BIOS

At little bit about who founded Southern Star Travel - their experience, skills and values.

Co-Founding Partner Bios

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Director of Program Development

Dan Siefken

Raised on a farm in Southern Michigan, Dan is no stranger to the outdoors. Michigan, known for some of the countries most beautiful lakes, rivers, forests and hiking trails, instilled in a Dan a drive for adventure that has yet to be satiated. During college, he took his first trip to Mexico, where the language, culture and people encountered added a dash of internationalism to his bowl of adventure stew. After one bite, Latin America became his new favorite dish.

Dan began leading group travel to Latin America right out of college, where he worked for a university leading service-learning trips to Guatemala and El Salvador. Through the multiple trips to Guatemala, Dan then took a position as a country director for a medical non-profit in Zacapa, Guatemala working for two years primarily developing and leading group medical teams from the US.

After Guatemala, Dan moved to Scotland for a wee stint, where he expanded his understanding of sustainable travel into Europe and the Middle...

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Co-Founder/Operator

Ryan Stimmel

Born and raised in the suburbs of North Texas it took effort for this responsible travel expert to become aware of the wider world. Since then though, adventure travel and ecotourism have become central themes to his life. Now he works to connect the bold responsible traveler to the world with that same sense of purpose.

Formally educated in Sociology, History and Philosophy Ryan is passionate about the cultures and communities in the developing world, confident in his ability to connect one adventurous spirit to another.

Combined experiences studying abroad in Spain and language immersion in Guatemala as well as practice in the kitchens of Texas, the roads of Mexico and hostels and organizations in destinations like Uruguay and Argentina have afforded Ryan a fluent command of the Spanish language and many of its dialects.

Through-hiking The Appalachian Trail and The John Muir Trail as well as the multiple trips trekking to the tops of Guatemalan volcanoes as an adventure...

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Director of Business Operations

Sean Bridegam

Born and raised on the lakes and prairies of North Texas, Sean's passion for international travel and exploration was awakened as soon as he packed his bags for University. The comfort and predictability of Sean's hometown were quickly - and willfully - replaced by a calculated series of ambitious and adventurous experiences.

While pursuing a degree from Texas A&M University, Sean got his first taste of travel participating in extended international programs in both the Caribbean and East Asia. After graduation, he set off backpacking through Mexico and Central America for 13 months, and found work managing a small lodge in a rural village adjacent to a national park in Guatemala's verdant central highlands region. Sean spent the next 3 years leading cultural tours and white-water rafting trips in the beautiful Cahabon Valley, before deciding to head west to Guatemala's spectacular Pacific highlands. As a trip leader at a premier outdoor adventure provider - Sean...

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