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Weston, FL, USA
Karen Lee-Ishmael is a wife, mother of twins, and eternal optimist. She has lived in South America, the United Kingdom and North America and has travelled extensively. Pre-children, she and her husband enjoyed Vegas and semi-spontaneous jaunts to Paris and Rome. Since the arrival of the offspring, international vacations have continued from the time the children were three months old, but are designed to accommodate eating and sleeping schedules, and family-style dining and entertainment within a 5-mile radius of holiday “home base”. Many life lessons have been learned throughout these journeys, some more challenging than others, but the most important have been (i) retaining a sense of humor is vital (ii) the recognition that “selective hearing” is the tool of the determined! Karen has a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from Smith College and a M.B.A. (specialization in Marketing) from the University of Miami. Before establishing Bite Travel, LLC, she and her husband founded and managed two businesses in the technology industry. Karen began her travel career as an unpaid planner of her extended family’s vacations. At present, her philosophy about selecting accommodations is straightforward - "If I am going to be tempted away from the comforts and convenience of my home, I need to be going some place better!" One of the most memorable trips of her life was a budget, 14-day coach tour through several cities in Europe with her sister and four close friends when she was 16. Perhaps it was a “coming of age” event, but the tour turned out to be so unexpectedly fun and exciting that the smallest details are still preserved in crystal-clear, precious memories. Touring Lichtenstein, a place she had never heard of before her visit was a highlight. The structure of the sightseeing trip was rigid but appreciated. A group of 6 teenagers, experiencing new cities, food and culture almost every day - what a phenomenal experience (and accomplished without a single cell phone)! Reflecting on it now, she muses that these days we spend so much time “plugged in”, we forget how to “like” things without clicking a mouse. Thanks to the internet, we can now “see” the world from safe, little corners and screens. However, the virtual universe deprives us of experiences that engage all of the senses - the smell of the land and the taste of salt in the wind blowing off the ocean. Travel is a medium that allows us to reconnect with each other and with the earth. We learn to use our instincts again, and we don’t just hear, we listen, we don’t just touch, we feel. It provides an education like no other, and it is a pure pleasure to share distinctive journeys with those you cherish.