I have been an environmentalist for as long as I can remember. I remember making perfume out of plants in my backyard as a child and trying to figure out which plants I could eat in my neighborhood shortly after that. I started my school’s first recycling club when I was 11, and I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard that 6-pack rings needed to be cut or marine animals could die.
In college, I studied environmental conservation and volunteered with environmental nonprofits in Colorado. I studied abroad in Australia and took courses in environmental education and biodiversity. My passion for travel was fueled here, as well, as I traveled all over Australia and New Zealand while living there in my early 20s.
After college, I worked on a project to connect people with environmentally and socially responsible businesses in Santa Cruz, CA. I loved learning about what makes a business eco-friendly and socially responsible and how supporting these can positively impact communities and larger systems.
After this, I pursued passions in education, and specifically in holistic health and mental health counseling. I earned a Master’s degree in Counseling and a PhD in Educational Psychology. As a counselor, I worked in integrative healthcare settings and school settings and learned A LOT about what goes into individual health and wellness.
During my years in grad school, international travel was a consistent part of my life. It served as something to look forward to, ways to celebrate milestones, and as a way to gain perspective and “re-boot,” when needed.
In 2009, I moved to Mexico to help manage a boutique hotel on the beach in Zihuatanejo. It was here that my interest in boutique hotels and restaurants went from an appreciation to a full-blown passion. Seeing how creative people were making spaces beautiful and unique by using natural elements was incredible (there are some amazing places in Zihuatanejo). My passion soon became finding these special places.
While living in Zihuatanejo, I also had the opportunity to experience a few of the challenges that can come with efforts to “be green” in Mexico. When I found out that the hotel I was managing did not recycle, I tried to implement a recycling plan. I remember the 4-hour excursion trying to find the recycling plant and how I felt when I found that plant – seeing the mountains of recyclable waste piled up, and growing larger, as it had been for years, because they didn’t actually have the capacity to recycle. I also worked with local wildlife conservationists on sea turtle projects. Both of these experiences increased my desire to find ways to be more eco-friendly.
Creating EcoVerde has been one of the most fun things I have done in my life. I love every aspect involved with researching, planning for and leading trips.
I also love the travelers who find their way to EV. Because we are a specific niche, we draw some pretty awesome folks. Being able to share my passions for different cultures, different ways of live, natural beauty, culinary adventures, fun, and conversation with with interesting, similarly-minded people from different parts of the world is literally a dream come true.