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Travel World Culture would not have become the thriving community it is without our team! On every group trip, a TWC group leader (Jess, Gavin, Marie, Dayna, or Peyton) travels with the group to act as a sort of narrator throughout the trip, bring the travelers together, and assist with any hiccups that arise. 

Each member of the TWC team has a deep love for travel, adventure, and the outdoors, but we each have our unique dedicated interests as well, including yoga, rock climbing, mountaineering, culinary arts, various sports, learning languages, and more.  3 of the 5 members of the team are either vegan or vegetarian, so you can be assured that the TWC food recommendations will have something for each of you!

 

Read on to get to know the TWC team!

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Marie

TWC and Marie's paths crossed thanks to a family friend connection, and it was fate! She flew to Iceland, where we met in person for the first time in Reykjavik, and continued to travel with Jess and Gavin through Portugal as well. During that trip, she trekked on the coastal Rota Vicentina through small Portuguese surf towns, and she has been a part of the TWC team ever since!

While getting her degree in Anthropology and Sociology, she spent a semester studying abroad in Chile, which kicked off a love for travel that has taken her to many countries world-wide, including to Guatemala, Argentina, Peru, and more with TWC. She has extensive experience leading groups in the USA and beyond, in the wilderness and through crowded urban streets. 

You'll find Marie in a big city like Lisbon exploring the local market and picking out fresh fruits to try or leading a ceramics workshop on Lake Atitlan, but you'll also find her at a yoga retreat in northern Peru or trekking in Patagonia. 

Marie is an avid hiker but partakes in a variety of outdoor adventures from kayaking to horseback riding to rock climbing. She has completed the W-Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, the Salkantay Trek, and the GR11 in the Spanish Pyrenees. Marie is also a trained Wilderness First Responder through NOLS.

She is based in Dallas, Texas, but you'll often find her road-tripping and camping through the USA with her dog, Rosey. 

You'll find Marie in Portugal, Iceland, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and more!

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Peyton

Peyton was the first team member to join Gavin and Jess at TWC in 2021, but her interest in travel (and sibling relationship with Gavin) has been lifelong. Her early travels around the world to Austria, Germany, the UAE, Ireland, Italy, France, and more inspired her to pursue a degree in International Relations at UT Austin. While there, she began learning Arabic and traveled to Egypt and Lebanon to practice her new skills. Part of her course led her to spend half of a year living with a host family, continuing her Arabic studies, and interning in Amman, Jordan. She fell in love with Jordan and returns yearly to lead groups through the country from Wadi Rum to the world wonder Petra. 

Peyton has joined TWC in Colombia, Portugal, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and more. In 2021 she joined TWC for seven Remote Work months all across Latin America, that she began to lead TWC groups. Peyton has led Remote Work groups in Guatemala, Colombia, and Peru and may join future monthlong groups as a now part-time digital nomad. She balances her love of travel with a career in marketing for a company in the political sector and working part-time as a climbing pro in the Denver climbing community.

 

Based in Denver, Colorado, you'll find Peyton up to any number of outdoor activities on any given day, including skiing, slacklining, climbing, bouldering, running, hiking, and more. While traveling in Latin America, she trekked the Ausangate Circuit solo, Salkantay Trek, Inca Trail, Lares Trek, and more. When she's not traveling or outdoors, you'll find her brewing kombucha or sipping on an oat milk cappuccino in a cafe.

Ask Peyton about her favorite plant-based restaurants anywhere that TWC travels to. You'll find her in Jordan and all across Latin America with TWC!

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Dayna

Dayna is the most recent group leader to join the TWC team! At the beginning of 2021, she decided to join TWC just days before a Remote Work month in Guatemala began and flew down to Antigua on a whim to meet the group. That flight on a whim turned into over 6 months of traveling together throughout Latin America. 

Before meeting TWC, Dayna had extensive travel experience from studying abroad in Asia, backpacking through Southeast Asia, and exploring dozens of other countries in Europe and the Middle East. In Latin America, Dayna joined TWC to trek to Machu Picchu, surf in the Pacific, camp on a volcano, scuba dive in the Carribbean, and explore in Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Peru. Since then, she has trained with TWC in Croatia, Montenegro, Portugal, and Greece and often reunites with Gavin and Jess for treks, including in the Himalayas of Nepal and the Dolomites of Italy. 

She and her wife, Lily (who designed the TWC logo!), sold most of their possessions in the USA (where she lived in Georgia and Texas and road-tripped all over) to become expats in Berlin, Germany. She has since been exploring the whole region in-depth, and you'll often catch her taking a trip to a new country for the weekend. She's a brilliant product manager and an even more brilliant travel planner.

You'll find Dayna in Portugal, Croatia, Greece, Peru, and more!

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Gavin

Gavin’s love for travel came from him mom, Dina, who grew up between Kuwait and the UK, and that love led him to plan his first Europe backpacking trip at age 18. While living for a semester in Edinburgh, Scotland, Gavin took the opportunity to travel to a different country every week. At that time, he started a travel blog and named it “Travel World Culture,” hoping that those common words would help his blog appear in search engines. (Luckily for him, Jess would come along further down the line to take over marketing…) Thanks to his blog and frequent travels around Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, Gavin became known as “the travel guy” and was often asked by friends and peers to help them plan travel. Living in Scotland lit a flame within him, and he became determined to become a digital nomad (someone who travels full-time and works remotely) after graduating from UT Austin with his Mechanical Engineering degree.

 

The first destination of his nomadic journey was Colombia, where he and Jess spent several months exploring the mountains, coffee region, and the coast. It was in Medellin, the city of the eternal spring, that Gavin had the idea to plan a group trip to Ecuador based off a past trip to Ecuador that he and Jess had taken. He realized that by having a group share the expenses of a private van, local guide, and other activities, they could get a much richer travel experience for a better deal than they would have if they went alone. That Ecuador trip was first posted in a UT Austin Facebook page, and the dream took off rapidly from there. Through planning and researching destinations for TWC and his past travels, Gavin estimates that he has been to over 50 countries. He is now based in Colorado but travels almost half the year to lead and plan trips for TWC. 


In his free time, Gavin loves trekking, whether it’s the W-Trek in Chile, the Manaslu Circuit in Nepal, or the Huayhuash Circuit in northern Peru. He is also a rock climber and goes often with his sister, Peyton, in Colorado, has completed a half Ironman, loves yoga and meditation, obsesses over coffee beans from all over the world, and is an avid backcountry snowboarder. Together with Jess, he ran the Austin Marathon, is PADI scuba certified, has climbed to a peak over 20,000 feet in the Andes, and renovated a small cabin in the mountains of Colorado. 

You may catch Gavin on any of the TWC itineraries, as he's the primary trip planner for TWC! 

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Jess

Jess began traveling as a teenager, spending a summer exchange in Germany. Similarly to Gavin, her mom, Laura Beth, also grew up abroad in France and Belgium, and frequently told her growing up that travel is a type of education in itself and helps you grow to become a more compassionate and well-rounded human being. While studying psychology at UT Austin, where she and Gavin met, she backpacked around Europe and Ecuador and solo road-tripped through the American Rockies during breaks. The travel bug caught up with her quickly, and she was easily convinced to become a digital nomad alongside Gavin. When Gavin first presented the idea to launch TWC’s first group trip to Ecuador in 2018, she was immediately ready to start documenting and sharing the journey on social media. She re-did Gavin’s travel blog “Travel World Culture” and turned the website into what it is today. Unfortunately, she did not change the name, so Travel World Culture is often affectionately called TWC instead! 

 

Since 2018, she and Gavin have traveled across 5 continents planning trips for TWC, and Jess has photographed and recorded memories from dozens of countries and TWC trips and posted daily updates to social media. She considers photography and iPhone videography to be two of her favorite hobbies and loves getting to incorporate them into her work. 

Aside from running TWC alongside Gavin, she writes a bi-monthly psychology article for a Texas-based counseling center and creates photo and video content for other brands. Now based in Colorado with Gavin and Peyton, she loves hiking, trail running, and skiing in her free time. 
She brings her Kindle on every trip she has ever been on, including to the teahouses of Nepal, and one of her biggest dreams is to write a book about the ways the concept of community is viewed differently around the world. If you’ve ever wondered what a travel planner does for “vacation,” for Jess, it’s trekking for days in remote mountain regions on the Himalayas and Andes with her fellow type-2 fun friends. Thanks to Gavin, she occasionally climbs, scuba dives, runs long distances, drinks too much coffee, and summits mountains. 

You may catch Jess on any of the TWC itineraries! The vast majority of photos and videos used across TWC platforms and on the website were taken by her. 

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