Destinations & Adventures is an international boutique travel company. We are a team of passionate, sophisticated luxury travel specialists. We show you the world our way – the unique way – behind the scenes, away from the crowds and in touch with the world’s rich and varied cultures. Our programs redefine the ordinary and arrange the extraordinary in ultra-luxe bespoke travel. In business for 40 years, we are committed to creating the highest quality trips featuring the finest accommodations and a superior level of personalized service all capped with a meticulous attention to detail. Our exclusive custom-designed programs feature behind-the-scenes, one-of-a-kind opportunities, dramatic landscapes and moments of pure wonder. We invite you to explore this website for suggestions to create your own personalized travel experience - just for you!
“What Destinations & Adventures brings to the industry is something that really is missing in many companies today – a hands-on creative approach.”David Morris (President, David Morris International)
Founder & CEO
Founder and CEO of Destinations & Adventures International, James (Jim) Berkeley is a blue-ribbon traveling expert who believes, “Every place in the world presents a unique dynamic to enjoy and explore.” He is a Condé Nast Traveler Magazine Award Winner and has the distinguished honor of being named “Top Travel Consultant & Destination Specialist” by CNT every year since 2001. He is also on the Wendy Perrin “WOW” list of Trusted Travel Experts (TTE's). Often quoted about where to go and what to see, industry insiders refer to Jim as an “Indiana Jones” based on his visits to over 140 countries. Considered one of the best in the business, he has worked in almost every facet of the field including alumni and museum travel, deluxe cruise lines, world-class wholesale operations and overseas Destination Management Companies (DMC's). From 1989 to 1995, Jim was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Abercrombie & Kent Overseas, and simultaneously, based in Cairo as Managing Director of Abercrombie & Kent Egypt. Berkeley started his company in 1995 with a superb administrative team and his handpicked cadre of international experts to arrange the finest in tailor-made, personalized journeys for individuals, families and small exclusive groups. Their custom-designed programs go above and beyond the usual fare to focus on each country's distinctive culture from archaeology and history to arts and cuisine. When not on the road, Jim lives in Nashville and Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and son and plays phenomenal piano wherever he goes.
She is an avid traveler, the sister of Jim and has the beauty and brains of Katherine Hepburn. Vice President Gail Berkeley is the true African Queen. Having taken over 45 trips to every part of the continent, she is absolutely a safari specialist extraordinaire. Her love of all creatures great and small, her in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the region and her compassion for conservation guarantees a cracker-jack, custom-designed, animal viewing journey of pure wonder just for you. When she and her husband Bob aren't exploring Africa, they love their life in Santa Barbara where they indulge in the music, dining and horticulture scenes.
Director of Europe Division
For the Director of our Europe Division Colombe McCarthy, life is one brilliant ongoing adventure. And the world is her oyster! Born and raised in Paris, Europe was her playground. Yet after her first trip to the United States as a teenager studying English in California, she was taken with America too. A transatlantic odyssey began that initially took her to Canada and then to California where she eventually settled. She wanted the best of both worlds and recognized becoming a travel specialist was the way to embrace that dream. Her already extensive knowledge of Europe, her generous approachable nature and meticulous attention to detail made her a born natural for the task. She is now an award-winning specialist who loves creating clients' custom-designed itineraries for any European country. Colombe has an incredible knack for mixing and matching the old with the new, the unique with the unexpected, the majestic with the quaint, the must-see landmarks with the off-the beaten path gems. Her stupendous stable of destinations guarantees your journey of pure wonder that will make you smile and exclaim, “Vive l'Europe!”
Director of Travel Planning
It is no surprise that Helen Wilson is Director of Travel Planning! Tales of travel and being on the go with her globetrotting grandparents since the tender age of one is what ignited Helen's passion for going everywhere and anywhere to see and experience it all. Her little girl dream to become a cartographer so she could know the world was soon replaced with the eyeopening joy that she could actually go there! Off she went to study languages, anthropology and international business which also granted her the opportunity to live and learn in Italy. With her seek-and-she-shall-find approach, Helen now infuses her impressive multi-faceted expertise into your personally planned amazing adventure. An outdoor enthusiast, she also adores alpine and heli-skiing, hiking and trekking but manages quiet moments too when she fully appreciates diverse music, cuisine and art.
For Cruise Specialist Diana Berrones, finding the perfect itinerary and line for each client's
journey is paramount. She believes when choosing to sail the high seas, the entire adventure
and ship experience is a life long memory in the making. Born, educated and raised in England,
clients like listening to Diana's thoroughly researched recommendations thanks to her regal
and refined accent. She has cruised and traveled extensively with her husband Frank. And like
everything she does with heart, soul and precision, Diana's at home passion (besides yoga and
knitting) is to take her two Labrador rescues to local hospitals and rehabilitation centers as
pet therapy dogs bringing smiles to the faces of healing children and burn victims.
Director of Client Services
At age two, a family trip from Los Angeles to El Salvador set Arlene Santos, Director of Client Services, on the road to a fulfilling and delightful career. As a travel-happy toddler, she obviously didn't realize it then, but by the time she got to college she was clear that she wanted to see and know more about the world, personally and professionally. And she's doing it! A degree in international business set the scene for her to be able to pursue that path, first as an intern and now as a full time treasured member of the team. Four passports, 30 countries and mounds of memories later, she's fully in the know about the where, what, when, why's, and how's of destinations galore. With her kind-mannered approach and warm personality, there is no question or request too big or too small for her to accommodate you. When at home, she likes to spend time with friends, cook, hike and take her dogs for walks.
The travel bug first bit Operations Manager Sarah Grabar as a teenager on a college trip from her hometown of Rochester, New York to Spain. Since then, she brilliantly combines her love of helping people plan their trip of a lifetime with her own desire to see and experience other countries and cultures. When she's not hard at work on your itinerary or on the go far away, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts and checking out new restaurants. And she makes divine chocolate truffles!
Director of Sales
Growing up in Savannah, Georgia, Director of Sales Hellen Willett earned her travel “wings” at the age of seven flying solo to visit family. Her international experiences began at age 13 to Guatemala and she hasn’t looked back since. From the mountains of Nepal to the joie de vivre of Paris, Hellen has traveled the world. She studied Spanish & art in Oaxaca, Mexico, lived in bustling London, and has also called Australia and India her homes. Whether skydiving in Byron Bay, zip lining in Jamaica, trekking the mountains in Patagonia, or basking in the wonders of Rome’s Colosseum by Vespa, Hellen is a travel enthusiast to the core. With 40 countries under her belt, she is more than ready, willing and able to create the journey of a lifetime for DAI travelers. When home in Nashville, TN, she enjoys trying new restaurants, painting and writing.
The world becomes a smaller place around the table for Master Foodie Mara Papatheodorou, the company's Culinary Specialist. As a Tastes & Traditions Expert, a former Editor at Bon Appetit Magazine and a nationally established entertaining specialist, she has interpreted the cuisine and experienced the culture of over 75 countries worldwide. Her parents say she was born clutching her passport since her first trip abroad was at three months old, followed by annual travels to faraway places that instilled true travel lust. As a student and then as a professional, Mara studied and lived abroad in France and then in England for twelve years. She always carries her culinary compass in one hand and her passport in the other exploring the world to highlight the fascinating fusion between cuisine and culture. There is always a restaurant or hideaway food haven to recommend, a dish to savor and a sip to quench. Her real person persona makes her a popular guest lecturer, panelist/judge and presenter about food, travel and entertaining. She seeks out sights and bites all year long with her fabulous husband and son. And when home, she loves to cook and entertain.
Art Director & Media Services
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And no one catches the magical allure of people, animals, breathtaking places and vistas better then the very talented Annette Wyrick-Solari, Art Director & Media Services. She left her job as an advertising director to help Jim launch the look of the company in 1995 and has never looked back. Since then everything she designs with care and flair makes you want to travel there! Her gorgeous marketing materials and website graphics transforms authentic photos into a dream-reaching reality for clients who choose to take a Destinations & Adventures journey of pure wonder. She is also an accomplished painter, a fantastic wife to Craig and mother to Jessica and James.
Here's the bottom line! Investing in a memorable journey of a lifetime is priceless! When dollars and cents eventually enter the equation, established Chief Accountant Grace Renn Cohen keeps your deposits and tallies in fine working order alongside our company's checks and balances. When not examining spreadsheets at Saving Grace Business Services, she loves spending time with her husband Rob and son Benji, exercising and cooking delicious vegetarian dishes.
Originally from India, the beauty of the world far and wide with its diverse cultures and traditions has always been intriguing to Travel Emeritus Mina Vanmali. Over the years, Jim and Mina worked together so when he opened Destinations & Adventures in 1995 Jim knew her knowledge, kind spirit, loyalty and attention to detail made her a wonderful natural addition to the company. She actually holds the honor of being Jim's first employee! She and her internationally acclaimed architect husband Ashok travel extensively and are the proud parents of four terrific children.
Or contact one of our travel specialists directly Monday - Friday, 9am - 5:30pm CST.
Or contact one of our travel Specialists directly Monday - Friday 9AM-5:30 PM CST