A world-class team of experts will accompany each expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
Jack Daulton is a popular lecturer on the cultural history of non-Western civilizations and has been an expert on trips to more than 50 countries. His research has focused on the art and architecture of Asia and Africa as well as the study of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. Jack is also an attorney with a focus on international law relating to the preservation and conservation of the world’s cultural heritage. In a widely reported 1995 federal case, he recovered a thousand-year-old sculpture that had been stolen from a temple in Southeast Asia.
Chris Rainier specializes in the documentation of indigenous cultures, and is considered one of the leading documentary photographers working today. A National Geographic Explorer, Chris was a co-founder of the Society’s All Roads Photography Program and is a co-director of the Enduring Voices Project, documenting endangered languages and cultures. He serves as a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine. His life's mission is to document endangered cultures and help empower them to use modern technology to save their ancient traditions through a project he directs called the Last Mile Technology Program. He has conducted expeditions to all seven continents and the North Pole. Chris has won numerous awards for his photography, including the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Explorers Club for his work with endangered cultures. Chris was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society in London.
Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson has explored the development of human culture and the origins of humankind all around the world. Since he discovered the 3.2-million-year-old skeleton known as Lucy in 1974, his work has been covered in National Geographic books, magazines, and films. An accomplished scientist, scholar, and National Geographic grantee, Donald has helped piece together the puzzle of human evolution. He is the founder of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University and the author of the book Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins. Donald's six books include Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, which won the 1981 American Book Award in Science.
Jan Nijman, a geographer and former member of National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, has traveled across the globe supporting research projects at many of the sites we visit on our journey. He has received multiple grants funding his fieldwork from National Geographic and the National Science Foundation. Jan currently chairs National Geographic’s Global Exploration Fund—Northern Europe, and he also directs the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. A Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Miami, Jan is the author of four books, as well as more than 80 publications that have appeared in a wide range of international journals. A native of the Netherlands, Jan speaks five languages and has received numerous awards, including the Nystrom Prize, the University of Miami’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
National Geographic photographer Michael Melford has produced more than a dozen feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 for National Geographic Traveler, including eight covers. Some of Michael’s recent assignments have focused on Russia, Israel, and North America’s national parks. He has produced photography for eight books for National Geographic, including three on Alaska, his favorite being Treasures of Alaska, for which he spent four months traveling to every corner of the state. When not shooting for National Geographic, Michael enjoys giving seminars and workshops on photography and sharing both his love of nature and his extensive knowledge.
Born and raised in Italy, photojournalist Massimo Bassano has published his work in National Geographic Traveler and on the National Geographic website, as well as in numerous European publications. He regularly teaches National Geographic photography workshops in Tuscany and Venice. His acclaimed photography book The Color of Silence detailed the 12 weeks he spent in a little-known Italian monastery. Massimo has also traveled and photographed extensively in Europe and Africa. Massimo frequently joins photography and other expeditions for National Geographic, and is a favorite with the Society's travelers.
Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Davis is the author of 15 books including The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), and The Sacred Headwaters (2011). His latest book, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, won the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award given by the Explorers Club.
In 2008, paleoanthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger—with the help of his curious 9-year-old son—discovered two remarkably well-preserved, two-million-year-old fossils of an adult female and young male, known as Australopithecus sediba, a previously unknown species of ape-like creatures that may have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. This discovery has been hailed as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in history. The fossils reveal what may be one of humanity's oldest ancestors. Lee believes the skeletons found on the Malapa site in South Africa could be the “Rosetta stone that unlocks our understanding of the genus Homo” and may redesign the human family tree. An Eagle Scout, Lee is the Reader in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Anthropologist and linguist David Harrison is a National Geographic Fellow and a co-director of the Society’s Enduring Voices Project, which documents endangered languages and cultures around the world. He has done extensive fieldwork with indigenous communities from Siberia and Mongolia to Peru, India, and Australia. His global research is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film The Linguists, and his work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, USA Today, and Science.
Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Jay Dickman has worked in photojournalism for more than 35 years, covering topics as diverse as the war in El Salvador, the Olympics, national political conventions, six Super Bowls, the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, and Shirley MacLaine. A popular photo instructor and expedition leader, he lived for three months in a Stone Age village in Papua New Guinea and spent a week under the Arctic ice in a nuclear attack sub on assignments for National Geographic magazine. He has also published five books and numerous articles for National Geographic Traveler, LIFE, Condé Nast Traveler, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Forbes.
A 28-year veteran of the National Geographic Society, Rob Hernandez began as a senior editor for National Geographic magazine and later founded its International Publishing division, which publishes magazines, books, and other media in more than 35 languages. Raised in Cuba and Spain, Rob spent his early career doing ecological field research and documenting the wildlife and culture of the world’s more remote places. He filmed a television special on lions in Namibia, explored the wilderness of New Guinea, journeyed to rarely visited corners of South America, and circumnavigated the Indian and Pacific Oceans in a small sailboat for 2 years. So far, this inveterate globetrotter has made multiple visits to nearly every destination on our Around the World itinerary.
Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He is currently working on the Atlas of British History for National Geographic.