Down Under Endeavours – Travel Experts

Meet the Team

Our team consists of experienced travel experts, passionate about good, old-fashioned service, and for exploring the world’s exotic destinations. We travel overseas every year, to ensure you have the most up to date unbiased information. We’re based in Chicago, but travel the world to find the best of the best for our clients.

Corinne, Owner and Founder

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Born and raised in Young, Australia, Corinne relocated to the United States in 1996 as a member of Tourism Australia. She founded Down Under Endeavours in 1998, focusing solely on enabling travelers to experience the South Pacific in luxurious style.

Ever the adventurer, Corinne has traveled to five of the six inhabitable continents. Her itineraries can sometimes be unusual. For instance, after completing the Paris Marathon in 2010 she traveled straight from France to South Africa for a safari in the private Phinda game reserve, rugby matches in Durban, and golf at Leopard Creek near Kruger National Park (and site of the European PGA’s Dunhill Cup.) She is an avid triathlete, golfer, snowboarder, and wine enthusiast. She is very active in the local Chicago community, as well as fundraising for charities such as the Hoyt Foundation and MVAT.

My favorite place to visit is:
Australia. I’m not complete if I don’t spend a few days in my home country each year.

The best thing about the Down Under Team is: I created this company out of what I was passionate about in life; and I love the vibrant energy of the team. All of the DUE team are passionate travelers and enjoy finding unique and memorable experiences for like-minded travelers. I also love the relationships I’ve built over almost 20 years with our vendors. They are truly like my extended family, and I am lucky to say I have friends scattered all across the globe!

I fell in love with travel:
When I was 12, on my first visit to Fiji with my family. I have vivid memories of horseback riding along deserted beaches, watching the fire walkers, bartering with other kids for shells, and making life-long friends.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
A blend of a little time on a fantastic beach to recharge the batteries and recharge the soul; a chance to meet the locals, get immersed in their culture and be pushed out of my comfort zone; the opportunity be lost in the moment, and if I can share all of this, plus great food and wine, with friends, I’ve got my dream holiday. Which, come to think of it, sounds very much like a trip I just took to the Cook Islands!

It would be fun to travel with:
Jacques Cousteau to bring my passion for diving to life; my family as our best adventures around the world have given me memories to laugh about for years; and director Peter Jackson, because the way he brings a landscape to life is beyond comprehension.

I never get on a plane without: A laptop, compression socks, a book I never get around to reading at home; noise canceling earphones; one spare change of clothes; a bottle I can refill with water, an eye mask, and melatonin.

Recent trips have included:
South Africa, Mozambique, St Maarten, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Hong Kong, Cook Islands.

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is to:
Load an iPad up with a couple of movies I’ve really wanted to watch. Add in a glass or two of good wine and a comfy neck pillow. If that doesn’t work, I love chatting to the person sitting next to me on the plane. I’ve made some amazing friends over the years.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
At the dog beach with Echo, on a golf course with Doug and a few travel clients who are now good mates, or riding my bike along the Chicago Lakefront path with my good mate Wolfy.

Some of my favorite places on earth are:
Tasmania for the rugged wilderness, wildlife, and fresh produce. The Franschhoek Wine Valley, South Africa for the scenery and superb wineries. The spectacular west coast of New Zealand’s South Island with mirror lakes and glaciers. Castaway Island, Fiji. Millar Road accommodations in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, set on a vineyard that looks out to sea. Paris, France which is a feast for all the senses; I love to sit at a coffee shop and watch the world go by. Safari anywhere in Africa; I’m completely captivated by the variety of wildlife and how every game drive offers something new and unpredictable. Currumbin Sanctuary/Lone Pine Sanctuary in Australia; I try and stop in at one or the other every visit home to snuggle a koala and feed the orphan baby kangaroos. Mount Warning, the first place the sun hits Australia; it’s a hike I love to do anytime I’m in the Gold Coast region. Hong Kong for strolling through the flower market and enjoying the night horse races at Happy Valley. Chiang Mai in northern Thailand; the friendliest people, lush countryside, incredible cuisine and just enough removed from the tourist crush to make it a great escape.

I have incredible memories of:
My favorite memories always occur when I push myself out of my comfort zone and discover something unexpected. This often happens with wildlife, taking a local’s recommendation on food and wine or taking that spontaneous turn down a side road to a great lookout. A few years ago, I decided to share these moments with close friends. And so every two years a small group of us travel to new destinations, explore the region, and come together to share stories of what we discovered over a glass of wine. To see and hear how they look at the world in that moment is often surprising and so much fun.

Of all my holidays, these are my top picks for:
Room With A View: Shangri-La Sydney. Spacious rooms, excellent service and a breathtaking panoramic view of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Meal: Appellation at the Louise, in the Barossa Valley, Australia

Lodge: Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania; Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island; The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Round Of Golf: A tie between Leopard Creek, South Africa and Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Wildlife Encounter: A night out with Bushie in Tasmania, champagne with the ‘roos with Tim Tranter

Race: Paris Marathon

Dive Spot: A tie with Manihi, French Polynesia and Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Cultural Experience: Daintree Ecolodge, Australia

Spa: Deep Ocean Spa, Bora Bora

Shopping: Hong Kong

Creating just the right trip for a client requires:
Listening and determining from the information given what the dream vacation really is for the person. Then, finding the right experiences to make that dream come true. That means understanding a person’s travel style and creating the flow of the trip based on it. It also means knowing the people behind the scenes who give our travelers unique and extra special touches. And throwing in a surprise here and there that will put a smile on our clients’ faces doesn’t hurt!

I know I’ve nailed it for them when:
I get an email from my travelers while they are still abroad. It’s nice to know they took the time to stop and send me a note while still on their vacation.

The best thing a client has ever said to me was:
“You changed my life, Corinne.”

The craziest requests I’ve had are:
A desire to visit three countries with only one day in each country, a walkabout journey with a local Aboriginal along their personal song line, and a marriage proposal on a remote peak in New Zealand via helicopter.

I love my job because:
I live vicariously through every trip I plan. If I can make every person come home feeling that they’ve had a life-changing experience and filled with stories to share, then that leaves me smiling the whole day through.

Life without travel is: Simply not living.

Candice

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My favorite place to visit is:
Usually, it’s the last place I have traveled to!

The best things about being on the Down Under Team are:
Exploring new places and meeting great people.

I fell in love with travel when I was:
Just a girl and dreamed of someday visiting Paris. I’ve been blessed to be able to visit that glorious city, as well as many other unique and amazing places.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
A great city, a fantastic wildlife experience and amazing food and wine with my favorite travel companion, my lovely husband.

I never get on a plane without:
My iPad, a few good books, eye mask, hand and lip moisturizer, neck pillow, cashmere wrap and a bottle of water are constant companions.

Recent trips have included:
My first trip to Italy in April with my family was such a blast!  May brought me back to Southern Africa.  I had incredible game viewing at spectacular lodges located in Madikwe in South Africa (Mateya and Jamala, respectively).  I had my first visit to Victoria falls, and experienced the incomparable elephants in Chobe National Park, courtesy of Ngoma Safari Lodge.  In August, the husband and I headed “Down Under.”  We spent a few wet days exploring Nelson, Able Tasman, and Kaikoura in the top half of the South island, before heading over to sunny Australia.  There, we were spoiled at One and Only Wolgan Valley (incredible views and spectacular wildlife).  The saltwater plunge pools were to die for!  We finished at my new favorite splurge property and hidden gem, Pretty Beach House on the Bouddi Peninsula, just 1.5 hours from Sydney.  Can I move there?  

2016 will bring South Africa, Botswana, Germany, Australia, and my first trip to Vietnam!  Just another year in the life at DUE.  We are truly fortunate!

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is:
Sleep. Not exactly genius, but if you can make it happen, you will be so much happier at the end of the long haul.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Cruising around my neighborhood, Lincoln Square. As much as I love to travel, Chicago is still my favorite city on earth (even in the winter) and I love spending time enjoying the city with friends and family.

Some of my favorite travel destinations on earth are:
The Serengeti in Tanzania, Cape Town in South Africa, Tasmania and Margaret River in Australia, Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand, and the Rhone-Alps region in France.

I have incredible memories of:
Meeting mountain Gorillas in Rwanda (hands down the best wildlife experience ever!) Sundowners under the African sky, spending time in the Tassie wilderness with a real Aussie bushman, watching the native dolphin pod in New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound play around the wake of the ship, and sipping champagne while watching the sunset on the Indian Ocean in Margaret River.

Of all my holidays, my favorite experience was:
My safari experiences at Singita properties in both Tanzania and South Africa. Gorgeous accommodation, impeccable service and fantastic wildlife. It was truly unforgettable!

Creating just the right trip for a client requires:
Patience, attention detail and the ability to listen.

I know I’ve nailed it for them when:
I have delivered exactly what they were looking for — including some really unique experiences — and when they tell me that their holidays exceeded their expectations.

Most challenging issue I’ve solved for a client:
Getting a couple home after a natural disaster. All was fine and they got home safely, but it was very anxiety-inducing until I heard they had landed on U.S. soil.

My best travel advice is:
Leave your cash at home (except for Africa… bring A LOT) Nowadays, debit/credit cards give you the best exchange rate. Don’t waste your money on traveler’s checks or exchanging U.S. dollars for local currency.

I love my job because:
It changes daily, from new products to new clients. And the best part is, since all of my clients are different, I never plan the same holiday twice!

Life without travel is:
Well, I’d rather say what life WITH travel is. It shrinks the size of the world and teaches us that no matter our age, race or religion, we are more the same than we are different.

 

Doug

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Favorite place to visit:
Fiji in February when it’s snowing like heck in Chicago, but sunny and warm in the South Pacific.

The best thing about being on the Down Under Team is:
We all get along like a house on fire, and that the long hours we all put in seem to breeze by when you enjoy the company of your coworkers. Plus, I’m the only guy on staff, so I’m the envy of many.

I fell in love with travel when:
I’ve always been adventuresome, so staying at home when I was younger was akin to a prison. I love to be gallivanting anywhere, be it Cook County or the Cook Islands. Every year or two, we take the same mob of friends somewhere in the world for a couple of weeks. This year, it’s Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. Next year, it will be Africa. These are my favorite types of trips, as the people you’d like to share adventures with are actually on the trip with you.

I never get on a plane without:
Katmandu travel socks, my huge laptop and a tiny hand-held gizmo that weighs your luggage.

Recent trips have included:
Thailand, the Cook Islands, Australia, Paris, Cabo San Lucas and South Africa.

The best way to make a long flight go by quickly is:
Upgrade yourself into business class by any method possible, whether using miles or paying for it outright. It makes a monster difference on long-haul international flights, anything over 8 hours.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Playing golf, taking the dog for a walk by Lake Michigan or taking myself for a walk to a local pub to hang with friends.

Some of my favorite places on earth are:
Bad Gastein, Austria for awesome skiing and nightlife; the South Island of New Zealand for the incredible scenery; and Chiang Mai, Thailand for the amazing Thai hospitality.

Of all the hotels I’ve stayed in throughout the world, my personal favorite is the Shangri La in Sydney Harbour. This hotel really offers the best views of the best harbour in the world. You sit in your room at night with a glass of wine and just watch the world go by with the Harbour Bridge to your left, and the Opera House to your right.

 

Shannon

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My favorite places to visit are:
Paris, France; the Maldives, Kaikoura, New Zealand, Bora Bora and Sydney and Margaret River, Australia.

The best thing about being on the Down Under Team is:
Doing something that I love and getting to send people to do something I love … travel

I fell in love with travel when:
My passion for travel was ignited when my parents took us on U.S.-based summer trips. When I was 17, I went to Europe for 20 days after studying European History in high school and that cemented my love for travel to other parts of the world.

My idea of a dream holiday includes: Food, wine, spas, art, fashion, shopping and maybe a football game.

It would be fun to travel with: Kerry Washington, she can give me fashion tips.

I never get on a plane without:
In any given year, I probably log 30,000 air miles. I always make sure I pack my noise cancelling headphones, my iPad, compression socks, full sized beauty products and my loofah sponge.

Recent trips have included:
Australia (twice), New Zealand, Tahiti, Dubai, The Maldives, Fiji.  In 2016, heading to South Africa and Kenya.

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is: Watch multiple movies and drink wine.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Teaching Jazzercise, drinking wine at local wine bars, or seeing a concert at Ravinia or Northerly Island.

I have incredible travel memories of:
Swimming with Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef in Australia, the paradise that is the Maldives, diving at the Great Barrier Reef (highlight of my trip to Australia), holding a koala and feeding the wallabies, and the tour and show at the Sydney Opera House.  Wandering around the Louvre to experience the amazing works of art while in Paris.  Having a spa treatment overlooking the ocean in Antigua. Of all my holidays, my favorite hotel room was at Hapuku in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Most amazing food experience.  My overwater bungalow at Niyama in the Maldives.

Creating just the right trip for a client requires: Listening, creativity and flexibility.

I know I’ve nailed it for them when they:
Send in their booking document! All kidding aside, it’s when our clients are so excited, you can hear it in their voices.

The best thing a client has ever said to me:
“I would love to have your job.” It makes my day when clients come back to book an additional trip with me or refer friends. I even have had clients send me gifts.  In fact, one of my previous clients now works for Down Under Endeavours.

The travel or destination advice I most frequently find myself offering to my clients is:
You have to LOVE the itinerary before you leave. And don’t leave without having all of your questions answered.

I love my job because:
When I am here, I never think about the other things I have do outside of work. I am always busy doing things I love.

Life without travel is like: A day without wine — you could do it, but why would you want to?

 

Ellen

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My favorite place to visit is:
Somewhere I’ve never been before!

The best thing about being on the Down Under Team is:
Working with people who all prioritize travel to be a big part of their lives, and helping others experience trips of a lifetime.

I fell in love with travel:
When I was 8 years old and went to Europe for the first time with my family—I’ve been hooked ever since! Most of my big life decisions have been based on my love of travel.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
New cities and culture, wine, and adventure! If a place is known for whale watching, hot air balloon rides, or bungee jumping, I have to try it.

My favorite travel companion is:
My husband, Tom. He is always up for anything and never gets stressed out.

I never get on a plane without:
Compression socks, noise-cancelling headphones (a splurge but so worth it!), gum, and a good book.

Recent trips have included:
South Africa/Botswana/Zambia/Zimbabwe (June 2016), Australia (2015 twice and once in 2016), French Polynesia (2015), Cook Islands (2015), Yellowstone National Park and Park City Utah (2014), Kenya and Tanzania (2014), Fiji and New Zealand (2014). Next up is a trip to Dubai and the Maldives in January 2017!

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is to:
Watch movies and drink wine. 🙂

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Reading a good book, exploring new bars and restaurants, doing barre classes, cooking, or playing with my new puppy, Theo!

Some of my favorite travel destinations on earth are:
Queenstown, New Zealand and Istanbul, Turkey. In Queenstown, I felt right at home in this charming mountainside town on beautiful Lake Wakatipu. I loved the people, the food, and the amazing activities available. I would move there in a minute! In Istanbul, I was amazed at the buildings and culture. Hearing the call to prayer and being in two countries (almost) at once was incredible!

I have incredible memories of:
Studying abroad for 7 months in Luxembourg and traveling all over Europe. I had been saving for that experience since my first visit to Europe when I was 8 years old.

Of all my holidays, my favorite experience is:
Getting engaged in Luxembourg and celebrating in Paris for 10 days, sipping champagne and sitting at sidewalk cafes.

Creating just the right trip for a client requires:
Listening, asking the right questions, and recommending the best use of their time and money for what they are looking to do on their holiday.

I know I’ve nailed it for them when:
They say they couldn’t have done it without me! I love crafting a trip so unique and fitting to people’s characteristics and personalities that they know my expertise helped them have that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

My best travel advice is:
Go in with an open mind and a sense of adventure. You will enjoy your trip so much more if you live in the moment!

I love my job because:
I get to help people experience what I love to do the most in the world: travel! I feel very lucky to be doing what I love.

Life without travel is:
Ordinary. When you are 90 years old and look back on your life, your family and your travels are going to be what stand out the most. So start traveling!

Laura

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My favorite places to visit are:
Australia: The Outback and Qualia on Hamilton Island!; Cook Islands; Asia: Thailand: Ko Yao Noi and Cambodia: Cardamom Mountains; Europe: Budapest, Prague, Munich; Central America: Panama. 

The best thing about being on the Down Under Team is:
Getting to share my passion for travel and local knowledge with travelers new to the South Pacific and Africa.

I fell in love with travel when:
I lived in Germany. I was quick to immerse myself in the culture, adopt the German lifestyle, language, food and beer… Especially the beer! 

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
Off-the-beaten path exploration, good beaches, new experiences, excellent and authentic food, and chatting with the locals.

My favorite travel companion is:
Myself! I travel quite often with and without others. I truly enjoy traveling with family and friends, as we get to share experiences together. However, I also enjoy traveling on my own and meeting new people from every corner of the world.

I never get on a plane without:
My iPhone, warm socks, a cashmere scarf, pillow, and good hand lotion.

Recent trips have included:
Vietnam and Cambodia, Australia, Thailand, Cook Islands, Panama and Spain. 

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is:
Have a glass or two of wine, turn on a movie and fall sleep!

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
At the gym, practicing my Spanish, taking photography classes, checking out new pubs and planning my next holiday!

Some of my favorite travel destinations on earth are:
Australian Outback: The sunsets at Bamurru Plains; Vietnam: White rose dumplings!; Panama City: Mojitos!; Cambodia: Angkor Wat and trekking in the mountains!

I have incredible memories of:
Living in Germany, my 3-week solo trip through Vietnam and Cambodia, and taking my mom on her first trip trip overseas

Creating just the right trip for a client requires:
Listening, attention to deal and thinking outside the box.

I know I’ve nailed it for them when: They can’t wait to plan a second trip!

My best travel advice is:
Ask the locals for restaurant recommendations, don’t be afraid to explore, try a new activity or food and make sure to leave some time to relax!

I love my job because:
I get to share my love for schedules and travel with people taking once-in-a-lifetime trips, honeymoons and celebrating special moments. And I get paid for it!

Life without travel is like:
Routine. Travel is adventure. It opens your eyes to local charm, create stories of a lifetime, and introduces you to new friends.  It heightens our awareness, curiosity and education of the world we live in.

 

Ness

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The best part about growing up in Australia:
Having amazing beaches at my doorstep. I spent endless hours at Bronte beach on the east coast of Sydney as a surf lifesaver. This love of the ocean also meant that I often got to travel to 100’s of Beaches all around Australia competing for Bronte.

My “must sees” in Australia include:
The Great Barrier Reef, whether you are scuba diving or snorkeling this is a must, Sydney and its spectacular harbour, Tasmania and its rugged landscapes as well as its amazingly fresh food and wine.

My favorite place to visit is:
Bronte beach, Australia

The best things about being on the Down Under Team are:
Getting to work with and speak about something I love everyday. As an extra bonus whenever I feel homesick I just look around the office at all the Aussie paraphernalia and the travel board full of photos of all our clients and our own travels. ☺

I fell in love with travel:
Since the age of 4 my family have always gone on holidays all over the globe as well as throughout Australia. I think my most profound memory was when I was 10 on my first trip to Bali, I remember stepping off the plane and being hit by the strong incense smell and the profound heat. I was fascinated by the different culture and way of living.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
Definitely a beach holiday to relax and recharge. I love meeting the locals and going to a bar for some good food and drinks.

Recent trips have included:
The Cook Islands visiting Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Atiu. Visiting Family in Sydney, Moving to San Francisco and road tripping throughout the West coast. Moving to Chicago and getting to know this awesome city. Honeymooning in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.

I never get on a plane without:
My kindle, bottle of water, ipod, earplugs, and paw paw ointment

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is to:
Drink wine, watch a movie/read a book and fall asleep.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Outdoors!! Running along the lake, picnicking in the park, relaxing with a few beers in a beer garden – Can you tell I’m not used to the Chicago winters?

Some of my favorite places on earth are:
McLaren Vale for the wine, Orpheus Island for the food and access to the Great Barrier Reef, Symbio wildlife park to snuggle a koala and see the native wildlife, NYC for the shopping and local bars, New Zealand for the snow season, Fiji just to lounge on a hammock all day with a cocktail in hand, Rome- the history there will blow your mind, Aitutaki for its crystal blue water and amazing sunsets.

I have incredible memories of:
Backpacking through Europe, I spent 2 months travelling to 10+ countries. I loved meeting new like-minded travelers everyday, seeing and experiencing the culture, local people and amazing landscapes.

Creating just the right trip for a client requires:
Patience, the ability to listen, asking the right questions and attention detail.

The best thing a client has ever said to me was:
They where happy to travel to Australia through Down Under Endeavours as they truly got to see the country through the eyes of a local.

I love my job because:
I live vicariously through my clients.

Life without travel is:
I wouldn’t know – I’ve never experienced this….

When in Chicago, I miss:
Milo & ice cream, Vegemite, the beach, my dog, family and friends back in Australia.

 

Matt

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My favorite place to visit is:
Hawaii, so far. It’s the only place I’ve been that I would look forward to returning to every couple of years. My bed after a long day is a close 2nd favorite.

The best things about being on the Down Under Team are:
The way we work together as a team to achieve the best results for our clients. Sounds like a mission statement, but it’s a fact.
We also have music playing all day and once in awhile tend to start signing and/or dancing. It’s good for the mind & body.

I fell in love with travel when I was:
In London, Scotland, & Ireland with my dad years ago. I wasn’t too much into seeing the historic sites – reminded me of Clark Griswold planning a trip, but seeing that cultures are so different really spoke to me and made me want to see more and get out of the USA bubble when possible.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
My yet-to-be-met match and I, possibly with another couple, at a destination with a good mix of plans and no plans at all. Sand, surf, & wine tasting are definitely part of the mix. And most importantly, something that’s harder and harder to do these days, to leave the phones at home – or at least make an agreement that we don’t use them as we do in daily life. Remember those days?

I never get on a plane without:
My boarding pass & enough music that it won’t repeat during the flight.

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is:
Sleep, period. Might be tough on a long flight, but staying awake for too long starts to feel like a waiting room at a doctor’s office.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Teaching Jazzercise (true story) or catching up with a friend(s) while sipping on a dirty vodka martini with bleu cheese olives.

Most “Whoa” moment while traveling:
Traveling to each of the Hawaiian islands during a 10 day trip.  It was time for some regular American fare for dinner just once, so my father and I decided on Maui to have dinner at a Pizza Hut we passed on the way to our hotel from the airport.  Shortly after we sat down, the staff was cleaning the table next to us, which was followed by some familiar faces sitting down to eat at that table…a family of 5…our next door neighbors!! Neither of us knew that the other family was heading to Hawaii, let alone Maui specifically, or that Pizza Hut at that exact hour in time. Crazy.

My best travel advice is:
Start taking off your shoes, belt, etc BEFORE you get to the security tubs. Efficiency is essential.

I love my job because:
I love new challenges, and I’m learning from some of the best in the business.

Life without travel is:
Something that leads us to ignorance and understanding very little of what is out there in total in this game called life. Sometimes less is more, but traveling, much like learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby, helps to keep us grounded and more accepting of things.

Phil

I fell in love with travel:
When I was seven, I went on a family holiday to Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.  At the time, we lived 300 miles from the ocean in a country town on the western plains northwest of Sydney. My eyes were opened to a whole new world and the delights of travel; and I have never been the same. I have traveled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand and have fallen in love with so many places in those two amazing and beautiful countries.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
My dream trip has to include history, natural wonders, a good hike, local food and wine (beer and sausages in Germany) and the opportunity to get to know the local people and get a feel for the culture.

And of course, some time on a nice beach should not be ignored.

It would be fun to travel with:
I think a journey with Anthony Bourdain would be a culinary adventure. Anthony has the ability to find the underbelly of a place; the food and the culture. He digs deep and takes you to places to eat that the regular tourist does not find. I always attempt to eat like a local as often as I can wherever I travel.

Also to accompany someone like David Attenborough through the world of wildlife would satisfy my other side with my love of nature and the “Great Outdoors.” To do all this with Jeannie, my Kiwi wife would make me a very happy traveler.

My recent trips have included:
San Francisco and the Napa Valley, St Louis, Nashville, New York and road trips through beautiful Wisconsin, along the Mississippi River and Indiana. Being an Australian, I have taken the opportunity to travel in the US.

Before moving to the US, apart from extensive travel in Australia and New Zealand, I traveled to parts of Europe including England (London), Ireland, France, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy.

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is to:
I read a good book, watch those movies I’ve been meaning to catch up on, listen to music and have the red wine whenever it is offered.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
Exploring the wonderful neighborhoods of Chicago or planning my next “Global Adventure.”

Some of my favorite places on earth are:
The Great Barrier Reef, Sydney Harbour, the Australian Outback at night, Snapper Rocks at Rainbow Bay (on Queensland Gold Coast), any of Australia or New Zealand’s Wine Districts and hiking anywhere in the Australian “Bush.”

I have incredible memories of:
Star gazing on a moonless night in the Australian Outback. The land is so flat that during the day you can see for miles and miles and at night you seem to be sitting within a dome of stars.

From “Clancy of the Overflow” a poem by A. B. (Banjo) Paterson (1864)

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him

   In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,

And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,

And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

Of all my holidays, these are my top picks:
Day trips to dive on the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Outback, touring wineries in Australia and New Zealand, driving through the Austrian Alps traveling from Germany to Italy and hiking on the Cinque Terra in Italy.

Wildlife Encounters:
Swimming with a pod of dolphins at Snapper Rocks Queensland and playing golf in the Yarra Valley in Victoria with a “Mob” of kangaroos watching.

Cultural Experiences:
My love of music always finds its way into my travel planning. Whether it is finding the popular venue or attending a classical concert, I love that you are there with the local people. I have not found a better way to enjoy music and mix with the residents of wherever you are in the world.

I never get on a plane without:
My noise cancelling headphones, an iPod full of music including my classical favourites, a good book and a water bottle.

Life without travel is:   NOT AN OPTION.

Katie

Katie on the Bridge in Sydney

 

I fell in love with travel when I was:
Studying abroad in Rome in college. I went somewhere new each weekend, and ended with a 10-day solo circuit through Switzerland, Germany, and France, cementing my love of spontaneous travel!

My favorite place to visit is:
Anywhere and everywhere. I fell in love with Sydney in 2014…and then with South Africa in 2015…so my favorite place is probably wherever my next adventure takes me!

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
A beautiful city I can explore by foot, warm weather, opportunities for adventure and culture, stunning beaches, a great bar/restaurant scene, friendly locals…and ideally some sort of live music or sports scene.

I never get on a plane without:
Music, and lots of it. Also…iPad, lip moisturizer, hand sanitizer, gum, refillable water bottle, and a warm scarf or hoodie for when they crank the A/C. Recent trips have included: Australia, South Africa, Germany, Mexico, Caribbean, San Fran, DC…and several trips to NYC to visit my nieces!

The best way to make a long flight seem to go faster is:
Drink wine, binge watch a new show, drink wine, read a good book, drink wine, sleep.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
At a concert, at a Cubs/Bears/Hawks/Bulls game, walking or biking along the lakefront, hanging out with friends in a beer garden or bellied-up to a bar, or at home researching my next adventure!

Some of my favorite travel destinations on earth are:
Sydney, Victoria Falls, Cape Town, Florence, NYC Of all my holidays, my favorite experience was: It’s a toss-up between coming face-to-face with a wallaby on a quiet trail in the Blue Mountains, and seeing my first leopard on safari in South Africa. Both were AMAZING!

Life without travel is:
Sad, boring, and, in the words of Vizzini from The Princess Bride…inconceivable!

Echo

Echo 3

My favorite place to visit is:
The Montrose Beach Dog Park in Chicago, although I do very much enjoy the Down Under Endeavours office and especially the dog park across the street.

The best thing about being on the Down Under Team is:
I get attention and treats all day long every day and people come to visit me (including some other furry friends)

I fell in love with travel when:
My mom (Corinne) and dad (Doug) took me to Ohio for the first time.

My idea of a dream holiday includes:
Dog treats, chasing rabbits, napping at least 20 hours a day, and lots of belly rubs. It doesn’t matter the location, although the Montrose Beach Dog Park works.

My favorite travel companions are:
My mom, my dad and my pink piggy. I haven’t yet, but it would be fun to travel with Frank the Pug from the Men in Black movie.

I never get in a car without:
My pink neon leash (even though I am afraid of it), my dog treats and my special dog bed.

Recent trips have included:
Ohio and visiting to the Lorman’s Doggy Bed and Breakfast. And I will be heading back to Ohio to see my grandparents.

I’ve figured out that the best way to make a long car ride seem to go faster is to:
Have a very comfortful bed for napping, load up on some dog snacks and watch the cars go by.

When I am not traveling, or at work, you’re likely to find me:
At the dog park, hanging with my best bud Wilson or watching Animal Planet

My dream trips include:
Herding sheep in New Zealand, playing with zebras in South Africa, and although I am a foster dog, people tell me I am half Basenji — a breed of hunting dog that originated in central Africa.

Creating just the right trip for a client requires: Lots of tail wagging and waiting for treats.

I know I’ve nailed it for them when: They pet me and smile…oh, and bring me treats.

It makes my day when: Everyone pets me and gives me treats in the office.

I love my job, because: I get to see my co-workers everyday, my friends visit the office … oh, and I get treats.

Ram Natarajan
Tennis Ambassador

ram-natrajan-tennis-ambassador-900x600

Tennis:

United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Certified Teaching Professional
Professional Tennis Player, ATP (Futures) Tour (1998)
N.A.I.A. Regional Champion (2001)
N.A.I.A. National Qualifier (2001)
NJCAA Academic & Athletic All-American (1997)
Tennis Instructor, Midtown Athletic Club (Willowbrook, IL)
Assistant Varsity Tennis Coach, Downers Grove South High School (IL) (2004-Present)

Miscellaneous:

Managing Partner of a Four Attorney Law Firm in Chicago, IL
Singer in a Jazz Quartet
Avid Golfer