Gekotour combines passions and experiences from fellow educators from around the world to create hands-on workshops while on tour to exotic locations around the world.

Geko Treker

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Suzan Badgley Canada/Bali

Trained as an educator, Im well suited to patiently communicate with language differences. Experienced graduate in Hospitality and Tourism, I have a good eye and clarity for quality when it comes to choosing rest and dining establishments. Difficulties can be solved in a timely and efficient manner. Im known by my companions as having a strong ability to provide a smooth travel experience.

   

Background

I was born in 1962 in North Vancouver, known to locals as Lotus land. As a young child, I respected all living things in mountain and ocean environments and, at the age of three when I began to travel, I learned about the diversities and similarities in different cultural settings. When I returned for schooling in Canada six years later, I felt the difficulties refugees faced in their own countries and why they escaped to enjoy the freedom and equality ethics found in Canada. Influenced by the First Nations People how to be one with the land and spirit, I began exploring the world on my own, volunteering my services in exchange for food and lodging: and later, after acquiring a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism, and a BA degree in Adult Education, was employed in managerial and teaching positions both in Canada and Asia. 68 countries later, I am blessed with a broad perspective of the world we live in and the people we perceive we are. When asked “Which is your most favorite place you have traveled to?” India, a country full of vast diversities, changed my life at the age of 25. It opened and challenged my mind and body; stimulated my six senses like no other experience in the past.I further learned about ancient cultures, social and family responsibility, and Buddhist philosophy while working in South Korea and Japan over a 15 year period. I spent many winters in Bali, feeling a sense of home, perhaps a place of past life reincarnation, feeling comforted by the ancient Balinese culture and karmic ways, remembering “the Ring of Fire” in middle school when my finger was drawn to this tiny equatorial island on my well-worn map. It was this time that I met Wayan Tagel, a wonderful man who lives by karma and loves to share his culture and family ceremonies. He became my sponsor, and I his supporter. For the past eight years, my Canadian- based business, Swallow House Trading, has assisted in the marketing of the Swallow Guesthouse in the REAL Bali; and, Indo-Crafts, a Fair-trade operated manufacture of parachute nylon hammocks, yoga swings and travel gear run by Dimyati, a compassionate man who provides room, board and skills to under privileged adults. The most important goal of the Swallow House Trading is to share compassionate culture to ethnicities from all parts of the world, rich and poor. If someone is really interested to assist while staying at Swallow Guesthouse, a donation for their stay helps Wayan educate his children. Proceeds of the sales of Travelite Geko Gear, a name brand of travel bags designed by me and made by Dimys tailors, go towards the sponsorship of village sustainability projects. Here in Bali, needs are put forth to the Gods, a ceremony is done and right action is continued. The Gods do listen… As a westerner staying here, I am still amazed at how things manifest when you put your dreams outwards. One needs to be a little observant on what they ask for!! Now semi-retired, I’m closely learning from the locals, their ancient lifestyle preserved by a unique combination of spirit and community belief. Enjoying sharing this knowledge to assist in the betterment of our environment and the beings upon it is my passion.    

Geko Local Experts

 

Arie Flores-Komodo

  From: Labuan Bajo, Flores Specialty: Flores, Sumbawa, Komodo, Papua, Live-a-board tours SE Asia, private yacht tours ArieI grew up in farming family in Labuan Bajo-Flores. I loved English language and dreamed that with English I may find the job after high school in Bima Sumbawa. In 1997, after graduation, I was hired by a Dutch travel agent as a tour guide for Europeans. I loved travelling and meeting people. For the last 15 years, I have been the cruise director on board three different luxury schooners and guided tourists threw Sulawesi, Spice Islands, West Papua, Java, Sumatra, Flores, Lombok, and Bali. I have also been providing over-land tours on Flores, Komodo, and Sumba islands since 2008. I love to share about Indonesia culture to anyone who is interested.                  

Endro Java/Komodo/Papua

  From: Central Java Speciality: Photo tours, Java, Flores, Papua EndroI was born in central java in 1975. I graduated from Gadjah Mada University; My bachelor degree was civil engineering. During study in university I was fell in love with photography. In 1999 I took a photographic course in Jogjakarta for about 6 month. After Graduated from university, I took photojournalistic course at Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara. I worked at several publication from 2003-2008. Now I am a photo editor at www.sinarsaktiimages.com. I also running traditional dance and music course in Jakarta, this course was free of charge. I love photographing people, because I feel connected with my subject. In 2009 I got assignment to make a visual documentary about Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. I began interested with travel. 2011, I got an opportunity to lead a group of traveler to explore Raja Ampat. I like to travel with foreigners because we could share experience, culture, knowledge and help the local people and environment. I design my trip so the participant could meet and help the local people. Right now I just asked the participant to donate some books and educational material for school. Next step, I will ask the participant to share their knowledge and skill to local people for example teaching music, drawing, craft, and storytelling. Many people in Indonesia live in poverty and lack of education. Hope we could improve their quality of life with my tours.    

Golden Son

Myanmar

  EndroReview
“Mingalabar! Selamat soreh!” And hello! Loving Myanmar, the people and the culture. The whole vibe is just amazing. I would like to thank you so much for linking us with Mr Shwe your Golden Son! His energy is so good! Hopefully on my next trip to Myanmar I will be able to see him for a longer period of time. -Tze Xian, Malaysia
  Golden Son, Mr. Gold ( Shwe ) From: Yangon, Myanmar Specialty: Small private tours in Myanmar ">sm.somkiat [at] gmail [dot] com T&T, Tourist Information & Travelling Service, Bagan, Myanmar Associate Guide: James Yangon, Myanmar
 

Nyoman Munduk, Bali

    NyomanI am the six generation of the original people of Mundok who came from the Gobleg kingdom, a strong mountain tribe who migrated after a volcanic eruption that covered their homes and plantations. When I was a young boy, I heard from my grandfather and the other elders about the Dutch colonial times. High up on Mundoks upper road ridge, the Dutch General made his resting place enjoying the view of the valley and Singaraja in the distance. Over time, the Dutch greatly influenced the people and prosperity of Mundok. I enjoyed learning about the old times, and now, am happy to teach you how the Dutch have brought unique architecture and agriculture to this region of Bali. Your contribution will also help educate the under privileged children here in Mundok. 10% of your payment will go directly to Hold Their Hand : www.lingkarpelangi.com, a small local project started by one of my tourism mates in this village. We thank you for your care.

Nyoman is “Giving Back” and We Want to Help

  My background is a farming family, with two brothers and one sister. I have one wife and 2 children. We have a little rice field that my mother looks after with someone from our village. My late father was born in 1942, he told us a lot of the history from the colonial age when the Dutch and Japanese were in Bali. My goal is “I WANT TO DO MY BEST, best for everybody. Your contribution will also help educate the under privileged children here in Mundok. 10% of your payment will go directly to Hold Their Hand (holdtheirhand.wordpress.com), a small local project started by one of my tourism mates in this village. We thank you for your care. -Nyoman
nyoman-munduk4 During his treking from village to village in the Munduk region, Komang assists in finding children who need sponsorship. He informs Ady who then goes to meet the child and assesses the need. Then Komang will assist in delivering supplies to the child or school. Ady, who met Komang in the Tourism Association of Mundok – not in high school – does not receive a salary or percentage in this NGO project (I dont think Komang gets anything for this either, just reward in heart). He apparently has done well in the past with tourism develpment in the Northern Bali Lake region near Buan. He just wants to help others. He’s another person who lives for karma by doing “karma yoga” – helping without question, award or gain.
Thank you to our many guests over the years who have contributed pens, pencils, and notebooks to fuel Swallow Guesthouse’s commitment to assist small rural educational projects like Hold Their Hand in Munduk. Ady and team are doing a wonderful service with big hearts reaching out to the children high up in the volcanic mountain region where schooling is difficult to obtain. Let’s continue to help each other help! See you soon with more supplies!! -Geko Treker, Dec 2014

Letter of Appreciation

  Dear Suzan, Wow ! as in thank you friend terima kasih teman. Nyoman Adyasa is the Volunteer Balinese Manager of RAINBOW BEND – and his frontliners are all volunteers and they do an outstanding job within and around the villages of North Bali. There are many families up and around the rice fields and mountains that are like and sometimes forgotten that are extremely poor and cannot get enough money to have food or warm blanket and mattress and basic living needs. There are also children that need sponsoring so they can attend school and learn English. Learning English is the only way out of poverty in Bali. If you can read and write and speak English then you have a better chance of getting a job like a tour guide, a transport driver or working in the restaurants and villas. Many many poor families havent got the money to send their children to school because they need their children to help them in regard to earning enough money each day to feed themselves and they live day by day. So they collect firewood, cut grass from the side of the road and/or are caretakers of other peoples land. I have seen many many families living in this extreme poverty. I am so so grateful to you for wanting to help us to help them. Nyoman Adyasa and his frontliners have caring and compassionate hearts and are 100% honest with how the donations of money are spent. There is always a story and photo of a BEFORE HELP case and then another AFTER HELP photo and story. If you would like the details of the CHARITY ACCOUNT please email NYOMAN ADYASA and he will email you the details. We look forward to hearing from you soon. We are so grateful that you are so kind and compassionate and see the true need in the villages in and around Munduk. Rosalie Langley          
   

Tenzin North India

From: Tibetan Colony, Arunachal Pradesh, India TenzinI Tenzin chodak, 30yrs old was born and raised in Tenzin Goan a Tibetan colony Arunachal Pradesh. My family is a middle class where I was the smallest member. There was only one Tibetan elementary school in my village so after completing my elementary the school administration decided to send the batch to Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) Tibetan boarding Schools for further studies. Soon after one year I had decided to change the school because of the school environment where the newcomers students never welcome happily by the seniors, this is how my journey begins. After that I had decided to travel again heading towards south Karnataka to complete my High School which was far about 2300 km by train with my father, I think my parents always supported me and trusted the path which I choose for my education as I am the only person from my family who had completed graduation from Hyderabad. I think that is the reason how I had discovered my passion about travelling and meeting new people trying to gain more knowledge about different people, culture and the art of leaving their life.  
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After the graduation in Hotel management I decided to move in Delhi a capital city of India in hope of bright and a good opportunity where I had worked as a chef in two most popular hotels in India. After 3ys of struggling I got an opportunity to run my own Guest House with a Restaurant on lease in Bir Himachal Pradesh, where I can meet wonderful people around the world who comes for teachings, paragliding and tourists. its like my dream comes true, It is a very beautiful and calm place like my home town in Arunachal Pradesh but much developed village surrounded by own Tibetan people which comforts me the most. As I am a Buddhist, I believe in both faith and karma, thats how I met Suzan for the first time at my guest house in Bir. I remember our conversation about travelling to my home town Arunachal Pradesh, a rich cultural heritage with a deep sense of beauty. I cherish a visit together one day.          

Wayan

Pejeng, Bali

  Wayan“Salamat datang di REAL Bali, nama saya Wayan, Welcome to the REAL Bali, my name is Wayan. Senang bertumu anda! It’s nice to meet you! I want to be a Balinese cultural guide to show people from around the world how unique our culture is and for them to perhaps take some of our cultural philosophy back to their countries. I believe that this might help the world become a peaceful place without war. If all people practiced Nyepi, our Balinese New Year ceremony for example, global warming would be decreased and, people would respect the environment and each other more. I am very proud of the Balinese unique culture and would like to share it with people from around the world. Everyday life of the Balinese community and spiritual belief is linked with each other in a union we call Hindu Dharma. It is a mix of Hindu Siva brought to Java in the 11th century from India, and Hindu Buddha from the 14th century Majapahed Kingdom. This union helps to protect the people because we believe in no killing, no cruelty and no jealousy. We call this way of life, Karma. wayan3 I have been a tour guide in Bali for over 15 years, and now I work closely with Swallow Guesthouse to receive sponsored income to pay my 3 children’s high school fees. I wish my children to have a good life. Together with my wife Putri, who creates amazing meals for our foreign guests, we live in my fathers family compound with my two brothers families. One brother, Nyoman, has a small carp farm where guests can go and help feed and maintain the pond. There are a total of 15 family members coexisting in harmony in the small village next to our familys rice field and my father’s organic garden. He is an “organic fanatic!” This is where my mother and father raise their cows, pigs, and chicken. This is our families “plastic money” the traditional way of making money. We are mostly a self-sufficient family living like our ancestors. Unfortunately, modernity and tourism has brought price increases and a higher desire for modern things. I strongly hope that my job as a tour guide will help my children want keep our unique culture strong for many generations to come and to live a good and happy life for their karma.    

Geko Workshop Facilitators

 

Cristobal

Chile/Bali/Germany

Photography

 

CristobalGone West – Photographer/Filmmaker

Born and raised in the Chilean Patagonia, I’m a young curious human, on a mission to travel this world looking for hidden treasures. I moved to North Vancouver when I was 19 and continue to spend most time in the western mountain range, planning explorations and photographing nature. Travel photography is my strong point as I am in love with travelling. It allows me to document the things I see and save the stories behind the faces of those I meet. Currently I contribute to a beautiful organization called Gone West whose mission is to create a collective geographical guide of the planet. I hope to inspire others with the same ideals to create conscience about our planet by sharing whats captured threw our photographic lenses. By offering an On-Location Amateur Travel Photography Workshops with Gekotour.org, I hope to continue sharing skills, passion and stories with like-minded, environmental and cultural enthusiasts.
  NOTE FROM INSTRUCTOR: I would like to have a mission of the day for each day of the trip, and have a cool task for each day, to get the students really motivated to shoot and learn directly from experience. Of course theory is very important, but a better classroom setting is on-location with cultural and environmental subject matters. I encourage you to exchange learning by suggestive feedback in the group. Lets practice together!
   

Jeff

USA/Korea/Thailand

Yoga, English Instructor

  JeffAfter leaving my 12 year teaching career in South Korea, I’ve now been living in the mountains near Chiang Mai for several years attending fasting retreats, working at New Life Centre teaching Ayahuasca Yoga and meditation, and studying Reiki. Now I assist Chiang Mai Natural Healing Mountain Spa Retreat, a comfortable mountain Eco-Lodge set amoungst refreshingly cool wild jungle mountain streams and waterfalls in Northern Thailand. Here we engage clients in:
  • Healing: yoga / meditation / massage / reiki /natural detox therapies / spa
  • Cooking classes creating delicious healthy local Thai cuisine
  • Trekking and cycling to waterfalls and hot springs for swimming
  • Village tours to temples and hill tribes
Chiang Mai Natural Healing Mountain Spa Retreat    

Laura USA/Korea Cooking, Arts

  LauraHi. My name is Laura and I am so excited to be part of the Geko Tour team. I have known the Geko Treker, Suzan, since we met through mutual friends more than 15 years ago in South Korea. I have always enjoyed and found strength in her spirit of adventure, her sense of fun, and her enthusiasm for life. When Suzan asked me to join the team, not only was I flattered but a spark went off at the thought of being asked to do something I enjoy and feel so passionate about. Since I first went to Korea in 1995, I have spent most of my time overseas. I lived, worked, and explored Korea for a combined total of 16 years and I am starting another chapter there, soon. I have also lived in Rome, Italy where I spent every day walking through the incredible city. I am so dedicated to finding and eating just the right food that my favorite gelato shop was two and a half hours from where I lived. I know, because I walked it several times a week. When I travel, I like to take my time and absorb the area. I rarely travel for less than a month at a time. Other places that I have traveled to for extended periods in include China, Thailand, Morocco, and Argentina. I have also visited the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Spain, Amsterdam, and Japan. My culinary influences and tastes reflect all these places. In Korea, I discovered a beautiful country with warm people and amazing food. Once I bought my own car, there were no roads too small for me to explore. Despite my off-road tendencies, I only found myself stuck in a rice paddy once. Through my two-track exploring, I discovered treasures of Korea most visitors do not know exist and I would love to share them with you. Some of my favorite Korean foods include hobakjun (pumpkin pancake), dalkgalbi (spicy chicken stir-fry), and samgaetang (chicken soup). Of course, I am also often found making my own kimchi. I cannot wait to get you into the restaurants and kitchens of my favorite places as we discover Korean cuisine together.