Our Specialty Travel Consultants can work with you to build your ideal adventure.

Kristen Buckley

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2017
Favorite travel memory: Living in Guam and hiking/swimming in caves


Kristen received her Bachelors of Science at Wingate University as well as her Masters in Teaching.  Kristen has worked as a classroom teacher for the past 10 years. Her teaching career took her to North Carolina, Virginia and Massachusetts. As a former educator, she is very passionate about integrating STEM into the curriculum and making sure students receive a hands-on approach. She learned to love travel due to her life as a military child. She went to three different high schools, and moved 14 times in her childhood! 

Jen Hajj

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2018
Favorite joke: Have you heard about the hawk who can play the guitar with his feet? They say he is very Talon-ted.


Jen comes to Holbrook Travel after years of experience in event planning, environmental education, and zoo live animal programs. Some of her past and present projects include coordinating the San Diego Bird Festival, leading academic groups to Belize, Costa Rica and Argentina with Earth Expeditions, and taking live birds to classrooms throughout the state of Utah for Tracy Aviary and HawkWatch International. She has a Master’s Degree from University of Utah in Parks, Recreation and Tourism. She works from a cabin in the woods in the tiny town of Idyllwild, California. In her spare time, she writes and performs songs at open mics, folk clubs and coffeehouses.

Lisa Palmese-Graubard

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1990
Can't live without: My family, my dogs and Redbull

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Lisa says she was sucked into the world of travel by Holbrook Travel and there was no looking back. She has visited 17 countries, swam with sea lions, and been in the middle of a herd of wild elephants. Ecuador is one of her favorite places to visit because of the rich Andean culture, the breathtaking scenery and beautiful blue water, and the snorkeling and sea lions on the Galápagos. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, being a mom to her daughter and anything that involves being in and around water.

Stefanie Plein

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2017
Favorite travel memory: Snorkeling with spinner dolphins for 15 seconds on an atoll off of Zanzibar


Stefanie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Western Illinois University. Stefanie’s love of travel led her to spend a semester studying marine biology on the Great Barrier Reef at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. During her master’s degree she conducted fieldwork on the home range use patterns and distribution of resident bottlenose dolphins in the Northeastern Adriatic Sea, Croatia. In addition to her personal worldly adventures, Stefanie assisted her sister with an anthropology study in remote Ugandan villages. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, photography, exploring the world, and shelling.

Sandy Schmidt

Specialty Travel Consultant & Garden Tours Director

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1992
Favorite quote: "Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” — Dalai Lama


Sandy’s first career was as a professional musician, from a Jr. in high school through her early thirties. She graduated in 1991 from UF with a BS in Horticulture. A year later she met Giovanna Holbrook and began her career at Holbrook. She has been a Specialty Travel Consultant throughout her time at Holbrook, working with all types of group travel and enjoys assisting friends and family travel as well. In 2006, she began the International Garden Tours of Holbrook Travel, serving as not only as a consultant but development of the itineraries. 

Kevin Van Dien

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2019
Super power: Making lists

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Kevin Van Dien received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Before Holbrook, Kevin was developing and teaching adult learning programs at The Florida Aquarium.  He enjoys exploring destinations with exotic flora and fauna, but also travels in search of interesting foods, flavors, and coffees! His favorite trips so far include the Amazon, Costa Rica, and Tanzania.  Kevin has spent his entire life learning about the natural and cultural landscapes around the world, and relishes the opportunity to help others enrich their lives through travel!

Fran Whitlock

Specialty Travel Consultant & Air Specialist

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1992
Foreign languages: English, Southernese

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Fran has been in the travel industry since 1978. She studied travel at Prospect Hall College in Ft. Lauderdale and received her CTC (Certified Travel Consultant) designation in 1990. Fran was born and raised in Florida but lived in Germany for seven years before returning to the sunshine state. At Holbrook, she fulfills the roles of air specialist and travel consultant, working with groups and individuals to craft personalized travel experiences both by land and air. She loves to relax with family, travel, and be outdoors, and has visited Costa Rica, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. 

Debbie Sturdivant Jordan

Holbrook Ambassador

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1986
What inspires me: Nature


Debbie's hobbies include anything that involves boats: sailing, fishing, and rowing. She lived aboard a 36-foot sailboat from age 9 to 18 with her family, and they sailed from California to Florida and spent a lot of time in Costa Rica, Panama, and the Galapagos.  She finally visited her 50th U.S. state on a recent vacation to Hawaii.  Passionate about birding, nature and conservation, she tries to spend time volunteering in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds her Suwannee, Florida home.