Dave Santillo, Lead Guide. Dave has worked in nature his entire professional life. In 2009 he left his career as a biologist working on ecological planning throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Since then he’s concentrated on his passion for adventure travel and writing, and doing volunteer work for nonprofit organizations. He is a Licensed Maine Guide whose specialties are sea kayaking, canoeing, and hiking, and he holds a PhD in Biology. He’s studied birds, mammals and plants, and loves to share his skills and passion for nature with anyone who’ll listen! Priding himself on being an expert at “reading nature and the land,” he challenges himself to help others get more from time spent in nature. Dave has spent almost half of the last 10 years traveling throughout the Americas, immersing himself in other cultures and habitats, and learning passable Spanish as a second language. He writes a blog about mindful travel, nature, and the environment called the Puma Diaries (www.Puma-diaries.com), where he touches upon many of the themes woven into Venture Outside trips.
A Favorite Quote: “I don’t want to lecture people about saving the natural world. I want to share with them the joys of experiencing it.” Edward O. Wilson
Ellie Osborn, Lead Guide. Ellie lived on a sailboat as a kid and did two Atlantic crossings. Because of this upbringing, she is “at home in the world” and loves languages. She speaks Spanish and French and is learning Mandarin. She is a licensed Maine Guide, a geologist, a teacher of 20 years, a multi-instrumentalist, an athlete, a coach, a hoolahooper, a juggler, an environmental advocate and a mother. After teaching science for 12 years, she founded her own music education business, www.LittleMusicMaker.org. She competes in Nordic skiing, 1/2 marathons, and triathlons and holds the bronze medal for the Mountain Biking World Cup. Her favorite jobs were as a teacher naturalist for Audubon and working for Outward Bound, helping to develop and pilot their renowned Expeditionary Learning curriculum.
A Favorite Quote: “The earth has music for those who listen.” George Santayana
Kara Douglas, Yoga Guide and Coordinator. In 1998, in a snowy, high alpine clearing, Kara began practicing yoga. She began teaching regularly in 2003. The power of yoga postures to reveal the subtle underworld of their outwardly physical alignment fascinates her. When teaching, she likes to work with the complimentary practices of Yin and Yang (or receptive and active) yoga, underscoring mobility with stability, clear seeing with calm abiding. Kara did her yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and has studied Yin, Iyengar and Astanga yoga. She has also worked as a science teacher, naturalist and writer with a special love of biology. Wilderness and nature exploration strongly inform her teaching. She has led several yoga and hiking retreats in Mexico, the Carrabassett Valley in Maine, and she has worked closely with the F. Holland Day Foundation for Creativity and Healing. She is the Owner/Founder of Fishmoon Yoga.
A Favorite Quote: “…how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?” – Mary Oliver
Kevin Santillo – Lead Guide in Peru and International Trips Advisor. Kevin has lived and worked in Peru for seven years, and has studied with and apprenticed under numerous traditional Andean and Amazonian shamans. Well versed in all aspects of Andean culture, cosmology, and mysticism, Kevin brings incredible joy and celebration to his journeys. On top of that, he is amazingly good on Andean flute, and music is always a big part of his adventures.
A Favorite Quote: “A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Tom Robbins
Jen Wyatt, Certified Yoga Instructor and Art Teacher. Jen has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and completed her 200 hour training at Back Bay Yoga in Boston. She has a lighthearted and playful style that is accessible to everyone. Her classes have a strong emphasis on mindfulness and alignment, while encouraging curiosity, kindness, self-compassion, and listening to one’s own body. She believes that yoga can be a very powerful form of self-discovery, and that it offers lessons for how to cope and thrive through all of life’s ups and downs. Jen is passionate about combining her love for yoga with travel, nature, and adventure. Growing up in rural New Hampshire, she caught the travel bug early, when she would receive postcards and hear stories from her grandfather’s travels around the world. This led to studying abroad and then working for EF Tours, where she created and sold customized travel itineraries to teachers around the country. Jen became a teacher herself – first a 2nd grade teacher, and now an elementary art teacher and yoga teacher. In her spare time, Jen loves experimenting with healthy cooking, reading and learning as much as possible, seeking new experiences, seeing live music, and creating art.