Meet our Team!
Charley retired from most of his European Experiences responsibilities at the end of 2019 to spend more time at home in the USA pursuing other projects and interests. He continues to support Kathy behind the scenes and handle special projects, and he also co-leads the Cornwall Experience and the Luberon and European Christmas Experience trips.
Kathy is still the primary leader for most of our European Experiences trips, but we’re delighted that Jennifer Dugdale joined us in 2022 to develop and lead several new trips for us. Kathy and Jennifer worked closely together in 2020 and 2021 as we prepared to re-launch our tours. Jennifer’s involvement enabled us to offer Experience trips in new destinations and to offer some all-women tours again.
We’ve assembled an outstanding group of co-leaders to work with Kathy on our other trips, all people we’ve gotten to know well. You will enjoy spending a week with them! They each bring special experience and passion, and we’re confident their involvement will make our trips even better.
(Oh Oh Photographie)
| Jennifer Dugdale
Leader - Mediterranean Provence Experience, Riviera Hillsides Experience, Paris Experience, Inside Bath, Inside Paris
Jennifer joined our team in the “pandemic year” of 2020 and is known to many of our travelers through the excellent Virtual European Experiences she presented in 2020 and 2021. Jennifer developed and led several new tours for us in 2022.
Originally from California, Jennifer has a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of California – Berkeley. Growing up with a French grandmother, her parents travelled to France every year and brought back tales of Michelin starred restaurants and family-owned wineries. It’s no surprise she ended up following a career in group tourism and incentive travel. Jennifer has traveled extensively around the world. While raising her family, she lived in England, The Middle East and France, and has made her home in Provence now for 15 years. She founded the leading gourmet walking tour in Aix-en-Provence and started a similar business in Bath, England. She also started and managed a small group tour business for a media company focused on France, including tours for women.
Jennifer is especially passionate about food and wine; she has a special certification as a wine professional and has worked in a wine chateau. She is fluent in French.
Special Projects / Co-Leader – Périgord Experience, Alsace Experience, Normandy Experience
Our daughter Kelly grew up with our company and has been actively involved with European Experiences since its start in 2006. After joining several early European Experiences groups, Kelly co-led two Luberon trips with Charley in 2014 and was a key part of our research team for the Cotswolds, Périgord and Alsace trips. She handles a variety of special projects for European Experiences. She and Kathy have worked together to research our new Normandy Experience trip, and she's also be the co-leader for that trip.
Kelly received her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Chicago and joint Masters’ degrees in International/World History from Columbia University and the London School of Economics. She’s currently a fifth year PhD candidate at New York University, studying Modern European and French History. Beginning at a very young age, Kelly has extensive experience living, traveling, studying, and researching in France and other European countries, including a year in London for her master’s program. She's been living in Paris for her dissertation research since January 2021. Her master’s thesis focused on issues relating to the re-integration of Alsace into France after World War II. (She's also a really fun person to be around!)
Fluent in French, Kelly attended the elementary school in Bonnieux when her family lived in Provence in 2004-2005. She's also studied Italian and German.
Co-Leader - Luberon Experience
Christian was born and raised near Leipzig in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). During his time in the military, he was involved in two peace keeping missions in Sarajevo and Prizren/Kosovo. Later he moved to Canada where he met his Canadian wife, Kim. Inspired by the movie "A Good Year," they relocated to the Luberon in 2007, where Christian now owns an estate management and holiday rentals business.
He loves the Luberon at all times of year, especially in the spring and autumn when we welcome our Luberon Experience groups. He shares his passions for photography and the Luberon through his Instagram page, Living in Provence.
Christian is fluent in German, French and English and also speaks some Russian. He and Kim live east of Apt in the beautiful village of Viens.
Co-Leader - Luberon Experience
Born and raised in the Loire region of France, Gina has traveled extensively worldwide. While visiting in Canada, she met and married an English-speaking Canadian, and ended up living in Canada and the USA for 22 years (Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Diego). She's also lived in the UK.
Gina graduated from Southampton University (UK) in Counseling and has a Master’s in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University in Canada. She had a 30+ year career working in training and personal development. In 2012 Gina returned to France and settled in the beautiful Luberon area of Provence. She and her husband bought a historic 18th-century house in Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt, where she ran a B&B and explored the Luberon. She taught French for a local language school, while continuing to work in consulting and training. (She was Kathy’s French teacher!)
Gina usually joins our Luberon Experience groups for several experiences during the week.
In addition to her native French, she is fluent in English and dabbles in Italian. Gina has one daughter who lives in Switzerland.
|Arianna Cini and Alessio Di Genova
Co-Leaders - Chianti Experience
Arianna grew up near the village of San Donato in the Chianti region, and is passionate about the Chianti region, its people, and its traditions. She studied abroad in Russia and Australia, and graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature. In addition to Italian, Arianna speaks English, Russian, and French. Arianna began her career working in international business, including wine exporting.
Alessio, Arianna’s husband and business partner, is a qualified sommelier. He graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in Agricultural, Food and Agri-environmental Sciences. After six years working as a pastry chef in Bologna, he graduated as an official Sommelier at AIS (Association Italian Sommelier, the Italian Association of Sommeliers). Alessio was born in Abruzzo, in northeastern Tuscany, but he and Arianna now live in San Casciano, hilltop Chianti town.
In 2014 Arianna and Alessio started an innovative boutique travel business focused on Chianti, and met us soon after. We shared a common philosophy of travel—and many of the same Chianti friends—and were excited to begin collaborating together in 2018 to enhance our Chianti Experience trips. Arianna has presented several of our Virtual European Experiences in 2020 and 2021.
Co-Leader - Cotswolds Experience
We met Susan in Provence in 2013 when she and her mom Dixie joined us for The Luberon Experience. She’s now been a participant on eight European Experiences trips, so she definitely understands what our trips are all about! In 2022 she also co-led four Cotswolds trips with Kathy.
Originally from Miles City, Montana, Susan has a BS in Computer Science from Montana State University and worked for 10 years at Microsoft as a program manager. She’s been active in volunteer work, at her children’s schools and now serves as a docent at the Seattle Art Museum.
Susan’s first trip to Europe was a backpacking trip after college; since then she’s returned to Europe many times. She’s enjoyed solo trips, trips with family and friends, and trips with her mother. In the fall of 2018 Susan joined Kathy and Tommaso Perrone to research our new Puglia Experience trip. England is her favorite country and she’s explored many areas. She loves the Cotswolds and has traveled there several times, including walking the 100-mile Cotswold Way in 2013.
Susan is married and lives in Redmond, Washington. Her son and daughter are now both in college.
Co-leader - Puglia Experience
A native of Puglia, Tommaso worked with us to develop The Puglia Experience and now handles many of the arrangements for this trip, drawing on his extensive experience and relationships in the region. He joins Kathy as one of the co-leaders for our Puglia trips, and his knowledge and good humor add so much to our groups. We met Tommaso at a travel show in New York in early 2018 and were captivated by his stories and photos of Puglia. In October/November Kathy and Susan Tseng (a veteran of five European Experiences trips) spent 10 intense days with him exploring Puglia and planning this trip.
After an academic career, for the past five years Tommaso has focused on tourism in Puglia. He launched a small travel company and has been a leader in increasing the visibility of the region. He is passionate about Puglia and the culture, history, food, wine, art, and ideas of this very special part of Italy.
Tommaso has two PhDs in philosophy, from the University of Salento and the University of Munich. He was an invited professor at St. John’s University in New York City for one year. In addition to his native Italian, he’s fluent in English and German. Tommaso lives with his wife and young daughter in Lecce.
Co-leader - Cotswolds Walking Week
Andrew joined us in 2022 as co-leader for our Cotswolds Walking Week, also supporting the research and logistics for this special week. Andrew and his wife Elizabeth own Cotswold Walks, the leading provider of customized self-guided and guided walking trips in the Cotswolds. The company was founded in 1993.
Originally from the town of Andover in Hampshire, Andrew lived and worked in Hong Kong for several years. He was a tour leader for an international adventure travel company for five years before getting involved with and investing in Cotswold Walks 2007. Andrew and Elizabeth have owned Cotswold Walks since 2011 and organize walking trips for about 1,500 travelers a year.
The Guppys live in the Cotswolds and are avid walkers, often walking the routes with their dog Indie. We first met Andrew in 2013, when he organized our 100-mile walk on the Cotswold Way, and we were delighted to invite him to join us as a fellow member of Slow Travel Tours in 2020.
|Jenny Lamattina and Jonathan Hawley
Co-leaders - Luberon Walking Week
Jenny Lamattina and Jonathan Hawley live part of the year in Bonnieux in Provence (the village where our Luberon Experience week is based), and the rest in Australia or traveling the world. They lived in Paris for two years, have been spending time in Provence since 2014, and recently completed the renovation of a beautiful village house in Bonnieux. They holiday rent and swap their houses in Bonnieux and Melbourne.
A dual citizen of Australia and Italy, Jenny has degrees in law and commerce from the University of Melbourne. After practicing law, she pursued an entrepreneurial career which saw her publish travel guide books for more than 15 years and renovate properties in Australia and France. She's now enjoying being a holiday rental house operator and worldwide traveler. Almost fluent in French, she’s a welcoming host and is very passionate about food, wine and, of course, hiking.
Jonathan has always had a love of the outdoors after studying geology at the University of Melbourne. However, his passion led him to be one of Australia's foremost automotive journalists with a side hustle in architectural and travel photography. Jonathan is an avid walker, very familiar with the footpaths in the Luberon.... and a great cook and conversationalist too!