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.
Geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells has analyzed the DNA of thousands of people living in isolated tribes around the world. He leads the Genographic Project, a multi-year endeavor to chart the journey of our early ancestors as they populated the planet. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University under the tutelage of distinguished evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin; conducted post-doctoral training at Stanford University's School of Medicine with famed geneticist Dr. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza—considered the "father of anthropological genetics"; and was head of the population genetics research group at Oxford University's Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Spencer has written three books, including The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, an award-winning book and documentary film that aired on PBS and the National Geographic Channel.
Jack Daulton is a popular lecturer on the cultural history of non-Western civilizations and has been an expert on trips to more than 70 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.
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.
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.
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.
National Geographic photographer Bob Krist has shot several articles for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 articles for National Geographic Traveler, where he is a contributing editor. His many assignments have taken him to all seven continents and his images have won awards in the Pictures of the Year, Communication Arts, and World Press Photo competitions. His latest book on travel photography, Travel Photography: Documenting the World's People and Places, was recently published in the Digital Masters series. Bob will be on hand to help you photograph the stunning scenery and vibrant cultures we will encounter throughout the expedition.
Alexander Murphy is senior vice president of the American Geographical Society and a professor of geography at the University of Oregon. He has also served as a member of the Advisory Committee for National Geographic Education. Alexander co-authored Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture, a comprehensive look at global phenomena, ranging from India and East Africa to Peru and China. He has traveled and conducted research on five continents. An engaging speaker with a wealth of knowledge on political, cultural, historical, and environmental geography, he will offer his insights into the human and physical forces that shape the places we visit.
Chris Rainier specializes in the documentation of indigenous cultures, and is considered one of the leading documentary photographers working today. A National Geographic Fellow, 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 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.
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.
Author Don Belt has traveled to 65 countries over the past three decades, working as a writer and editor for National Geographic magazine. Along the way, he has covered the deﬁning issues of our time such as environmental degradation, vanishing cultures, Islam and the West, the eﬀects of global climate change, and the geopolitical trends that are shaping our world. His many major article credits include stories on Bangladesh, Mongolia, Pakistan, Syria, the Jordan River, India's new national highway, Europe's wildlife, forest elephants, Lake Baikal, and Cold War science in the Russian Arctic. As senior editor of National Geographic from 1998 to 2010, Don helped to guide the magazine’s coverage of topics ranging from weapons of mass destruction and the use of terrorism to the legacy of colonialism in the modern Middle East. On assignment, he has lived with Bedouin in Jordan, truckers in India, tribesmen in Pakistan, sailors in Siberia, and flea-bitten fishermen on the west coast of Mexico. Don was chief foreign correspondent for National Geographic magazine from 2006 to 2011, and now serves as an editorial consultant and contributing writer.
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis is an anthropologist, writer, photographer, and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, from Africa to Australia, and from Polynesia to the Arctic. He has lived for extended periods among indigenous communities, learning and recording their complex rituals and customs. Wade is the author of 17 bestselling 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, the top non-fiction prize in the English language. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. Wade is one of 20 Honorary Members of the Explorers Club. In 2009, he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation. He is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers Club, and the 2012 David Fairchild Medal, the most prestigious award for botanical exploration.
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.
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, and the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among his over 25 assignments for the National Geographic Society, Jay has 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. A popular photo instructor and expedition leader, he has also published five books and numerous articles for National Geographic Traveler, LIFE, Condé Nast Traveler, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Forbes.