Curated Travel Experiences,
The folks behind Wild Blue Yonder Trips are avid travelers with insatiable appetites for exploring the globe. We feed our passion for travel by planning and conducting trips abroad for small groups of travelers.
Our trips aren’t “tours.” We'll never make you get on a tour bus, shuffle you into a subpar restaurant for a group meal, or dominate your day with a rigid schedule of endless guided tours.
We think of our trips as curated travel experiences akin to having a best friend living in the destination city — someone who knows the local scene very well; who can recommend the best restaurants off the beaten path; and who gives you insider information that will make the difference between an okay trip and one you'll remember for a lifetime.
Meet Your Trip Concierges
Every spare minute — and dollar — I get my hands on goes to travel. As soon as my good friend Donna moved to Paris, I started hanging out there a lot. Soon we were organizing group trips, first for friends, and now for people who would soon be our friends (like you).
I love getting to know a city beyond the usual tourist venues — the unknown and quirky museums, the grand parks, the places where only the locals eat, the cafés where cats share your table (not for the allergic, of course), the little streets with the trendy shops or just where to get a spectacular cup of coffee.
My travels in the last few years have taken me to France over and over again. Some of my other favorite trips have been to Italy, South Africa, Morocco, Spain, Ethiopia, England, Namibia, India, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Algeria, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Germany — and lots more. I walked across England by myself twice, and I’ve hiked in the Sahara, the Amazon and all over Europe.
Gary and I work together in our talent development company, and I’ve been designing and facilitating group experiences for ages. But my first love has always been travel — and making sure that everybody on the trip is having a great time.
Heba El-Shazli is Assistant Professor at George Mason University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on international relations, politics, government and society of the Middle East, and political Islam. She’s an almost always sold-out teacher of Middle Eastern literature at Politics & Prose, and – of course – has traveled extensively there.
I’m here to help you have the best possible Paris experience, just like you would if you were visiting your best friend and they were showing you around. I’m not your average tour guide so don’t expect a lecture or to be put on a tour bus. I’ve got lots of great stories to share; I know the city very well and have an adventurous spirit!
I moved to Paris in the Fall of 2006, and I don’t think I’ve stopped discovering things about this city since. I love wandering around with or without a purpose. Paris is a beautiful city for walking and has great museums and galleries and every neighborhood has it’s own character. After 10 years, I’m definitely considered to be a “Parisian” and nothing makes be happier than sharing what I know about the city with others.
When I’m not discovering new corners of Paris, I play tennis and ride my bike through the Bois de Bologne and the back roads of France. I cherish the time I have with friends trying out new restaurants and watching the French Open. And when I nostalgically think about my old life in America, I realize that I’m a very lucky girl who now lives in a tiny apartment in the 8th Arrondissement at the top of a beautiful Haussmannian building with views of the old rooftops of Paris in the distance. Come wander the city with me…
Vacation planning is just part of my DNA. Even as a child you could find me consulting with my parents on our family trips (Disney World was first up, of course).
I got my first taste of international travel when I signed up for a high school trip to France and Switzerland. I can still remember the feeling of my heart racing as we landed in Paris, knowing that a whole new world of travel exploration was about to open up. Since then I've had an insatiable appetite for travel and love exploring new cultures, cuisines, and making new friends along the way.
So far I've trekked to about twenty countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. And I'll be adding more to that list as we conduct research for new Wild Blue Yonder trips around the globe (not a bad gig, is it?)
I love creating new experiences for family and friends, whether we're exploring an exotic destination or just sipping a delicious bottle of wine in front of a spectacular sunset somewhere in the world.
I do love to travel, of course, but I also like the planning and preparation for a trip. That’s part of my personality! Before any trip, personal or business, you’ll find me all over the internet researching countries, places, reviews, maps, and often reading all the books, fiction or non-fiction, that I can.
Over the years, I’ve traveled all over the US on the business of moderating focus groups, satisfying my needs for exploring this country, honing my skills in handling groups and learning about people.
In my down time, I’ve traveled extensively in Western Europe, and branched out into Africa and Central America. And with Wild Blue Yonder, I’ve also had a chance to share experiences with new groups of interesting, curious, and adventurous travelers.
I do like to spend time as well in my favorite place, Annapolis, MD. In my twenty years in Annapolis, I’ve become active as a volunteer for a variety of organizations: i.e., historic preservation, art, tutoring, etc. I still find new and interesting things the city has to offer – and I love looking for charming and unique places like it in other parts of the world and other cultures!