Pardon the brag, but at Hawkins International, we know a thing or two about traveling. So as a way to give back to you, our very favorite readers, we decided to divulge a sampling of our favorite tips, experiences, and future adventures.

Jennifer Hawkins, President
What is your dream destination/next “dot” on the map?
I’d love to go to Mali and Burkina Faso in Western Africa but that might have to wait a while.  I’d love to take my family on an adventure in Costa Rica and explore the Cloud Forest, wildlife and volcanos.  I also want to go to Hawaii since the first and last time I was ever there was on a business trip for 24 hours.  I want to do a family surf camp week.

Corey Finjer, Vice President
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I will never forget driving 12+ hours from Costa Rica’s Cloud Forest to the Caribbean coast – more than double the time anticipated due to some tropical storms and road conditions. It was a harrowing, curving, detour-filled experience that was worth every life-threatening turn.

Lisa Caruso, Vice President
What is your most memorable travel experience?
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda…amazing, inspiring, magical…from the massive silver back who welcomed us into his family fold for an hour to peek into their vine swinging and chest pounding life, to the precious 3 month old baby who clung to mommy, it was definitely once in  lifetime few hours of my life.

Julie Shamrock Rollend, Account Director
What is your most memorable travel experience?
Backpacking through Europe, staying at hostels, and bouncing between countries with a Eurail pass.  This was pre-iPhone, pre-Google maps and pre-online booking.  Just two friends and a copy of “Let’s Go Europe.”

Michelle Zacharia, Account Director
What is your most memorable travel experience?
Hands down, it was my first evening at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi.  It was the beginning of an incredible honeymoon that I consistently refer to as “the best two weeks of my life.”  The ivy-covered estate was truly mystical, and the Rothschild giraffes were strikingly beautiful and friendly.  We fed them, drank wine and watched the sunset.

Prin Bacalan, Senior Account Executive
What are your favorite travel accessories?
My faithful Rainbow sandals. They’ve survived Carnival in Brazil, a camping safari in South Africa, endless hikes in Hawaii, a trek through northern India and my daily NYC commute. My goal is to keep them forever!

Anne-Cecile Blanchot, Account Supervisor
What is your most memorable travel experience?
On my first trip to Kenya I had to sleep in what they call a “star bed”–essentially a stilted platform with a Makuti-thatched roof with a bed on wheels that is rolled out under the stars. I felt utterly exposed to the wild animals and as I was alone, clung to club all night only to wake up at 4:00am to an elephant scratching its back on one of the stilts. The “Star Bed” are swaying from side to side and although I was hidden under the covers paralyzed in fear, it is still, to this day, the best travel memory I hold on to.

Veronica McCrimmon, Account Coordinator
What is your dream destination/next “dot” on the map?
Cuba, only 90 miles from my birthplace of Miami.  My grandmother is from Cuba and always told me stories growing up about the jaw dropping beaches, pure sugar cane mojitos, arroz con pollo dishes with a side of sweet plantains, and traditional salsa dancing found all over the island. I can picture myself driving through Havana in a classic 1950’s convertible like I have seen on the old postcards my grandmother sent me, and the fact that Americans are not allowed there makes it even more desirable.

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Mary Parhiala with friends at Il Duomo in Florence.

Mary Parhiala, Digital and PR Account Coordinator
What are your favorite travel accessories?
A local to show you around (not very hard to find if you’re friendly!) I speak Italian, so whenever I’m in Italy I always try to befriend locals to find out where to go and what to do. When I was in Rome this past December, friendly conversation with a restaurant owner resulted in a free bottle of Limoncello for the table and the bartender trying to set me up with his son!

Catherine Colford, Media Relations Specialist
What are your favorite travel accessories?
A scarf is a must-have no matter where I’m going. Besides its fashion versatility, it also works as a pillow, blanket and shawl. Carrying one in my bag has saved me from being kicked out of many a cathedral in Europe! I also always travel with a bag full of magazines for entertainment en route (despite the added weight!) and an iPhone for pictures, entertainment, maps and calendar.

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Catherine Colford at Le Louvre in Paris.

Neal Santelmann, Editorial Director
What is your most memorable travel experience?
I got a dream assignment to travel to Antarctica when I was on staff at Forbes FYI magazine waaaaaay back in the early 1990s. Tourism to the bottom of the world was just getting started then, so I got in early. There were lots of highlights, from wandering around with chinstrap penguins to photographing crystal blue icebergs to swimming in volcano-heated waters off the coast of Deception Island. My favorite part was the cruise across the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica. The captain warned that we’d be traversing some of the roughest waters in the world. As I watched the furniture I’d (foolishly) unhooked and rearranged slide across the cabin floor in the middle of the night, I knew he was right…

 

 

-Mary Parhiala

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