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Asia Transpacific Journeys

Meet Our Asia Travel Team

Dedicated to excellence in travel to Asia

We're an owner-managed small company and a team of experts with a passion for our region of the world. The exceptional quality of service that defines Asia Transpacific Journeys is a direct reflection of the knowledgeable, experienced, committed people who work here.

Along with our Asia Travel Specialists, we believe that travel propels us outside of ourselves, beyond our previous understandings, to embrace new ways of imagining, new ways of seeing. Contact them when you are ready to Journey Beyond the Ordinary™.

Marilyn Downing Staff, Founder

It was Marilyn's boundless enthusiasm for Asia that brought Asia Transpacific Journeys to life over two decades ago. After earning degrees in environmental biology and sociology, Marilyn set off on to travel the world, landing in Thailand where the dream of starting Asia Transpacific Journeys first took shape.

She is the veteran of far-flung adventures that span three decades and the most remote corners of the region, fueled by an abiding love of trekking and traditional tribal cultures. An accomplished photographer and engaging speaker, she's a frequent expert lecturer at museums, universities and conferences.


Donna Galland, Chief Financial Officer

Donna displayed a knack for numbers early on, which was honed with a B.S Degree in Accounting from CU – Boulder. She crunched digits for Moguls Mountain Travel as Controller and at a Boulder law firm as Financial Manager before seizing the accounting reigns at Asia Transpacific Journeys. She has her brown belt in Thai kickboxing, so keep your hands out of the till.

Heather Crouch, Accounting Assistant

Heather was born under the shadow of a giant Paul Bunyan statue in Brainerd, Minnesota. Her early journeys took her to San Diego where she earned a B.S. in Finance and met her future husband in a class studying multi-variable calculus.

Although she hasn't traveled the world as extensively as some of her colleagues, Heather looks forward to visiting some of the beautiful and exotic destinations frequented by many happy Asia Transpacific clients. She is an avid runner, and recently completed two marathons, including the New York City Marathon. In winter you'll find her on a quest for champagne powder in the Colorado Rockies.

Jessica Durham

Jessica Durham, Accounting Assistant

After growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Jessica embarked on her first travel adventure by heeding the call of the West and moving to Boulder. Here her love of the outdoors flourished. She can regularly be found hiking, biking and snowboarding in the local mountains, when she’s not checking off new states on her extensive travels around the US.

Jessica discovered her natural affinity for numbers managing restaurants and is excited to put her skills to use in the accounting department at Asia Transpacific Journeys. Inspired by her colleagues' tales of the Asia/Pacific region, in the future she hopes to direct her penchant for travel eastward with a snowboarding trip to the peaks of New Zealand and Japan.

Airline Travel

Janene Digregorio, CTIE, Air Travel Manager

Janene has been in the travel business for over 25 years. She's a Colorado native whose travels have taken her to far-flung places throughout Europe, Central America, South America and Africa.

Cherished memories include awakening at dawn in Botswana to find a wild elephant walking out of the jungle towards her. When not exploring she may be found cooking for friends and family and hiking around the Flatirons.


Jennifer Raines, Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Jennifer's fascination with foreign cultures, both old and new, led her to study Anthropology and Latin, earning an honors degree from the University of Colorado. After getting hooked on the ex-pat lifestyle while living in Rome, Jennifer ventured eastward, settling in Bulgaria to conduct archaeological research.

Jennifer is now enthusiastically tackling the fascinatingly diverse cultures and histories of Asia and focusing on finding creative ways to share the wonder of Asia with fellow travelers. When she's not dreaming up her next trip, Jennifer can be found cooking, hiking, learning new languages and indulging in juicy armchair travel books.

Gina Stack, Senior Graphic Designer

Gina's first trip abroad was a six-month stay in Florence, Paris and the French Riviera when she was 10 years old. That exposure to the art of the Renaissance made a lasting impression, inspiring a lifelong passion for art and design. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BA in Graphic Design and spent 15 years as an Art Director in NYC.

Another of Gina's lifelong interests, Eastern philosophy and holistic health, led her to persue a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and relocate to Boulder, Colorado. Asia Transpacific Journeys has provided Gina with a perfect fusion of these two divergent passions and has reinvigorated her love of Asia. She looks forward to future travels eastward with her husband and two boys.


Kirsten Louy-Nasty, Chief Executive Officer

Kirsten grew up in our nation's capital, dreaming of places far and away. She landed in Papua New Guinea to participate in a grassroots organization studying women and small businesses. Kirsten created and received the first Cultural Studies Bachelor of Arts at Keene State College in New Hampshire. Her travels have taken her throughout four continents.

Simone Farbus, CTC, CTIE, Director of Operations

Simone's varied travel career began in the late 70's enabling her to live and work on several continents, eventually settling in the Rocky Mountains. A chance phone call, 24 years ago, led her to join the ATJ team. She finds it hard to choose a favorite destination and says it is the unscripted, magical moments and warm-hearted people that make travel in Asia so special.

Jan Bachmann, Project Coordinator

Jan’s introduction to Asia began with a 4-month world trip with her brother visiting Thailand and India in 1983. Upon returning to the U.S., she attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel HIll, earning a graduate degree in library science.

After a short stint at the University of New Mexico, she moved to Switzerland and worked at the Hauptbibliothek Universitaet Zurich-Irchel for over 12 years. During these years abroad, she travelled extensively throughout Asia – Indonesia, the Philippines, and most recently to Nepal, where she trekked to the Annapurna base camp. Currently she is happily settled in Boulder where she enjoys hiking with her 9 year old daughter and commuting to work via bike.

Trip Coordinators

Lesa Clarkson, Trip Coordinator

Lesa circumnavigated the globe during a semester in college, and earned a degree in International Business from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She then spent two years in Japan working for the Ministry of Education.

Extensive journeys throughout Asia followed, including two stints in Bhutan. Her first-hand knowledge of the region makes her a superb resource when crafting trips.

James Doolittle, Trip Coordinator

James’ wanderlust began at a young age crisscrossing North America in the backseat of his parents’ station wagon.  A year long collegiate study abroad experience in Spain opened his eyes to a world beyond what he had known and inspired him to seek out authentic cultural experiences around the globe.

He has lived in Europe and South America and his adventures have taken him to twenty-eight countries on four continents.  James holds honors degrees in Communication and Spanish from the University of Minnesota.

Julie Getzel, Trip Coordinator

A high school class trip to Europe unleashed Julie's adventurous spirit for the first time. After studying in Siena, Italy, backpacking through Eastern Europe and working in London, her wanderlust led her to Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia where she fell in love with the region. Having found her perfect career in travel, Julie has been with Asia Transpacific Journeys for over 10 years and counts India, Uzbekistan and China among her latest adventures.

Despite her love of travel, Julie is also deeply connected to her southern roots and is a devoted Tar Heel from her days spent studying International Studies at Italian University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. When Julie isn’t daydreaming of living abroad, she can be found hiking and skiing with her husband and two children in the Colorado mountains.

Tamara Grivicic, Trip Coordinator

A native of Croatia, Tamara is now a Boulderite through and through. After receiving an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of California at Davis, where she garnered multiple academic awards and scholarships, Tamara found herself drawn to the health and environmentally conscious culture of Boulder.

In her off time, you can find Tamara practicing yoga and Pilates, biking around town, cooking up healthy meals, getting involved in community development projects and, of course, traveling.

Ginger Nix, Trip Coordinator

Ginger grew up in Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, fond of creole cuisine and the region’s rich cultural landscape. As newlyweds, she and her husband moved to Washington D.C. where Ginger’s sense of adventure was sated by visiting the city’s numerous museums and landmarks—at least until she and her family decided it was time to "go west" and moved to Colorado.

Ginger brings to Asia Transpacific Journeys her many years of experience in the hospitality industry and an innate knack for making travel arrangements seem effortless. She’s eager to expand her knowledge of the cultures of Asia and the Pacific and to embrace the next adventure on the horizon.

Max Smith, Trip Coordinator

Exploration for Max began on the hill behind his house, building forts and climbing trees. He has since traveled to places as far afield as Spain and China, as well as to less coveted destinations closer to home, working in lumberyards and kitchens.

Books were Max's preferred mode of discovery while earning his degrees in English Literature and History from the University of Colorado. But now, as part of the Asia Transpacific Journeys team, Max fuels his desire to learn by delving into the wealth of knowledge and new horizons available to him. When he’s not at work, Max can be found skiing the nearby mountains or catching a flight to somewhere far way. He's also a casual climber, gamer, writer and moviegoer.

Jitka Siguenza, Trip Coordinator

Having grown up in Prague, Czech Republic, to parents working in the airline industry, travel has always been in Jitka's blood. Her wanderlust has propelled her throughout Europe, Africa, Central America and Asia, where she fell in love with the rich culture and warm people. After earning her BA from Long Beach State University, Jitka ventured back to her favorite corner of the world on several multi-month trips around Southeast Asia and India, doing everything from volunteering at an orphanage to running a beach bar.

Jitka is equally excitied to explore Colorado, her second home. When she's dreaming up her next international adventure, she can be found camping, hiking and snowshoeing in the local mountains.

Final Documents Team

Cory Smith, Final Documents Coordinator

Cory grew up traveling throughout Central America, South America and Europe, volunteering and immersing herself in foreign languages and cultures. Her cultural curiosity inspired Cory to study Anthropology and Art History at The College of Wooster, Ohio and to study abroad in Rome, Italy. After a stint coordinating culinary vacations at a Chicago-based tour operator, Cory is excited to reconnect with her Colorado roots and to begin exploring Asia and the Pacific.

When she’s not checking new destinations off her bucket list, Cory can be found indulging in culinary explorations in and out of her kitchen, hiking in Colorado foothills or enjoying a good book.