March 2020 Real Traveler Stories: How One California Couple Found Their Travel Advisor

Real Traveler Stories: How One California Couple Found Their Travel Advisor

Enjoying the moment at Petra’s timeless ruins.
Enjoying the moment at Petra’s timeless ruins.
Two Americans and a German walk to breakfast in South Africa... 
...Marin County residents Rocco Capobianco and Athena Katsaros (he’s president of The Bridge School; she’s on the board of a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young women leaders around the world), and Virtuoso travel agency owner René Roseburg. What transpires next is something to sing about.

Athena: Meeting people from different places and gaining insight into cultures are our main reasons for traveling. It’s about connecting with people rather than travel as a spectator sport.

Rocco: Travel is about having your eyes open to see everything without a big agenda controlling the day. It’s why I love taking photos: The camera is a way to slow everything down, to just stay in one spot and watch the light go across the desert, for example.

Athena: In Jordan, we told each guide or driver, “We don’t have a checklist; we just want to relax and enjoy the experience.” That’s a general life thing – we can spend so much of our time thinking about what comes later instead of enjoying what’s happening at the moment.

Rocco: In Botswana, it’s almost mystical how the guides and locals live with the land – actually in it – rather than the land accommodating their lifestyle. We don’t have that relationship in the West.

Athena: We met René in South Africa, thanks to Rocco singing in the shower. I
was like, “Darling, you might want to turn the volume down a bit.” René was walking to breakfast behind us and goes, “I really enjoyed your singing this morning.” We always planned our own trips, but after getting to know him and seeing his knowledge and passion for travel, we wanted to see what it would be like to work with him. His team had ideas; we had ideas; it was really fun.

Rocco: It’s good to go with professionals. René seemed to know exactly what we wanted to do and got our travel style, which reduces the risk of us ending up somewhere that isn’t what we’re looking for – and increases the fun.

Athena: We don’t really collect anything, but we did send a table with an incredible mother-of-pearl mosaic home from Egypt. We like things that we’re going to use every single day.

Athena: Spain is our next trip. We’ve mentored a young Syrian woman for about a year and a half – we just helped get her a scholarship in Barcelona. It’s all been over Skype, so we want to meet her in person.

Rocco: Antarctica is on my list. I think it would be amazing to see a place that we haven’t had the opportunity to mess up yet. It’s comforting to think of being in a place that remote and barren.

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