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The end of the year is just around the corner. How do you want to finish off 2013? Maybe you want to travel to a new destination or start a new family tradition that includes a hand-crafted Ker & Downey journey. Recently we asked some of the sales team at Ker & Downey to share their travel experiences from this year with us and, to get in the holiday spirit, some of their special holiday traditions. Below Trista talks about her journey to Guatemala and Belize this year and her family’s holiday traditions.

In April, I traveled to Guatemala and Belize, fulfilling a childhood dream to visit Tikal. We camped the night before (luxury camping, mind you!) near the Uaxactun ruins, and awoke to a chorus of howler monkeys and tropical birds. We approached the ruins of Tikal from a seldom-used park road, so that they slowly unfolded before us, giving me that magical encounter I had envisioned as a child. Belize was unlike any other Latin American country I’ve visited— such a strange blend of influences with Mayan traditions, bank notes featuring the Queen of England and English-speaking inhabitants. One of my favorite moments was walking with Eladio Pop through his cacao farm, eating some fresh mango he wanted to share, and basking in the sheer joy of life he exudes. Such characters make travel so memorable.

I’ve often been away from home at the holidays, traveling or studying overseas, and my most memorable experiences have happened by chance when I thought I would be alone: a chorale concert in Salisbury cathedral; a chance invitation to spend Christmas with a family on Christmas Eve; samba dancing with students in Curitiba; or preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a mix of American and British ex-pats in Lima, Peru. The kindness of strangers and the spirit of the holiday season has always left me with a sense of gratitude and faith in the world as a whole.

Meet Trista

Trista comes to Ker & Downey from a diverse background of both independent travel and over 13 years working in the travel industry. A native Vermonter and UVM graduate, she grew up on the lakes and mountains of the northeast. Her love affair with ‘just messing about’ really launched in her 19th summer when she joined her family for a transatlantic sail on their 44 -foot sailboat. Since then she has backpacked through Europe and South America, learned a couple of other languages and relocated from the Green Mountains to the Rocky Mountains (where she works with a view on Long’s Peak). She remains passionate about assisting travelers with life changing journeys and awe inspiring adventures. Having traveled to all seven continents, Trista is always looking forward to the next adventure. When pressed for favorite moments, she might mention hiking to Machu Picchu or exploring Patagonia, watching baby elephants splashing in the Linyanti, sledding in Antarctica, watching Polar Bears spar on the tundra, tracking tigers in India, snorkeling in the Galapagos, coming face to face with the brown bears at Brooks Falls, getting mock charged by a Silverback in Rwanda, taking in the sheer awe of the wildebeest migration, or quad biking in northern Namibia. She isn’t afraid to admit that she enjoys birding– especially in Africa, India and the rainforest. When she’s home she can be found gardening, biking, hiking, camping, snowboarding or salsa dancing, in no particular order. Her biggest adventure yet has come in a very small package—she welcomed a daughter last April and is enjoying the incredible journey of motherhood.

Trista

For more information about including Guatemala, Belize, or any other destination on your next Ker & Downey journey, please contact your Travel Professional.

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