places on earth, showcasing the ancient legends and folklore that made them famous. Travel Channel also airs episodes of Gates’ popular series, Josh Gates’ Destination Truth.
He has appeared on the TODAY Show, CNN and a variety of other national television and radio programs. Gates’ adventures are chronicled in his bestselling book, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter (Simon & Schuster).
Gates currently resides with his wife and children in Los Angeles, California and on airport floors around the world.

Peter Greenberg

Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor

A multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Known in the travel industry as “The Travel Detective,” he is the Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning. And his national CBS EYE ON TRAVEL radio show is broadcast from a different location around the world each week.
The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Peter Greenberg also hosts the weekly public television show The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg. And, for more than 20 years, Greenberg has produced and hosted The Royal Tour, historic, precedent-setting shows, where sitting heads of state become Greenberg’s tour guide for very personal journeys to and through their countries, for one hour global prime time specials. The Royal Tours range from King Abdullah in Jordan to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the President of Mexico, the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of Rwanda and many others.
Travel Weekly named Peter Greenberg one of the most influential people in travel, along with Bill Marriott and Sir Richard Branson. He was inducted into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders for his contributions to the travel industry. Among his other honors, Peter Greenberg received a News & Documentary Emmy Award as part of the NBC News Dateline team for outstanding coverage of a breaking news story, “Miracle on the Hudson.”
Peter Greenberg began his career in journalism as West Coast correspondent for Newsweek in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He won a national Emmy Award for Best Investigative Reporting for the ABC 20/20 special on the final orphan flight out of Vietnam, “What Happened to the Children?” He also is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and an Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Aviation Space Writers Association of America.
And when he is not reporting all over the world, Greenberg is an active volunteer fireman in New York.

Tim Hatler

Owner, Ocean Adventure Resort, Palapas Ventana

Captain Tim Hatler  ran Tall Ship Marine Science adventures in the Channel Islands of Southern California for 10 years and then in 2003 built and opened his own Ocean Adventure Resort in the town of La Ventana in Baja California Sur, Mexico.  He now runs the resort where they host groups like Sea Camp San Diego, National Geographic Student Expeditions, and Putney student Travel.  Tim Captains the resorts liveaboard nature sailing adventures in the Sea of Cortez and also guest stars on expeditions with other companies once a year to Antarctica, Chile, Baja, and beyond.

Mike & Anne Howard

National Geographic Authors & Founders of HoneyTrek

Mike & Anne left on their honeymoon in January 2012…and never came home. They created HoneyTrek.com to chronicle their journey across all seven continents and help people mobilize their travel dreams. Their story of the World’s Longest Honeymoon, savvy tips, and blog have been featured in hundreds of international media outlets—from USA Today to Lonely Planet. Firm believers that love and travel make the world a better place, they authored Ultimate Journeys for Two—National Geographic’s bestselling couples travel guide. To write their newest book, Comfortably Wild, they bought a vintage RV (aka Buddy the Camper) and traveled 73,000 miles across 9 countries to find the best glamping experiences in North America. Their original research, on everything from the history of glamping to this travel style’s scientific benefits, has earned them a Lowell Thomas Journalism Award for guidebooks and a seat on the American Glamping Association Board of Advisors. Despite the pandemic’s hurdles, the socially distanced nature of RVing and glamping have allowed the Howards to safely continue their journey and share it with their 340,000+ followers. Connect with Mike & Anne @HoneyTrek across all social media platforms.

Rudy Maxa

Rudy Maxa

Travel Journalist, Broadcaster

Former Washington Post investigative reporter and columnist, Maxa has worked for 17 years as a contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine; co-created and hosted the former public radio show, “The Savvy Traveler;” and has produced and hosted 98, half-hour episodes for public television featuring the world’s great destinations, “Rudy Maxa’s World.”  Those shows have garnered numerous awards including several Emmys.  As a consumer travel writer, he’s written numerous newspapers and magazines around the world and served as a travel columnist for ABC.com and MSNBC.com.

Andrew McCarthy

Award-Winning Travel Writer, Actor and Director

Andrew speaks about his personal journey and how travel and self-reflection changed his life. Aside from his successful acting and directing careers, he is now a successful writer and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler. He discusses fear of the unknown, taking the time to enjoy the precious moments in life, pushing yourself to try new things, and looking at the world with new eyes. Best known for his acting career and starring roles in St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, and Weekend at Bernie’s, he has a successful Broadway career and is currently a highly regarded director. Current projects include hit series’ Orange is the New Black, Turn, and The Blacklist. He returned to acting in ABC’s 2016 hit, The Family. His debut novel for young readers, Just Fly Away was published in March 2017.

Alex McNeil

Product Director, Quark Expeditions

In his role as Director of Product at Quark Expeditions Alex has attempted to redefine what modern exploration means, pioneer a new engagement ethos with remote communities, and strike a balance between tourism growth and the environmental changes we are surrounded by.

Abdul Razak (Zaki)

COO TRVEE Indonesia

For the past 5 years, Zaki has been dedicating most of his spare time to travel the world with hopes to gain satisfaction from a global perspective. He believes traveling embraces more of himself as a person by meeting new people and understand more about the surroundings. Zaki shares his love and experiences through his personalized hashtag #ZakiTravels. His interests have been exposed through various media such as Instagram and YouTube. With that in mind and the urge to contribute more to his surroundings, he established a personal traveling experience now known as TRVEE Indonesia. As a consultative travel partner with a focus to enhance Indonesia’s exotic destinations, Zaki implements Community Based Tourism in most of his packages. He often inspires among his closest circles that traveling is easy and could be crafted based on personal preferences. Through continuous investments and relations to multiple agents throughout Indonesia, TRVEE Indonesia has position itself today as the first choice consultative partner for your everyday travel needs.

Dan Rios

Director, LGBTQ Marketing, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB)

For more than a decade, Dan Rios has spearheaded the production of LGBTQ communication and marketing initiatives at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB), the official destination marketing organization for Greater Miami and Beaches.
Currently acting as the Director of the Bureau’s LGBTQ Marketing and Tourism division, Dan
and his team ensure that Greater Miami continues to welcome all LGBTQ visitors to the
community in a respectful, hospitable manner. The LGBTQ Marketing Division provides
potential visitors and travel industry professionals with resources for planning, marketing, and selling the destination. Among Dan’s top accomplishments is designing the Miami Begins with Me LGBTQ Diversity and Inclusion Training, an in-person or online course that trains hospitality professionals on the best practices for providing welcoming and inclusive experiences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonbinary visitors and their families to the Miami region.
Dan has also spearheaded key initiatives such as developing the first Miami Boutique Hotels
Directory and it’s reimagination as Bütik, Miami’s boutique lifestyle magazine. In addition, Dan
was an integral part of the team behind Miami Temptations programs like the extremely popular Miami Spice, including related marketing activations and promotions.
Dan Rios has dedicated over twenty years to the marketing and communications industry. Prior to joining the GMCVB, Dan was an Art Director at Morgan Stanley and a designer at the
reputable O Design Group in New York City, working on projects for luxury brands such as
Salvatore Ferragamo and Moët Hennessy.

Brooke Smith

Director of Public Relations, Visit Yosemite | Madera County

Brooke Smith was raised in Oakhurst, California and attended college at Fresno State University and San Francisco City College. She returned to the region in 2011 and began a career in hospitality, working for a local resort property. Brooke’s passion for the region propelled her to position in sales and marketing and furthered her interest in promoting tourism to this uniquely beautiful part of the world. Her love for the outdoors was nurtured when she enjoyed the opportunity of living in Yosemite Valley with her husband and two young children. When she’s not touring with media guests, or producing a creative project, Brooke loves to visit national and state parks and travel internationally.
We are thrilled to welcome Brooke to the team and are eager to utilize her wellspring of enthusiasm for our world-famous region and her talent for sharing stories.

Steve Wellmeier

Managing Director, Poseidon Expeditions USA

A 30-year veteran of the expedition cruise industry, Steve has actively been involved in polar expedition cruising since 1997. This includes five years as Executive Director of IAATO, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. In that capacity, he represented the Antarctica tourism industry, helping to ensure best practices and environmental stewardship by all Antarctic tour operators. A resident of Providence, Rhode Island since 2005, Steve currently manages the North American office of Poseidon Expeditions, which he opened in 2014.