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Meet Michael D’Amico of Global Basecamps in Encinitas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael D’Amico.

Michael, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Co-founder Sebastian Riedel and myself shared a passion for exploring and discovering “off the beaten path” travel destinations over the years, and we wanted to share them with like-minded travelers. Our idea was to take what we had learned and plan authentic experiences for others. It’s a rewarding feeling helping others create memorable experiences, that’s the heart of our business. We originally started in a small office on Highway 101 in Leucadia in 2007, with just a few employees. The business has grown organically over the years one client at a time.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We’ve definitely taken our lumps over the years, and learned from them. With any type of travel, especially international travel, there’s always a bunch of moving parts, and even the moving parts move sometimes. Logistics can be tricky, so we’ve learned how to adjust itineraries as needed during travel if things come up. It doesn’t happen very often but does happen. A client may get sick or miss a flight, and we’ll need to adjust they’re itinerary as needed.

Also building a network of like-minded partners worldwide is something that takes time. We only use operators and guide services that are owned and operated by the local people, ensuring a positive impact on the environment, culture and economy of the destination. It’s not easy to find partners in every corner of the world who support our values and sustainable tourism. We’ve build long-standing family type relationships with our operators and that’s something that doesn’t happen overnight.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Global Basecamps – what should we know?
Our business is for independent travelers seeking authentic experiences, we’re a specialized tour operator that provides unique access to destinations worldwide and unlike traditional travel providers, Global Basecamps offers an unprecedented combination of planning and service to create the perfect journey while ensuring there’s no negative impacts on your destination. Every itinerary we build is custom-made to the interests and travel style of the client, they’re not just cookie-cutter type trips where the operator is cycling people through the same itinerary group after group, it’s 100% authentic to what you want to experience.

I think we’re best known for the unique product offering as well as our high level of customer service while doing our part to support local communities, and that’s a big deal. A lot of unsustainable international travel never actually benefits the people and economy of your destination, the proceeds many times leave the area immediately going to owners in other countries, never to be seen by the local community.

One example of our support for the destinations we serve was our 2015 clean water initiative of bringing water filter to the 105 families of the Kampong Khleang village community near Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. We encourage our travelers visiting Cambodia to set aside room in their luggage for a special delivery of a water filter, provided by our partners at Waves for Water. During their time in Siem Reap, our travelers visit the Kampong Khleang village and deliver their water filter to an awaiting family. This is one of Global Basecamps’ most measurable methods of giving back to the destinations in which we travel. Since 2015 our travelers have delivered over 115 water filters to Cambodian families in need of clean water, and that’s something we’re really proud of.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’d have to say Meagan Yash, one of our first travel specialists has played a major role in our success. She’s spent many years exploring the world in search of adventure and has planned thousands of unique and profound travel experiences for our clients over the past 10 years. Meagan has a Masters in International Development and Economics and combines her life’s two passions in her daily work – travel and sustainable development in growing economies.

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