Our People

Jack Dancy – Co-Founder

Jack has more hobbies than fingers and toes. We stopped counting at 20, right after he told us he’d purchased an easel and beret. Good thing he lives in France. For a man so enamoured by cooking with goose fat and garlic it’s odd that he’s so spry. Perhaps it’s the regimen of capoeira, cycling, drumming, dancing, and rock climbing? Or maybe the mental gymnastics of self-taught database development? The only thing we know for sure is that when Jack’s in the room it buzzes with energy.

Jack and our France team are listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s 2019 Top Travel Specialists List, and on Wendy Perrin’s Wow List.

Read Jack’s Sounder posts here.

Greg Sacks – Co-Founder

Greg likes to go native. It can be a problem. When he packs his bags for Africa, you know he’s hoping to spend 3 months with no shoes on. When he heads out on the road, we have to cut off his credit cards after a while to make him come back. He likes to slip the knot. The way Greg travels is the way he goes about the rest of his life—a persuasive mixture of the serious and the playful. He’s grown up a lot from the side-burned sports-car driving runaway from the circus who started Trufflepig on a wing and a prayer. But he hasn’t grown up too much.

Read Greg’s Sounder posts here.

Dan Achber – Planner

It is said that when Dan visited the Silverback gorillas of Rwanda, they immediately embraced him as one of their troop, then groomed him and fed him some bamboo. That’s just an ancient African legend, but we believe it. This man is our very own in-house Bear Grylls… but more menacing. And much taller. He has charged elephants, stared down lions, and (understandably) shrieked like a little girl when a hippo came after his canoe. When the apocalypse eventually comes, he will be the esteemed and courageous leader we follow to safety. And what kind of person would you rather have planning your safari in a strange land?

Dan is listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s 2019 Top Travel Specialists List for Southern Africa.

Read Dan’s Sounder posts here.

Anton Lynch – Planner

Anton has been working in travel since the original formation of the Perito Moreno Glacier. His personal conquests of South America put Magellan to shame, and while it’s Carnival and blue-footed boobies that he knows best, he also has a back pocket (and suitcase) full of other widespread know-how. Traditional Indian flower market? Anton can take you there. Seeking a cliffside break in Big Sur? Just ask Lynch. Volcano walking in Iceland? You should meet Antoniyk Lynchbjornsson. Both humble and sly, our South American specialist is based out of his rainy homeland of London, but he is frequently enticed across the sea by as little as an empanada or two.

Read Anton’s Sounder posts here.

 

Victoria Marsh – Planner

There’s only one person we know who can effectively lasso together a Trip Piglet with one hand, while booking 643 South American hotel arrangements with the other. Known as The Wrangler, Wrangles, and occasionally Wrangledog (said in the most affectionate way possible), Victoria is a Jill-of-all-trades who knows exactly where to find everything in the office, even when it seems lost among Charlie’s junk priceless antiques. All of this is without even mentioning that she’s the super-organized Robin to Anton’s Batman. Robin never gets as much credit as he really deserves.

Read Victoria’s Sounder posts here.

 

Mike Poppe – Planner

Mike’s Swiss ancestry doesn’t remain concealed for long. Between his penchant for chocolate and his skill for keeping all the details running like clockwork, that second passport is no big surprise. What is a surprise (and quite a pleasant one at that) is hiring an Asia Trip Planner who also happens to have a hidden skill for tech support up his sleeve. Mike can tell you the difference between cao lau and banh bao equally as well as between DROM and EPROM. He knows his ao tu than from his sampot chang kben, and his satisfied clients from his… oh wait, that’s right. He doesn’t have any unsatisfied clients. Much like a Swiss army knife, Mike is always there with the tools you need at any given moment. And that makes for some very smooth travelling indeed.

Read Mike’s Sounder posts here.

Sebastian Lapostol – Planner

It stands to reason that the guy who taught James Bond to dance flamenco has a knack for moving. But long before he schooled Pierce Brosnan in  ‘Sevillanas’ (good luck trying those steps at home), Sebastian was finding his feet all over the world. Raised between Colorado and Chile where both of his parents come from, he ditched a post-grad career in academia for a year of guitar playing in Spain. Naturally, this evolved into an enthusiasm for mastering Arabic and several years running a beautiful hotel in the medina of Fez. Cut to a few years travelling in Spain & Portugal, collecting an encyclopaedic knowledge of both countries, and a dangerous penchant for sherry along the way. And now he’s finally (finally?) settled and married in Rabat, Morocco, strumming up brilliant itineraries like the multi-linguist virtuoso that he is.

Sebastian is listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s 2019 Top Travel Specialists List for Morocco, Spain & Portugal.

Read Sebastian’s Sounder posts here.

 

Caitlin Jackson Feet

Caitlin Jackson – Finance Controller

Caitlin (aka CJ) keeps the lights on at Trufflepig. We run hundreds of trips worldwide each year, in dozens of different countries and currencies, and with thousands of suppliers, ranging from private islands in the Seychelles to Giorgios the shepherd in the Epirus mountains (guess which one doesn’t take Amex). And through it all, CJ performs the not inconsiderable miracle work of keeping everything tight, clean, legal, and (hardest of all) presented in a format even we can understand. She may not travel quite as much as some of her colleagues, but she sure can go far down the rabbit hole when spreadsheets are involved. CJ is the one truly irreplaceable person at Trufflepig, and we’re not giving you her email address because we’re scared she’ll get head-hunted by the Mob.

 

 

Angelica Kuwabara – Coordinator

Angelica is the oil that keeps Asia’s gears running like clockwork. With her patchwork background (Japanese, Brazilian and Ukrainian to name a few), she’s perfectly suited for the myriad tasks of booking suites on the Cote d’Azur, overwater villas in Cambodia, and everything in between. Armed with a rapier wit, she’s often quiet for long stretches before casually busting out a joke that has us all in tears. We truly think Angelica has two souls, one ancient and one current. She’s equally comfortable quoting Ramesses or Taylor Swift, and somehow manages to make it all make sense.

Read Angelica’s Sounder posts here.

Yvonne Whitcomb – Planner

Having grown up on the US rodeo circuit and after spending years travelling to exotic locations all over the world, there was simply no chance Yvonne would content herself with vanilla corporate life. And so, almost inevitably, in the late 90’s she traded her cubicle and casual fridays for Africa, and never looked back. She’s done everything from moving horses across the USA in cargo planes to driving damn near every inch of road south of the Sahara, happy sleeping on the side of the road in Malawi or in the plushest safari camps in Botswana, and anything and everywhere in between. It’s safe to say she knows what she’s on about and can connect the dots with a precision and flair that is a marvel to behold. When it comes to planning the perfect safari (or if you have questions about horses) we can think of few better.

Read Yvonne’s Sounder posts here.

Claudia Schwenger – Planner

Most weekends you’ll find Claudia at the cottage in Ontario, planning trips and sweating it out in the wood-fired sauna, which is a bit farther afield from her hometown of Dresden, where Claudia, grew-up behind the Iron Curtain. She’s ever grateful that “pesky wall” fell before her growing desire for travel could cause problems with the Secret Police. We’re extremely grateful too otherwise she may have missed finding her future husband in that Ecuadorian prison, only to follow him to Canada, which ultimately led our favourite German adventurer/philosopher to Trufflepig HQ. Armed with a simple mantra of “travel is freedom,” paired with her weekly tradition of Sausage Wednesdays, her love of cheese and her natural appreciation of efficiency—we’ve one heck of an intrepid trip-planning maestro that the central and eastern European hinterlands deserve. Turns out it’s also the realm Claudia’s always been drawn to in the first place – so yes we agree, “travel is freedom”.

Claudia is listed on Wendy Perrin’s WOW list for Germany and the Netherlands.

Read Claudia’s Sounder posts here.

Meredith Frye – Planner

Meredith has squeezed a great deal into her three-plus-something decades on the earth. After escaping her native Minneapolis, she’s somehow had time to live in Germany, Italy, France and the Dominican Republic – not forgetting Canada of course – and to travel far, far wider than that. She’s not only learnt French, Spanish and Italian (and I mean really learnt them – she can swear and enthuse and cajole and discuss politics and order coffee like a native), but she’s understood that language is only half the battle, so she’s learnt to dance the salsa, the tarantella and the tango. Oh, and she’s raised 3 kids, too. There is that minor detail. Perhaps that’s why she’s so in touch with her inner-child. In fact, she recently wondered if she was ‘too whacky for Trufflepig’. Please. That’ll be the day. We hired Meredith to plan trips in Italy, where a strong sense of playfulness and childlike enthusiasm is hard-wired into the culture. Serious playfulness? Thoughtfully childlike? It’s a winning oxymoron that Meredith has right under control.

Read Meredith’s Sounder posts here.

Jacoline Vinke – Planner

After spending a childhood in the Netherlands plotting her departure for warmer climes from the back of a rain-soaked bicycle on the way to school (and a couple of university degrees), and via a decade-long diversion in Paris working for the OECD, IEA and UNEP, Jacoline finally landed in Greece in 1998, with a toddler, a one-month old baby, a Greek husband, and a determination never to go back to an office job. So began her adventure discovering the best small hotels of Greece, starting with a handwritten list of 10 characterful little places, and growing to three exemplary books, hundreds of hotels and a superb website which makes clear that there are very few stretches of the country’s 13,000km of coastline she’s not checked out. Yes, Jacoline literally wrote the book on it, and we admired her trip planning nous from afar for many years before timing, serendipity and sheer good Greek luck allowed for Trufflepig to entice her in to the fold, to benefit from her superior understanding of and love for her adopted country in all its whim and wonder.

Jacoline is listed on Wendy Perrin’s WOW list for Greece.

Read Jacoline’s Sounder posts here.

Tyler Dillon – Planner

Having a secret crush on your Trufflepig planner is quite normal, especially when your planner is Tyler Dillon. Born & raised in Georgia, engrained with southern charm and charisma to spare, Tyler took to the road like a suckling to the teat. While he has been mostly everywhere, it was Asia that won his heart. Tyler has spent the past decade living, guiding, writing books and planning trips in China, Mongolia, Burma, Bhutan and beyond. Despite his childlike enthusiasm for the world, he is now a celebrated industry veteran, and we are very proud to have him join the Trufflepig team. 

Tyler is listed on Conde Nast Traveller’s 2019 Top Travel Specialists List for Myanmar and Vietnam.

Read Tyler’s Sounder posts here.

David Coyle – General Manager

It’s not easy being the guy who has to get everyone to play by the rules. No one likes the referee. No one likes the prefect. No one likes the traffic warden. But it’s odd. Everyone likes David. Perhaps that’s because he isn’t really any of those things. We might have hired him to help us grow up, but if there’s anyone you can rely on to keep the humour going, it’s Mister Coyle. There was this one time when he even made a joke about insurance (he said it wasn’t important). Indeed, our resident grown-up is actually the only one among us with a bon fide background in stand up comedy. Hashtag aficionado, devotee of the ten-minute tidy, able to breathe the word ‘google doc’ with almost religious awe, and walking hip-hop encyclopaedia, David keeps it real like every single day.

Evan LaRocque – Coordinator

Evan may be the only man in the world who took a job at a travel company because he wanted to stop travelling. After stints living in Zimbabwe and Germany, it was time to come home. But despite his characteristic care and thoughtfulness, Evan nonetheless seemed blind to the irony of his choice of settling down in a company of eternally itchy feet – like going for a nice quiet nap on the backseat of a Cessna. Or maybe he wasn’t… He’s a method man after all – with a love for the detail but an eye for the big picture, as his crazy golf handicap attests. Anyway, while we really do appreciate his disarming maturity and rich life experience, we’re not blind to the fact that his far from ordinary back story betrays a far from run-of-the-mill chap, about whom we discover some new unexpected oddity every time we talk.

Merium Iqbal – Coordinator

It seems Merium’s never more happy than when she’s getting stuff done, a drive we suspect is innate, given her life’s journey (so far) from Pakistan to the UAE, to England and then on to Canada. This same drive we put to great use every day in the execution of our Europe trips, where her attention to detail and precision play ying to the yang of her affability and human touch. Beyond the confines of the Trufflepig farm, she applies a very  human touch volunteering and fund-raising – but it’s not all hard work. She may have left England for snowy Canada, but she brought with her the love of the Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuit, that most British of culinary delights and proof that, in the context of an exotic childhood by anyone’s standards, ultimately it’s contrast that counts. We think if everyone was as open minded, multicultural and multilingual as Merium, it’s hard not to imagine that the world would be a better place.

Marcello Glo – Travel Logistics Supervisor

The path that brought Marcello to Trufflepig is as winding as any, and much to our benefit, he seems to have retained some element of every country along the way. Growing up on the pacific coast of Nicaragua has left a certain surf-side relaxedness and breezy ocean charm to his character; a childhood in his (French) father’s hotel imbued a true sense of service and helpfulness deep into his bones. Highschool in Miami made him (let’s just say it like it is) cool. And multilingual. Studies in rural Quebec made him studious and pensive, while summers with far flung family in Europe completed his comfortable-anywhere chameleon demeanour. Adventures in Malawi  unleashed his inner tarzan, further honed working as an agronomist in Costa Rica and Guatemala – and Marcello remains to this day the only man who’s ever interviewed for work at Trufflepig with the sound of paradise birds and howler monkeys in the background. If ultimately we are destined to be just another chapter in a bigger picture, we’re hoping that what he takes from Trufflepig will be the sense of satisfaction of a job well done, because that’s what he does every day, coordinating our Europe trips.

Michael Eloy – Planner

To begin to understand Michael you need to know three things about him. One is his curiosity – the guy’s desire to learn is overwhelming, and goes some way to explaining the vast number of pastimes and pursuits he’s tilted at in his time (ask him – I don’t have enough space to do the list justice). Like any truly devoted disciple, he’s also a teacher: a licensed instructor in canyoning… a licensed scuba instructor… a chemistry teacher… a cycling guide…) Second is his enthusiasm, which in Michael is a kind of offshoot of his curiosity. Curious about South America, he quit his job, learned Spanish, packed up his bike, and rode the length of Patagonia over a several month odyssey, sending back photos, making friends, and gathering stories that sound like he rode into a different century. But third, less predictable, is his caution and care. Michael doesn’t go anywhere unprepared. He doesn’t do anything that’s not considered. He doesn’t wing it. That said, the options he may be weighing up are generally not the sort of choices most people face in their day: buy a rickety old 2CV, or clamber up an Alp with a drone in his backpack. Whatever he chooses, Michael puts the adventure in planning and the planning in adventure.
Michael is listed on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List for France.

Alexandre Zglinski – Planner

Trufflepig’s full time France office is in Burgundy, but the only true-blood Burgundian on the farm is our own Alex, born and raised in the vineyards, and who even put ‘Burgundian’ on the (long) list of languages he speaks fluently. A problem-solver by nature, and a people-pleaser if ever there was one, young Alex is a likeable collection of self-contradictions, one of them being that he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going. Is he digging deeper and deeper into Burgundy, where he knows everyone from the age of 8 to 80…. Or is he setting his sights far afield, to travel more, live aboard, broaden his horizons ever more. Happily he has enough energy to do both, and then some, and in any case it’s a contradiction that works just great for us, as he combines his traveller’s open mind with his home-town pride to the planning of our France trips.

Belinda Bartlett – Coordinator

Belinda tells us she has no middle dial: it’s either curled up in bed at 9pm with a book or it’s burning down the dance floor til breakfast. A lot of people say they like the outdoors, but Belinda says she’d ‘sell a kidney for a converted Sprinter van’. To hear her describe herself, you get the picture of a lady driven entirely by her passions and with an tinder box enthusiasm ready at any time to catch fire. So much is true. But we don’t think that’s the whole story. After all, we rely on her dogged concentration and application to the task in handling the excruciatingly complex logistics on our Africa trips. And we originally gave her the job because she mentioned mind maps in her interview. That’s right, mind maps. There’s more method to this lady’s madness than she lets on, and that’s no doubt why she fits in so well at Trufflepig.

Joshna Dsouza – Coordinator

If on occasion travel takes a certain sort of courage, moving continents and cultures for good takes true bravery. Joshna has both in plentiful supply. Growing up in Mumbai, her stories of moving to Canada are stories of having to learn entirely new codes and conducts… sometimes getting it wrong… but always trying again. Here at Trufflepig she was thrown in the deep end on day 1 and quickly figured things out, until pretty soon we realised she was doing the work of two people. Collector of vinyl, photography enthusiast, live music junkie, Joshna has a certain old-soul aspect to her.

Nancy Towns – Planner

Talk to anyone who’s worked with Nancy before and you’ll get a sigh of nostalgia – because this lady brings a depth of soul to her work that’s sheer pleasure to be involved with. Her tastes and choices and hobbies and history make up a marvellous menagerie that can be best described with one word: character. We suspect Nancy is that person in the lone car whizzing along the highway north when all the southward lanes are blocked with traffic. And she’ll have some good music blasting. A short time in Nancy’s presence and you don’t get the impression she worries much about following the crowd. Unless there are crowds that grew up in Douro (rural Ontario) before moving to Douru (Portugal) by way of the Andes and the plains of Spain. Unless there are crowds whose favourite pastimes are ice-skating and cross-country skiing, who love owls and hummingbirds, and who have to weigh up their desire to look after their garden with their desire to explore some as-yet uncharted and unpronounceable part of Patagonia. Hidden quirk is kind of a thing at Trufflepig, and our favourite sort of hidden quirk is the type that’s not that hidden.

Luisa Grigoletto – Planner

Luisa’s CV was so perfect for her role as Italy planner for Trufflepig that we assumed it was a hoax. Happily for us, it was not, and even more happily for us, it was barely half the picture. She didn’t mention, for example, her past as a singer in a punk band (far more useful for her current role than most university degrees). Nor did she deign to share with us her culinary abilities, although we should have guessed. Luisa as far as we’re concerned is the girl who literally wrote the book on the subject – her book on undiscovered nooks and crannies of Rome is one we love and share with clients (because she won’t). She’s also, which is perhaps even more to our taste, the girl who didn’t write the book on the subject; when the publishers asked her to write the same book on Venice, she declined, preferring to keep her favourite places undiscovered. Luisa embodies that Trufflepig planner OCD oddity: she’ll read the rule book, 4 times, then memorise it, and then do things entirely her way.