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 more than 30 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 & 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 a Top Travel Consultant & Destination Specialist by CNT for the past 22 years. 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.
At age two, a family trip from Los Angeles to El Salvador set Arlene Santos-Hurlbert, Vice President 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. 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. Five passports, 35+ 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 is spending quality time with her husband, son, and two dogs, cooking delicious meals, and reading the latest best selling book!
Senior Vice President
She is an avid traveler, the sister of Jim and has the beauty and brains of Katherine Hepburn. Senior 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!”
Manager, Europe Division
French-born and based in Angouleme and Manager of our European Division, Esther Gombin traveled all over Europe with her parents as a child. Exploring has always been part of her life and her dreams. Her childhood hobby was cutting up travel leaflets to create her own imaginary adventure book. One of her favorite trips was to New Zealand for half a year, where she had plenty of time to do a deep dive into the local culture! The world of luxury has always attracted her. Her very first job was in an haute-couture studio! Apart from her fashion studies, going to law school reinforced her thoroughness. She is also concerned with today’s greatest challenge, climate change, and is very interested in green travel. Gastronomy is another of her passions: she loves cooking vegan and vegetarian meals for her loved ones and discovering new restaurants. Next trip on her wish list: to reach Denmark by train from France!
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.
Director of Program Design
The travel bug first bit Director of Program Design, Sarah Grabar as a teenager on a high school 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. Ever since Sarah joined Destinations & Adventures International nine years ago, she’s been wild about Africa and has traveled to both East & Southern Africa multiple times. Recently, on her own volition, she lived in Cape Town for six weeks where she did a deep dive into the region and the myriad safari opportunities. When not hard at work on your itinerary or planning another return trip to Africa, she enjoys going to concerts and checking out new restaurants. And she makes divine chocolate truffles! A trip high on Sarah’s list is to Slovenia to meet her distant relatives.
Program Development Manager
Her first foray into travel was in New Delhi as a ticketing agent for Singapore Airlines and Program Development Manager, Seema Kapur-Prakash has been traveling ever since. After migrating to the United States in 2004, she broadened her destination scope as a luxury tour operator highlighting Asia, Africa, India and Egypt. Seema’s effusive personality, extensive cultural knowledge and attention to detail all make the ultimate difference to every journey of pure wonder she plans.
Optimistic and open-minded are natural traits that describe Client Coordinator, Glenda Rodriguez. Her curious nature, attention to detail and love of travel enhances every custom-designed itinerary she handles. Her destination favorites include Egypt & Latin America. When not on the go or at her desk, Glenda can be found cooking, hammering or landscaping as she loves to help cater parties as well as tackling DIY home improvement projects.
Group Travel Director
“My love to see the world began long before I knew that it could and would become my life long career” admits Group Travel Director, Arpi Kizirian. It was a geography class that first opened her eyes and heart to the Intrigue of different countries and their cultures. As a result, she’s as passionate about traveling as she is about designing and planning unique off-the-beaten path group itineraries for others. “There is something very special about sharing an experience with likeminded people, especially when each traveler brings a different perspective and point of discussion to everyone’s journey.” When home, she loves to cook and spend time with her family.
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.
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.
Director of Distinctive Journeys
An art history trip to Italy initiated Director of Distinctive Journeys, Barbara MacQuown Tucker's love of travel. Since then she’s made an international career of appreciating countries and their cultures. A master’s degree in hospitality from the prestigious Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland launched her interest in cuisine, art, fashion and design as she journeyed to cities and countries near and far seeking out unique aspects and redefining emblematic elements wherever she landed. This passionate approach served Barbara well when she became Travel Director for the revered Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. She now brings her in-depth knowledge of bespoke experiences and behind-the-scenes access toDestinations & Adventures International to create travel magic!
Manager, Distinctive Journeys
Growing up with the good fortune to travel frequently with her family, Laura Orchowski, Manager, Distinctive Journeys, has always been interested in culture and travel. This ignited passion led her to pursue cultural anthropology studies at university and study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. Making travel her career was only natural, starting her professional experience at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh in the Travel Program Department. Having relocated to Munich, Germany in 2018, Laura is living out her European dream, exploring and immersing herself in new cultures, and delving into regional culinary treats. Laura is excited to bring her knowledge, passion, and desire to help people realize their travel dreams with Destinations & Adventures International.
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 Del Rey keeps your deposits and tallies in fine working order alongside our company's checks and balances. When not examining spreadsheets at her company, she loves spending time with her son Benny, exercising, cooking delicious vegetarian dishes, and roaring around Los Angeles on her Ducati Scrambler!
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