Mary and Vanessa met on a digital nomad retreat in Belgrade, Serbia in the summer of 2019. That month they pondered questions about the digital nomad space and how to make it more inclusive.
As a cross-generational female duo, they have insight from both sides of the generational spectrum. Mary had actually been turned away from a trip provider because of her age, and at the same time Vanessa was finding that more mature individuals on the retreats she was leading were often left feeling excluded from the space.
Now it's 2021 and Mary and Vanessa believe that growth-based, location independent retreats are for everyone! Their trips are aimed at self-recalibration, intimate community building, and unifying growth experiences.
Vanessa is passionate about helping others use travel as a tool to heal, dream, grow, meditate, and regain their joie de vivre. Vanessa has worked in all facets of the travel industry; from guiding overland adventures- yes, driving a bus across America for GAdventures, to winning #1 Tour Provider in the World in 2019 from Travel + Leisure alongside her colleagues at Classic Journeys.
While majoring in Media and German at UC Berkeley, Vanessa was diagnosed with stage two tongue cancer. The diagnosis was life-changing for the 20-year old, who was studying abroad in London at the time. Though surgeries and treatment lasted her entire last semester, Vanessa graduated on-time as a Dean’s List recipient. However, something had permanently changed in her. Prior to her battle, she intended to climb the corporate ladder. Now there was an indefatigable desire to have real, authentic experiences. Having regained her speech and overcome cancer, she felt she owed it to herself to lead a life that she was excited to wake up to each morning.
Vanessa developed a diverse career in the travel industry. She has been invited to speak about the Future of Remote Work & Travel everywhere from South Korea to South Africa.Throughout 2019 and up until Covid closures forced people to return home, Vanessa led a group of 20+ digital nomads on trips around the world. In this position, she realized that her deepest passion was in having breakthrough experiences and intimate conversations with the people she was leading.
People are brought to travel for many reasons. Some are simply trying to uncover a new way of life in an unfamiliar place. Some are coming to heal themselves, get out of a bad situation, or are hunting for that same ‘spark’ that Vanessa found. She loves connecting with the people she travels with. She believes in the bonding power of experiential travel, is an expert at small group leadership and mentorship, and has a wealth of passion and experience to lend to those lucky enough to travel with her.
To Mary, travel allows one to find the likeness in all people, whether they’re across the globe or across the street. The undeniable beauty of travel is about connecting with different people and cultures in order to grow and fully appreciate the world around them.
A native of Houston, Texas, Mary earned undergraduate degrees in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Nursing degree (RN) from Los Angeles County/The University of Southern California Medical Center School of Nursing, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well as a master’s degrees in Public Health.
After a productive career in the medical field, Mary became passionate about fertility and helping others. In 2007 she started The Donor Solution as a patient-forward business that focused on both the medical, emotional, and financial aspects of fertility. As the business grew, Mary branched out to start 3 Sisters Surrogacy in 2012, and later Family Solutions International. In the fall of 2019, Mary started a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Ethics to delve deeper into her studies.
In 2018, after her children went to college, she took a sabbatical to Montevideo, Uruguay to reevaluate and find clarity in her life. She now aims to show others how to find that same clarity and uncover the next stage of their lives. It doesn’t need to be six weeks in Uruguay, a week or two away could be enough- everyone’s self-healing travel journey is unique! When she came back home, Mary found that she approached her day-to-day life with a new perspective.