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, 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.
Janene Digregorio, Assistant 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.
Kim Mitchell, Manager of Technology and Interactive Marketing
Striking a rare right-brain/left-brain balance, Kim holds an M.S. in Information Systems, a B.S. in Marketing. When she isn't pedaling her way through grueling road bike events, she can be found snowshoeing and Nordic skiing throughout the Rockies.
She's lived in Germany, Argentina and Italy, and traveled through many countries in Asia, in a quest for the perfect plate of Asian cuisine.
Jennifer Raines, Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
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 archaeology research.
After multiple forays deep into the Balkans, Jennifer is now enthusiastically tackling the fascinatingly diverse cultures and histories of Asia. 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.
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, Director of Operations
This year Simone celebrates 18 years as Asia Transpacific Journeys' Travel Agency Manager, marking over 32 years as an international travel agent. Her favorite travels include a visit to Cambodia's Angkor Wat, a sunrise climb to the top of volcanic Mount Bromo, Indonesia, a camel caravan in Morocco, bazaar browsing in Cairo, and viewing the Taj Mahal at sunset.
Simone delights in getting you the best fares to our corner of the world so you can create memories of your own.
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.
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.
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.
Jordan Smith, Trip Coordinator
A native North Carolinian, Jordan knew from an early age that she wanted to spend a great deal of time abroad. During her senior year at James Madison University, she finally got that chance and spent a semester in London, absorbing the history and arts of that metropolitan city and much of Europe as well.
Upon returning to Virginia, she completed her Bachelor's degrees in English Literature and Dance. With her travel bug still piqued, she then spent a year living in Australia and took some time to travel through much of South East Asia before returning to the States. Now a Colorado resident, Jordan can be found racing down the slopes, exploring new trails with her puppy or planning her next big adventure.
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.
Final Documents Team
Liz Manley, Documents Coordinator
Born in South Korea, Liz was adopted and raised near Boulder, Colorado where she grew up with a love for skiing and the Rocky Mountains. During and shortly after high school, she discovered her love of travel and enjoyed visits to Egypt, Australia, western Europe, Costa Rica and southeast Asia.
After receiving her Bachelor's in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Liz decided to pursue her dream of becoming a scuba diving instructor. This pursuit led her on a four-year-long odyssey living and teaching her way through Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, and Hawaii. As with any good odyssey, Liz has returned to where her journey began and spends most of her free time debating where to visit next.
Ginger Nix, Documents 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.