Planning Team

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.

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 Traveler’s Top Travel Specialists List for Southern Africa.

Joined Trufflepig: February 2009

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.

Joined Trufflepig: September 2010

Read Anton’s Sounder posts here.

 

Victoria Marsh – Planner

Trufflepig is a small organisation, but I’d not be surprised to learn there are people at Trufflepig who don’t even know this planner’s real name, and that’s because never was a nickname so thoroughly and totally inhabited than by Victoria, aka The Wrangler, or Wrangles for short. She is the first true Trufflepig lifer: she joined us over a decade ago on a summer posting, and through sheer capability, drive, intelligence, good humour, and can-do-muck-in-get-er-done wrangling, has made her way elegantly and inevitably to the top of the tree as our trusted Latin America planner. The epitome of the maxim ‘never hire someone who couldn’t run the company’, Victoria is quite simply someone you want on your team not only for the winning but even more for the taking part.

Joined Trufflepig: February 2012

Read Victoria’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 Traveler’s Travel Specialists List for Morocco, Spain & Portugal.

Joined Trufflepig: December 2012

Read Sebastian’s Sounder posts here.

 

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.

Joined Trufflepig: April 2013

 

 

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.

Joined Trufflepig: August 2014

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 Conde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists list for Germany, and on Wendy Perrin’s WOW list for Germany and the Netherlands.

Joined Trufflepig: January 2015

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. As you can probably tell, Meredith is a grown-up very much 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.

Joined Trufflepig: April 2016

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 Conde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists list, and on Wendy Perrin’s WOW list for Greece.

Joined Trufflepig: October 2016

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 Top Travel Specialists List for Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Mongolia & Bhutan.

Joined Trufflepig: January 2017

Read Tyler’s Sounder posts here.

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.

Joined Trufflepig: November 2017

Michael Eloy – Planner

To begin to understand Michael you need to know three things about him. One is his curiosity – Michael is a life-long learner, and 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 Conde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists list, and on Wendy Perrin’s WOW List for France.

Joined Trufflepig: April 2018

Read Michael’s Sounder articles here.

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.

Alex is listed on Wendy Perrin’s WOW list for France.

Joined Trufflepig: April 2018

Read Alex’ Sounder articles here.

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 walks the walk and talks the talk – 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.

Luisa is listed on Conde Nast Traveler’s Travel Specialists list for Italy.

Joined Trufflepig: February 2019

Read Luisa’s Sounder posts here.

Alessia Cosentino – Coordinator

Alessia is an MVP in a team full of MVPs, quietly kicking ass day by day by day by day. They say you can tell someone’s character by how they treat children and animals, and by this method Alessia’s kindness and fairness shines through, practised no doubt during her time working at the Humane Society. But the way she treats the wilder member of our planning team shows a different more ruthless side. Mistakes you’ve been warned, Alessia will hunt you down. Hoof out of line? Beware the withering glance of a natural stickler for detail. Alessia’s judgment is as sound as her kindness is genuine which makes for a truly invaluable team player in a game which is never played the same way twice.

Joined Trufflepig: July 2019

Read Alessia’s Sounder posts here.

Anthony Weersing – Planner

Expats and vagabonds. There is often something unique in the way they see the world, a lifelong cultivation of freedom and curiosity that makes them extraordinary translators of culture, and by extension magnificent trip planners. We tend to collect them here at Trufflepig, and Anthony is no exception. Anthony’s Vietnamese mother moved to the US in the 60’s, where he was then born and raised, moving between California, Oregon and Hawaii. After studying poli-sci and urban planning, Anthony went on to spend 11 years in Japan, 6 years in Hawaii, numerous summers in New Brunswick, numerous winters on the island of Mustique, and now calls Vancouver Island home. During this time he organised and guided walking trips in Japan, edited a travel magazine in New Zealand, managed a rafting company in Kathmandu, and was a regular contributor to the Lonely Planet guides. A lover of maps, hidden stories and forgotten corners, Anthony brings great soul to his work. His trips tend to zoom in on the makers and storytellers who provide connection on a human scale, then zoom out to explore broad global themes. Just how we like it.

Joined Trufflepig: April 2021

Read Anthony’s Sounder articles here.

Stephanie Stanfield – Facilitator

How on earth did Trufflepig get by before Stef? We managed okay somehow for 18 years, but now we can’t go 18 minutes without her. Stef’s role at Trufflepig is to make sure that human considerations are kept front of mind even as we concentrate on operational efficiencies and logistics. She’s our Planner Whisperer. And boy is she good at it. It’ll be another couple of thousand years before AI has anything like this kind of emotional intelligence (or addiction to coffee). A side hustle as an illustrator, yoga teacher and podcaster completes the picture of someone whose curiosity and innate ability to nurture strong connections make her right at home on the Trufflepig farm.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

Juliet Cameron – Coordinator

Julieta aka Juliet aka Jules is a person of contrasts and contradictions. Someone more down to earth you’re unlikely to meet; someone with more off-the-wall quirk, neither. Handling the logistics of our Europe trips from Sweden to the Sahara, her wide-ranging backstory sure comes in helpful: raised in Argentina, educated in England, married in France, we think she probably dreams in 9 languages, if she ever gets time to sleep that is. Jules has worked in travel across the globe, and we count ourselves lucky to enticed her to Trufflepig. But it wasn’t her stellar CV that got her the job; it was because when we did out background checks on her, she was described to us by a colleague as ‘the kindest person they’d ever met’.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

Hannah Lind – Coordinator

Hannah brings the same diligence and care to her work on Trufflepig’s Asia trips as she does to making sure everyone in the room is comfortable, as she does to our in-house design work, as she does to her many extra curricular artistic endeavours. You know the saying: show me how you do one thing, and I’ll show you how you do everything. For Hannah, the feel is as important as the fact, and that shows in the finish and the follow through she brings to her work. Since she joined, to take but one example, our t-shirts have gotten really, and I mean really, swanky, but that’s to downplay the much broader impact which her smiling professionalism brings to our team.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

Read Hannah’s Sounder posts here.

Laís Furtado – Coordinator/Planner

Living in Paris and working on our Brazil trips, you’d be excused for thinking Laís has the best job in the world. She’s certainly pretty happy about life. Joining Trufflepig after a long working relationship with us from within a partner company in her native Brazil, Laís did nonetheless use the word ‘joy’ more times in her job interview than we hear in an average month. And as expected, she has brought with her a contagious love for her home country which shows through in her writing and planning. The contrast with the seriousness and rigour she brings to her operational work is… joyful.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

Read Laís’s Sounder posts here.

Lucia Duarte – Coordinator

Lucia’s maxim during the first year of her Trufflepig tenure was ‘tread softly and wear a big smile’. That was probably less about adjusting to life in Canada from her native Argentina than simply because she’s a discreet and attentive person by nature. But now with a role that requires wrangling detail (and keeping our planners in line) from Kobe to Cape Town, she can no longer afford to tread so softly – and yet the big smile seems only to have broadened as she’s filled the boots of a bona fide trip planning trooper. We’re not fooled into thinking she’s all sweetness and light, however: the last person to stand up to her around a foosball table barely lived to tell the tale. And let me tell you, her empanada recipe is seriously good.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

Katrina Lee – Coordinator

Katrina jumped ship into the travel trade from the film-making world by way of the landscape gardening business. Eh? The through line is an organisational rigour combined with a certain gluttony for punishment: she’s a natural control freak who seems to be attracted to industries where details refuse to be detailed, rules exist to be broken, and no two clambering plants ever clamber the same way. That’s a good thing, because our trips and planners are more triffid than shrinking violet, but Katrina has them trained to the guide-ropes of careful process and the stakes of tight organisation. Wielding a giant camera and a giant-er smile, Katrina is a traveller in her own right and brings a professional but personal touch to her work on our Italy trips.

Joined Trufflepig: March 2022

John Lansdell – Planner

John is the mensch of Trufflepig, the good bloke, the friendly fella. Is it the slight hint in his English accent of a west country burr? The ready laugh, the sense of humour that’s sweet but also slightly sharp like a pint of Somerset cider? I think it’s the fact that he seems like he’s up for anything, which is perhaps the can-do approach to life that’s seen him ramble across 65 borders on 5 (or was it 6) continents, and collect more life experience along the way than Tintin. I have a feeling he’s ridden more camels than I’ve had birthday cakes. John’s the guy at Trufflepig who helps with the truly blank slate trip requests, because when you have no idea where to start, benefitting from his million miles around the globe is the best way to do so.

Joined Trufflepig: June 2022

Read John’s Sounder posts here.

Emilie Bell-Perrais – Coordinator

In her first year at Trufflepig, Emilie moved from Provence, to Toronto, to Beaune and back to Provence, in a migratory pattern that seems to express how she’s spent her entire life: on the move, living in more places than we can count, wielding multiple passports, and apparently at home anywhere she unpacks her bag. Her thought processes could be described the same way. She’ll jump from topic to topic with gazelle-like ease, plunge deep into arcane pop culture, point out the inconsistencies of your position on political theory, elevate a conversation about booking restos to one about environmental anarchy, or ask you with genuine interest whether you prefer melted camembert or sliced comté. She keeps us all on our toes, but none more so than the planners whom she quarterbacks in delivering our France trips.

Joined Trufflepig: September 2022

Habiba Eldah – Coordinator

Habiba is many things at Trufflepig. Quiet and retiring are not among them, and we like that. She’s a presence in our tight knit group, and that’s because Habiba’s someone who lives to connect. She’ll do so by laughing – heartily and properly. She’ll do so by challenging – if John is your favourite Beatle, well you’re just wrong on that. She’ll do so by asking questions – searching and wide-ranging questions, the sort that express a very energised mind. She’ll do so by sharing ideas and thoughts and impressions and albums and preferences and playlists and stories and … you get the picture. All this means that in a relatively short tenure at Trufflepig, Habiba’s personality has made it hard to imagine the company without her because she’s one of the world’s true-born givers.

Joined Trufflepig: September 2022

Noah Walker – Coordinator

When we were searching for someone to wrangle the details on our complex African safaris, you might have thought that electronic music festivals would be the last place we’d look, but that’s where we found Noah, high-vis gear and all, along with the hard-working problem-solving outlook on life that’s serving him so well in his current role. We had to persuade him to abandon his plans to move to France and play for the national soccer team, but we were able to convince him that witnessing the great migration, trekking with primates, and hang-gliding in Cape Town were dreams which would prove perhaps easier to fulfil.

Joined Trufflepig: September 2022

Erik Corneau – Coordinator

Erik may be the only person I’ve ever known in an interview to stately quite calmly that he enjoys a bit of repetitive data entry work; and he said it to the right person, because I also find those rhythms rather calming and pleasant. We bonded. That he then went on to give a 5 minute perfect presentation of our Hoofprint project and goals in a way that will make him our TED talk candidate when the time comes, was both surprising but also true to character. We enjoy Erik’s quiet efficiency in the office, but we’re not fooled by it into thinking he’s anything less than one of those rare double threats who relishes the little details but also sees the big picture.

Joined Trufflepig: September 2022

Joe Perez – Operations Manager

Joe’s path to our door circled the globe, several times, from his birth place in India, to our office in Toronto. You could say something similar about many people working in travel. But you could work in tourism for 500 years and never cross Joe’s migratory path. Because, rather than trying out fancy restaurants in Rome and inspecting fine hotels in the Seychelles, Joe cut his teeth on the high seas, working in the merchant navy. While others were comparing comfy pillows and airline seats, Joe was haggling with Chinese customs officials, getting colleagues out of jail in Panama, and scanning the horizon from the poop deck of the largest ships ever built. What better man to tackle the operations of a company that never runs into the same problem twice. Joe brings the unique combined skillset of smiling demeanour, analytical mindset, and backstreet deal-maker to his role as Operations Manager.