JOURNEYS USA Staff
(a.k.a. The Best Travel Planners on the Planet)
This team works in our Ann Arbor, Michigan, office to create and coordinate your dream adventures.
Robin Weber Pollak
Since age four I have explored the world on JOURNEYS adventures, traveling with my parents, the founders of JOURNEYS, and my brother Noah. I earned a BA in psychology from Carleton College and an MBA from The George Washington University. I spent five years working in experiential education, directing service-learning and leadership development programs, until I realized that the greatest way to pursue my passion for crafting impactful experiences lay in our exhilarating family business. It is my greatest privilege to help travelers expand their perspectives in awesome ways.
In adventures both near and far from home, I love hiking, colorful things, the ever-changing sky, and playing in bodies of water. Hiking the W in Chilean Patagonia, dying original batik textiles in a craft village in Thailand, star-gazing from a swag in the Australian outback, and swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos are among my most delightful memories. But there are so many more places and ideas to explore. Join me?
I have enjoyed travel, natural history and birding in particular since my childhood. I like to get comfortably lost in new places and find my way back by asking questions, observing the terrain and listening to the environmental rhythms. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1970 and spent three years as a teacher and environmental specialist in the Peace Corps in Nepal. Later, I returned to the U.S. to receive my Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Michigan. I have been fortunate to visit most of the destinations you find on these pages, whether with my family, solo, or with a JOURNEYS group.
JOURNEYS International has been my life's work. My husband Will Weber and I launched the company with a trek in Nepal in 1978. With our dear friend Pemba Tsering Sherpa we developed a vision of small-group travel that would contribute to environmental and cultural preservation. Over more than three decades, we expanded our reach to dozens of countries while maintaining our commitment to innovation and personal connection. I'd always expected to work in the field of education, and JOURNEYS has allowed me to do this in the most creative and fulfilling way, with the world as my classroom. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, attended Mount Holyoke College for my B.A. and the University of Pennsylvania for my Masters Degree, and then went on to obtain my Ph.D. in psychology and education from the University of Michigan. After obtaining our doctorates, Will and I stayed in Ann Arbor where we've built a loyal and enthusiastic office team and raised two children. Our son Noah is now a high school teacher, and our daughter Robin is now President of JOURNEYS.
Accounts and Special Trips
As Director of Client Services, I work with our alumni travelers and staff to ensure continued excellent customer service as well as assist with the planning of our JOURNEYS Signature Trips and family programs. Traveling with my three children gets us away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and brings us closer together - you can’t put a price on that! My favorite trips will always include lots of hiking and wildlife. Working at JOURNEYS has rewarded me with the opportunity to foster friendships with people all over the world. I never dreamed that one day I’d be lucky enough to welcome visitors from Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Madagascar, and Burma into my home.
Graphics and IT Services
I started with JOURNEYS in 1990 doing data entry/communications. While getting my degree in Graphic Design, I developed and organized our Graphics Department. I have been an avid Mac enthusiast since 1988 and enjoy keeping our computers running smoothly and assisting the staff with hardware, software and network support. From print publications to web design to database management to keeping our internet connection up and running, I stay busy and wear many hats. "I don't know, ask Tom" seem to be the standard answer to many questions around the office. In my "free" time outside of JOURNEYS I have many hobbies including pencil drawings for commemorative plates, playing bass and guitar, video editing and audio recording and sequencing. I enjoy spending time with my two grown children, their spouses and grandson, as well as, cycling, hiking and watching movies.
I joined the JOURNEYS team in 1996, when my youngest son was just an infant. Canada was just about the only distant land I’d set foot in, so it’s no exaggeration to say that my life has completely changed since then. Learning about other cultures and exploring unfamiliar territory has become a passion, and I have made close friends across the globe.
When I’m not riding elephants in Sri Lanka, hiking in the Himalayas, or exchanging ideas with local people throughout Asia, I’m spending time at home with my two sons, Phillip and Adam and my husband, Tom. We live on a lake, and together, we enjoy boating in the summer, curling in the winter, and gathering with our closest friends. I also enjoy bike riding and reading, but my favorite hobby is baking theme cakes. My most interesting creation was probably a "Himalaya" scene cake I made for Pat Ballard when she retired from JOURNEYS.
Latin America & Pacific Programs
As one of 22 siblings (yes, I said 22!) I grew up with parents who had compassionate hearts and adopted 18 children, making us one big, mostly happy family. My first experience with international travel was in college, when I participated in a three-week study trip to Belize and Guatemala and it opened my eyes to an amazing world.
After twelve years of teaching, my life path led me to JOURNEYS International. Over the course of my eight years here I’ve had some amazing experiences. From snorkeling in the Galapagos to white water rafting in Costa Rica, exploring Machu Picchu in Peru, meeting orangutans face to face in Indonesia, and participating in Guatemala’s Semana Santa Festival... just to name a few. Words can’t describe how these experiences have impacted me and opened my heart, to a beautiful and colorful world.
The first trip I remember taking was a canoeing trip with my family in the Canadian wilderness when I was three. I have since traveled farther from home - throughout Europe, to destinations in Africa and Central America, and to India. Whether atop Kilimanjaro’s 19,340-foot-high Uhuru Peak or along the sea-level shores of our home state’s Lake Michigan, I am where I need to be. My tenure at JOURNEYS allows me to explore the world, its cultures, wildlife and landscapes, political and geographic. It keeps me engaged in the issues important to me, while affording me the opportunity to explore the hallowed ground the world over.
My new mantra is open heart, open mind, open trail.
Client Services, Polar & Oceania Programs
Who would have ever guessed that after 28 years in the pharmaceutical industry, the encore to my career would lead me to JOURNEYS International? Perhaps my work at Pfizer should have provided a hint that I was headed in that direction. My most motivating assignments always included work in other countries and I was privileged to be able not only to work in Freiburg, Germany for a year, but also to complete a Pfizer Global Health Fellowship in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I even spent my junior year of college studying abroad in Muenster, Germany.
My travels have led me all over the world I have snorkeled in the Galapagos Islands, ballooned over Cappadocia in Turkey, sailed through the Panama Canal, crossed the Atlas Mountains in Morocco by bus, seen the wild dogs in Selous, and identified spice plants on Zanzibar... and I am only getting started!
From the time I was eighteen years old, I’ve been busy diving head first into international travel. From exploring India to serving as an au pair in Italy and teaching English in Taiwan, it’s been a breathtaking whirlwind. Working in the travel industry reminds me what matters-- and it’s not how much stuff I have or how I measure up to society’s standards. Now just 25 years old, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Buddhist caves in India, snorkel in marine sanctuaries in the Philippines, trek the dense jungles of Malaysia, walk the narrow streets of Barcelona at dawn, eat chicken butts from a market in Thailand, and ride my scooter up a mountain in Taiwan during a typhoon. My motto? “The world is my oyster and I eat it raw.”
Before I was a lawyer, I went to summer camp. I spent 14 summers at Greene Family Camp in central Texas, rising from camper to counselor to adventure director and, eventually, I ended up at camp full time as the assistant camp director. I traveled with camp groups in Europe and Israel as a participant and later as a group leader. I received my B.A. (and, later, my J.D.) from the George Washington University and had the good fortune to marry into this family business in 2009. Trips with JOURNEYS to Costa Rica, South Africa, Namibia, Turkey, and Patagonia have offered plenty of opportunities to put my rock-climbing and group leading experience to work!