Motivated by our own profound life-changing travel experiences, we set out to start a movement. In the fall of 2016, bonded by experience and expertise, we founded the Transformational Travel Council (TTC) to help others transform their lives through travel.
Our personal adventures had an indelible impact on our lives, and while each of our stories is unique, they share a common thread: We were all searching for something bigger. For something better. For meaningful work. For a sense of real purpose in life. For that spark of passion that would light our lives on fire. (In that sense, we are ALL seekers.)
Recently, there has been a shift in awareness: Travel is now being recognized as more than just an escape ... that it can be the catalyst which inspires us to create meaningful changes in our lives and the world in which we live. Our mission is to continue to build and support a community of HEROs to embrace this shift in our quest to create a better life and a better world.
Michael Bennett, Ed.D. | Co-Founder
Michael is a traveler, coach, educator, Brussels sprouts enthusiast, and accidental entrepreneur who founded Muddy Shoe Adventures to help others use travel to bring more purpose, passion, and meaning to their lives. His doctoral dissertation explored transformational learning through adventure travel experiences.
Jake Haupert | Co-Founder
Jake is the founder of award-winning adventure travel company Evergreen Escapes. Recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a 'Top 40 Under 40 Business Leaders in 2014,' Jake is known throughout the industry as an innovator and disruptor with tenacious ambition, an unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit, and genuine personality.
Birgit Mohrmann | Marketing & PR
Birgit joined Ultimate Safaris in 2014 as Sales & Marketing Director. A 4th generation Namibian, she knows first-hand the incredible power that travel has on travelers and the communities they visit. Birgit's infectious enthusiasm and commitment to the preservation of the environment are just part of what make her so special.
Eric Rupp | Business Operations
The Director of Tour Operations at Evergreen Escapes, Eric’s wanderlust, thirst for knowledge, penchant for insight, and deep love of design have resulted in a delightfully abstract resume that includes Directorship of a Bolivian University, missile propulsion design for the Department of Defense, and bartending in Greece.
Don Mankin, Ph.D. | Co-Founder
Don is an intrepid explorer and author of the critically acclaimed book Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean. Don’s award-winning travel writing, appearing regularly in the Huffington Post and his Adventure Geezer blog, explores his travels to the far corners of the earth. Don earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University.
Kurt Kutay | Co-Founder
Founder, President & CEO of Wildland Adventures, Kurt is a travel industry pioneer. He has served on many professional boards and conservation organizations including The International Ecotourism Society and the ATTA. Kurt wrote a chapter on adventure travel for Fodor's guide books and has written numerous articles on ecotourism.
Norie Quintos | Media Consultant
Norie is a communications consultant who helps destinations and travel companies find and tell their authentic stories. She is an Editor-at-Large for National Geographic Travel Media, the former executive editor of NatGeo Traveler, and an AdventureEDU educator. She 'grams and tweets @noriecicerone. www.noriequintos.com
Katherine Droga | Advisor
With a strong background in media and destination marketing, Katherine joined Tourism Australia (TA) in 2005 to manage its domestic marketing before heading to Germany in 2008 as TA's Regional GM for Continental Europe. She recently returned to Australia, where she is now the General Manager of Global Partnership Development.
Brian T. Mullis | Advisor
Brian is an advisor, guide, and social entrepreneur working at the intersection of sustainable development, conservation, and tourism. As Founder and former CEO of Sustainable Travel International, Brian has helped advance sustainability within the travel and tourism sector. Other past leadership positions include the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board for the Department of Commerce and the World Economic Forum's Future of Travel and Tourism Council.
Gordon Hempton | Advisor
Gordon, known as the Sound Tracker ®, is an acoustic ecologist and Emmy award–winning sound recordist. For 35+ years, his sound portraits have recorded vanishing natural soundscapes. They have been featured in People magazine and a PBS documentary, Vanishing Dawn Chorus. Hempton is subject of a feature film, Soundtracker, and co-author of One Square Inch of Silence: One Man’s Quest to Preserve Quiet. He is Founder and Vice President of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation and Quiet Planet®.
Ambassadors & Advocates
Sean Petersmark | Project Manager
Born and raised in the Midwest, Sean's worldview blew up on a cross-country road trip that ignited a passion in him to explore the world, as well as a commitment to protect it. Now, Sean is responsible for leading special projects for TTC and acting as an ambassador and advocate for TTC in his community and across the world.