Our Incredible Staff
Picture: Khajuraho, India
Miral was born in Amman and grew up in Jordan, the West Bank and Egypt. Her sense of adventure began at an early age as she travelled to neighbouring countries in the Middle East such as Turkey and Israel, then built up a solid base of travel experience in Mexico, the US, various Caribbean Islands and England before joining our Private Journey teams in Southeast Asia, Southern Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Central Asia and South America. She has a wealth of hands-on experience in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Germany, Malaysia, Borneo, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Canadian and Danish Arctic. She has recently had fun on our 20th Southeast Asia journey and the latest group get-together in Jordan. If you would like to discuss any of these destinations, please call her.
Miral is currently our Managing Director.
Picture: Timbuktu, Mali
For over four decades Rick has lived, worked and travelled internationally, often in some of the world's most out-of-the-way spots. He spent almost five years in the Arabian Peninsula visiting hundreds of towns and villages from the Jordanian and Iraqi borders in the north to Yemen and the empty quarter in the south. He has worked in Alaska, the continental US, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia and has been an avid visitor to over 100 countries world-wide. In the past decade he's concentrated on Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Western Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Spitzbergen/Svalbard, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Jordan - many of these multiple times. As well, he led three separate expeditions into Mali, to the amazing city of Timbuktu. Rick has also recently added five new countries to his list while being with our clients on our recent "Silk Road" trip in Central Asia; namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the bizarre country of Turkmenistan (second weirdest in the world). He then enjoyed mulled wine in a wintry Hungary before leading yet another wonderful group of our clients on our 20th Southeast Asia journey. Last autumn he led groups through Chile and Argentina as well as spectacular Sri Lanka. Then, in the spring he wandered through Cornwall UK before heading east to inspect UNESCO sites, hotels, restaurants and bars throughout Romania, Moldova, Transnistria and The Ukraine. Just prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns he spent a week relaxing with friends in Antigua. He is now looking forward to taking some of you with him on the next Private Journey. If you would like to discuss any of these destinations, please send him a quick e-mail.
Val De Franco
Picture: Seoul, South Korea
Back in 2006 Val left Ottawa to teach English in South Korea. She boarded the plane with the intention of staying for a year, but that quickly changed after she started exploring Asia and experiencing other cultures. While living in South Korea, Val had the opportunity to explore Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar (a personal favourite). After four and a half years she slowly made her way back home to Canada. She stopped in London to witness the mayhem during the royal wedding and took some time to tour Spain, France, Belgium and Italy. Her latest trips involved Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. Given her extensive travel, her flexibility, her training, her unbridled enthusiasm and especially her ability to use chopsticks, she's a great member of our team.
Currently Val is with us on a part-time basis since she also plays the role of "at home Mom" with her youngsters for a bit.
Picture: Near Sossusvlei, Namibia
Lenore grew up in Saskatchewan and lived in the UK and Montreal before settling in Ottawa. She joined us in 1993 and has travelled the world ever since. She's cycled in Australia, New Zealand, China, Peru, Holland, Austria and Scandinavia; rafted in the Yukon; canoed in Brazil; backpacked in Thailand, Morocco, Malta, Syria and Jordan; trekked in Nepal; camped and visited in the UK, Europe and North America. She's also travelled extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica and Belize. Lenore has also led our groups through Indochina as well as Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. She has also found time to make several visits to Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Zimbabwe and has led many of our journeys through there. She returned a few months back from Mali via Southern Africa, Tanzania and exotic Zanzibar. She also found time to visit Brazil for a short stay before travelling up the east coast of Canada from Newfoundland to the Arctic. After leading one of our previous "Best of Peru" tours she decided to finish off the year with a gruelling hike through the back country of Cuba! Since then she's been to the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti and Bora Bora aboard the Aranui and has done some walking in France, Italy and Bermuda.
Picture: Bali, Indonesia
Nancy’s travels started at the age of three when her parents moved from Amman to Alexandria, Egypt. She still remembers their beach trips and can never mistake the flavour of Mediterranean seafood for any other! The joy of exploring a new place that offers a rich culture, delicious food and fascinating nature has grown with Nancy since then. She has cherished every moment touring Le Louvre, gazed at the mystic eyes of the Mona Lisa, fell in love with the view from Tour Montparnasse, inhaled the smell of fresh pretzels while walking to Goethe House, chugged Bavarian beer, learned the hard way that ordering a “small” beer (een biertje) in Holland cannot be taken literally! In Prague, she was educated about the “true origins” of beer!! Well, at least that is how Czechs like to tell their story. While in Prague, Nancy learned that walking on eggshells can actually be romantic! Well, not literally but how many bridges in this world have eggs in their building material and lead the way to the Black Light Theatre?! Speaking of theatres, of all those she’s been to, Athens Amphitheatre’s glorious sight will live forever in her memory. She always wonders who built that theatre? Who constructed Egypt’s pyramids? And, who patiently carved the charming rosy city of Petra? What is the true story of that well in Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra?! Who knows?! For a sweet taste of modern history, Nancy learned about Europe’s economy and about the introduction of the Euro currency while in Brussels. Nancy flew all the way to Algeria to join the week-long wedding celebrations of her friend! She walked in the ancient alleys of Jerusalem and enjoyed the thirst-quenching freshly squeezed orange juice, chased the sugar rush of mulberry juice in Damascus, hiked and enjoyed four-by-four Arabian desert adventures, swam with the dolphins in Bali and lived in both cities that hosted the past and current tallest buildings; namely, Toronto (Go Leafs!) and Dubai! As a globetrotter who really does love dates dipped in peanut butter, Nancy has now joined our team! We are so excited!
Dee and Adam Whiteford
Picture: Kuangxi Falls, near Luang Prabang, Laos
It would be difficult to find two people who have more interest, more passion and more love for the travel experience than Adam and Dee. Since Adam's first international trip to the Middle East at the early age of two and a half he has been hooked on travelling to the world's most interesting places. Dee also has an incredible love of international travel. They have both served as tour leaders for our Private Journeys in Southeast Asia and Peru. They have taken a bit of time off to raise their two little ones (and their huge Irish Wolfhound), but they are very eager to get going again soon.
The Accounting Team
These fine folks quietly work away in the background making sure that all of us don't spend too much money! Thank goodness they can keep track of all the daily transactions, invoices, cheques, deposits, bills, international wire transfers and all the other things that are so important. They also ensure that our Private Journeys are priced so that they simply break even. This keeps the costs paid by our clients to the absolute minimum. They also ensure that we often find ways of discounting cruises, small-group tours and some sun packages. This is why we have over three thousand clients who simply refuse to deal with any other agents or to arrange travel on their own. We'd be lost without this amazing team!
Would you like to work with us?
We're always interested in additional teammates!
We like TICO-certified English-speaking agents with experience in international travel including consolidated air, cruises, small-group tours and adventure tours.
The ideal candidates are customer-focused, self-starters and team-players with an enthusiastic, flexible, positive attitude and a desire to work in a stimulating and exciting environment and learn new skills including the art of FITs, small-group tours, complex air itineraries and more. The agents must be proficient in Travelport (Galileo) and MS Office.
No shift work. No weekends.
Please forward your resume in confidence to Miral or call her at 613-789-1900.