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Our TEAM

Meet our Founder!

Hey you! I’m Tara — bona fide history nerd, minimalist, lover of seasons, doggos, and stinky French cheeses. I’m also the founder & CEO of The Conscious Travel Collective and I’m SO glad you’re here.

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Travel has been at the core of my experience in this life.  Raised by my fearless single mother in southern California, I spent much of my childhood expanding my backyard through exploring the US and Mexico to start, but truly the most transformative travel experience came with a special summer trip to Brittany, France. At thirteen, I was accompanied by Aline, the French exchange student my mother and I had previously hosted and the experience changed my life.  I flew to France with a friend, and returned home with an extended family that will always have my heart.

It was through this experience that I became passionate about travel, the way it should be.  Like, THIS is what it’s all about — creating genuine connections to destinations, to their people, their history, with nature and with yourself.  It’s the human connections and moments of self-discovery that are the most valuable gift you get to return home with — souvenirs for the soul.

I decided to create trips that take you to amazing places around the world, and introduce you to the people that make it amazing. To facilitate opportunities for them to share their home and heritage with you in a way that honors its traditions and positively impacts the communities, the travelers, and the planet.


Thus, Conscious Travel Collective was born.

Combining my experience from a successful career in the travel industry & education, and certifications in Sustainable Destination Management with my passion for educating people on how sustainable and conscious travel can enrich lives, CTC-designed trips lead with heart to put the community, planet, and connection at the forefront of your experience.  

SO if you’re like me, and you prefer counting friends made across the globe over collecting passport stamps, I invite you to check out our upcoming trips and look forward to connecting with you!

Tara’s Travel Words of Wisdom:

“Skip the capital cities. Seriously. Go for the smaller, non touristy places, and spend your time with locals. Walk the neighborhoods, shop at food markets, mingle with people. Then for sure return to visit the capital city, but not until you have been properly introduced to the culture.  This is a game changer, and my #1 rule!”

Meet Shelagh Hogan! 

Our Incredible Copywriter

Shelagh creates content and copy for responsible travel and mission-driven, sustainable brands. She is passionate about crafting stories that inspire curiosity, and connection to that space located just behind your sternum.


Connect with her on her website  or LinkedIn

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Meet Kelly Wittman! 

Our Brilliant Brand Strategist

Kelly is the owner of Witt and Company, a strategy-first brand studio that helps service-based businesses step into their expertise and thought leadership for maximum impact. Their collaborative Brand Authority Method helps business owners create a plan for consistent brand communication, a message for marketable language and visuals for a cohesive aesthetic.


Connect with her on her website or LinkedIn

Our Trip LEADERS 

Meet Edgar!

Our Amazing Peruvian Guide

Edgar was born and raised in the mountain village of Chinchero, above the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

He was educated in the mountain communities and learned a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of all to nature and the mountains.  He later moved to Cusco to become a tour guide, lead groups through the Sacred Valley, with passion and love, and share the great wisdom and ancient technology of the Inca people.

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Your brother Edgar and all the people of the villages in the Sacred Valley are ready to welcome you any time!

 
Meet Mara!
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Local Oaxaca expert, massage therapist, nature-lover and artist

She’s originally from Monterrey, the third-largest city in northern Mexico.  Mara left the bustling metropolitan area for the laid-back beauty and traditional Mexican culture of Oaxaca state.

A self-described “slow nomad,”  she gradually immerses herself in the different pueblos she lives in and learns and participates in the traditional practices of the indigenous cultures while forging connections and friendships with the different communities. 

When she’s not sharing the unique heritage of these communities with travelers, Mara can be found in the mountains, connecting with nature, practicing healthy living through plant-based eating and mind-body connection, and creating her own brilliant art using the ancient technique of yarn painting.

Get to know Mara a bit more...
What made you want to become a trip leader?

When I moved to Oaxaca, I wanted to get to know it in a deeper way, so I would move to different places, pueblos around the city. Each pueblo had its own “thing”,  its own way. As I learned the place and people and its ways, that inspired me to then take travelers to also get to know the places in that deeper way.  I also love to spend time in the mountains and exercise, and being in nature— all the things we do with the tour, the hiking— it’s a good way to spend my time.

What, if anything, would you like to see change in the tourism/travel industry?

One thing I noticed is that travelers will go to a place without really immersing themselves with the people. They just go to see what's around and then leave. It is a totally different experience when you can relate more to the people with more bonding. I enjoy my travel far more when I do this as opposed to just going to a place just to look. Ask more about the person who's talking to you, get interested. Every person has something valuable to add to the experience.

 

 Another thing I see is that people going to shop tend to try to get the lowest price from artisans selling their art without getting to know how much time and care it takes to make the art. Some will buy it at a low price just to sell it later at a higher price— this is very frustrating. This art  is created by ancient ways that the artist is preserving. If we don't support that, we lose those ancient traditions little by little.