Elizabeth Kester joined AAA in 2012. Beginning as our Office Manager, she soon climbed the ranks and now manages our team of Tour Coordinators, who advise our travelers and spread the word about our trips.
What is your hometown?
New York, NY.
What city do you most recommend to friends?
I studied abroad in Madrid, have wonderful memories of my time there, and generally love Spanish culture. Madrid, Granada, Santiago de Compostela, Seville— the list goes on! I also love Havana, which is endlessly fascinating and enjoyable. I traveled with two friends from Chilean Patagonia up to the Atacama Desert and was particularly charmed by Punta Arenas, Chile’s southernmost city and a former penal colony, as well as Valparaiso.
Which city would you drop everything to see?
This seems to be a popular answer, but Istanbul, both for its historical significance as the gateway between East and West and because of my preteen obsession with Agatha Christie novels. Also, my maternal grandparents and everyone of their generation on that side of my family were from Berlin. A family trip has been in the preliminary planning stages for a while now. Perhaps this blog post will nudge it forward!
What do you enjoy working on the most at Academic Arrangements Abroad?
I’ve especially enjoyed working with travelers on our new Camino de Santiago programs as the idea, development, coordination, and execution of those trips has spanned my time at the company. My friend and colleague Ute Keyes put together a unique and exciting itinerary. We led the inaugural trip together, which was a truly special experience!
Who would play you in a movie?
I’ll go with Julie Delpy.
What are some of your favorite travel books?
One of my favorite authors is Somerset Maugham, and Pico Iyer put together a collection of his best travel writing called The Skeptical Romancer. Although I wouldn’t place them in the category of “travel” per say, I’ve come down with Ferrante fever and am a devoted fan of the Neapolitan Novels. I also like Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald for its descriptions of the French Riviera.
Do you have any special skills?
I’m a great fly caster. My dad taught me well.
What are your most visited websites?
What is something about you that surprises people?
I love anything on ice or snow. There is nothing better than the Winter Olympics.
What are three things you can’t travel without?
A book, my iPhone (loaded with music and podcasts), and a big scarf for the plane.
How many Arrangements Abroad trips have you traveled on?
Come January, I’ll have been on six trips with Arrangements Abroad as a Tour Director: three to Cuba, two to Costa Rica and Panama, and one to Spain. Many of them have been conveniently timed for when it gets cold in New York!