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Sanjay Kumar Saxena

Tour and Trek Leader Sanjay SaxenaSanjay Saxena, Founder and CEO (Chief Exploratory Officer) of TourDirect, has over 35 years of experience in Tour Operations.

Sanjay was born in Delhi and spent his childhood living in various parts of India. While still in college in 1979, he became a professional trekking and climbing guide—a career that he continued after completing his education. During the span of his career, Sanjay has worked for Kashmir Mountain Travel, Mountain Travel USA, Overseas Adventure Travel, and Geographic Expeditions. He has led countless groups trekking, climbing, touring and on safaris to Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar/Burma, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Venezuela, Peru, Iran and of course throughout his home country of India.

In the winter of 1991/1992, Sanjay and renowned climber/cinematographer David Breashears led the first “western descent” of a 200-mile white water stretch on the Brahmaputra River in India, starting at the Tibetan border. This was filmed for the BBC series “Classic Adventures,” and was shown on the A&E network in the U.S. Sanjay continued to bring the first big commercial tourist groups to Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.  Inspired by the writing of Kingdon Ward, Sanjay led a small group of intrepid travelers (the first westerners) in 2001, on an overland journey from Lijiang to Lhasa crossing the Mekong, Salween, Yangtze rivers, continuing along the south bank of the Tsangpo (Brahamaputra) River in Tibet, completing the journey that Kingdon had long envisioned but never able to complete himself.

Sanjay’s deep insider’s knowledge of his homeland, together with his talent for creating unique itineraries to traditional and remote destinations, make him one of the travel world’s top-ranked India and Tibet specialists. For eleven consecutive years (2003-2013), he has received Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top Travel Specialist” award for his exemplary work in India, Tibet, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Under his leadership, Destination Himalaya (TourDirect’s parent company) has also been chosen by National Geographic Adventure as one of its “Best Outfitters on Earth.” In September 2014, Sanjay was also chosen to be on the “WOW” List by WendyPerrin.com.

Not one to be tied to his desk,  you will often find Sanjay leading trips to many of our destinations.

Brook Wilkinson

TourDirect-staff-brook2Brook is the most recent member of TourDirect’s management team, editing all of the material that appears on the site. She has spent more than a decade writing about luxury, adventure, and family travel for such leading publications as Condé Nast Traveler, Sherman’s Travel, Parade, and WendyPerrin.com. Brook also wrote the travel chapter for the Whole Green Catalog, a guide to sustainable living. She has been a speaker at international ecotourism and adventure travel conferences, and holds a degree in sociology from Harvard University.

Brook believes her best education has come in the form of travel, visiting 39 countries to date: She’s gotten chicken pox in Nova Scotia, bought a car in an Australian outback pub, walked the “Wild Wall” in China, had a baby named after her in the Peruvian Amazon, and been medivacked out of the Serengeti in Tanzania.

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John Harper

John’s intense interest in travel started in childhood, when his parents presented him with a now very well-worn (but much loved) World Atlas. John has lived all over the west coast of the U.S., and in Asia. While earning his B.A. in British History, he also spent a considerable amount of time in the U.K.  More importantly, it was this interest in British History that inspired John to begin studying and exploring Asian history and culture, and fired a deep desire to travel to Asia. Since his first magical visit to that extraordinary continent, he has not looked back.

When not traveling in Asia, John can be found working diligently in TourDirect’s U.S. office. John is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation in Comparative Religion (with a focus on South/Southeast Asia) at Claremont College in Los Angeles, while also continuing his studies of the Hindi, Mandarin, and Tibetan languages. John is a keen student of the arts, history, and religions of South and Southeast Asia, and combines these varied interests in his capacities as Tour Leader. His understanding and relationship with the educational marketplace makes him an invaluable member of TourDirect’s management team.

James Wills

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Jim has long been captivated by mountain sports and travel—you might say he got his start in Ground Operations when he organized a hiking trip along the John Muir Trail at age 15. After working in skiing and construction around Lake Tahoe, Jim started an international guide service that specialized in trips to Nepal, Japan, and Europe. He led 150 groups on adventure trips, and also built Sherpa guide lodges and mountain huts on the trails around Mt. Everest. On the technical side, Jim has designed nearly 350 websites. An avid filmmaker as well, he has produced four documentaries and 275 shorts.