The adventure bug bit Johanna Garcia early on as a teen in New York City. She was just 15 years old when selected for the Kids at Sea Program, run by Lindblad Expeditions back when it was still known as Special Expeditions. Johanna got her first thrilling taste of expedition life in Baja California aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird. Discovering this place that seemed so far beyond her reach kick-started her curiosity and opened her eyes to an incredible type of travel.
Fast-forward six years later and she was eager to explore more of the world. The best way to do that she thought was by working for Lindblad. And so she became the first person from the Kids Program to ever apply for a position. That was the start of a whirlwind eight years aboard our ships—she began as a steward, worked her way up to Assistant Expedition Leader/Purser, and has lived her dream of traveling everywhere from Alaska, Panama, and the Baltics to the Arctic through the equator and down to Antarctica.
But eventually Johanna was ready to put down some roots. She packed her bags and headed back to New York—not only her home, but also the home of Lindblad’s main office. That made it an easy decision to transition from ship life to office life. As Land Services Manager Johanna skillfully oversees all the land-based logistics of our expeditions—from booking hotel space and scheduling transportation to planning the many details surrounding shore excursions. Plus, she deals with Visas and other travel requirements for guests as well as unforeseen changes with flights or itineraries—all with a calm and collected smile on her face.
Having worked both aboard ship and off Johanna brings a unique perspective that helps her excel at her job. She truly understands what our ship staff may need, how things work in the field, and how best to orchestrate it all. And on a daily basis she works her magic behind-the-scenes to ensure a seamless and unforgettable travel experience for all our guests.
Over the last eight years she’s managed a variety of destinations, including her first and favorite Baja California. A pro at juggling multiple regions and relationships with multiple ground operators, Johanna is a true gem in our organization’s crown. We celebrate this longtime Lindblad employee and will be forever glad she first stepped aboard as a curious and budding explorer all those years ago.
Why do you explore?
I explore to learn. Exploring gives me the opportunity to learn about the past and find ways to help preserve the future. It peaks my curiosity, when I have the opportunity to have close encounters with wildlife in their natural habitat, walk the path that many have before me or are still discovering, immerse myself in the culture of a place and stand in a place with surrounding beauty that takes my breath away.
What is your favorite Lindblad destination?
Baja California, Mexico. Besides holding a special place in my heart because it was my first Lindblad destination, there is a beauty to Baja that is indescribable. It is a hidden gem with so much to offer from the abundant marine wildlife, bird life, plants, and geology to the beautiful scenery, sunsets and sunrises, and the night sky filled with stars to the history, culture, and local food. The remoteness of the many islands we explore in Baja makes this destination one of my favorites.
What is the dream exploration you haven’t done…yet?
Africa. I’m fascinated by the diversity of wildlife and the various cultures.
What advice would you give the next generation of women explorers?
Explore to learn and help find ways to preserve the future for others to see and for our world to thrive. Whatever piques your curiosity to explore, go out there and explore. When there is a will there is a way.
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