What to pack on a trip, according to conservationist Maria Fadiman

Travel and conservation go hand-in-hand in Maria Fadiman’s world: She’s a National Geographic conservationist and an expert on National Geographic Expeditions to places like Costa Rica, Spain, and Scotland.

“My favorite part of my role as a National Geographic Expert and representing National Geographic is getting to be with the guests while we all get to experience new areas,” said Fadiman. “People who choose National Geographic trips are interesting, curious, and fun.”

One of the biggest parts of her job on expeditions is to lead presentations about the landscape and culture of a destination for guests. “I have a great time telling stories [and] interspersing them throughout the information. I like it when we all have fun while simultaneously triggering new ways of thinking and being where we are,” she says.

The road to becoming a conservationist hasn’t been the typical path, though. “I always wanted to work in conservation, and I was nervous to learn science. In college, I volunteered as a naturalist guide in the Costa Rican rainforest on the Osa Peninsula. The only problem was, I didn’t know anything about the ecosystem. I had studied Spanish, so I could translate, and that is what got me out there,” notes Fadiman.

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