Mai Journeys is passionate about crafting authentic journeys to remarkable places for Women. We specialize in unique travel options that span the globe – from Ushuaia to Auckland. We design journeys for small groups, individuals, families and friends.
We are a small company comprised of a group of incredibly passionate people who draw on a huge collective global experience. We offer a way of traveling that is mindful and engaging, providing amazing opportunities to connect with incredibly diverse places, cultures and people. We want you to immerse yourself in ancient cultures, local communities and customs, and develop appreciation, mutual respect and understanding.
We truly believe that enriching travel experiences come from an understanding of place; a personal experience rewarded in a single moment that you would otherwise never have.
We work with people who share the same travel ethos – to offer amazing journeys and experiences to those who seek them out. We set out to be distinctive and innovative, so with our partners – top experiential operators and destination experts – we will continue to offer inspiring destinations, craft authentic journeys and tailor new ways for you to discover the world. This website reflects decades of our own first hand travel experiences and brings together extraordinary adventures, unique & boutique accommodation and some of the best retreats available.
I have been traveling ever since I was a child. I circumnavigated Australia with my family in a caravan when I was young, re-did most of that journey in my late teens as a backpacker, traveled Europe, settled enough to study Fine Arts at a Sydney Art School, then bought a one way ticket to America. From New York to New Orleans, I then hopped a plane for Mexico. It was after traveling through Mexico, Central America and Cuba that I decided I wanted to work in the Travel Industry. Somehow, someway. I started as a Guide in Latin America then moved to England where I worked for two specialist tour operators over many years in an Operations capacity. Whilst living in London, whenever a spare moment presented itself, I packed my bags and explored a new corner of the world: Southern, Eastern and Northern Africa, South America, the Galapagos Islands, East & Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
I have always wanted to be a Travel Specialist in the truest sense of the word. After all my (continuous) travels and years working at all levels of the Industry, I am confident in my expertise and my recommendations. I give insights based on my own experiences, and offer advice based on my encounters. I have a love of art, architecture, photography, food and market shopping; and an absolute belief in traveling well – and traveling within the realms of what is ‘right for you’. I absolutely love encouraging experiential travel and am passionate about cultural exploration, adventure and the exotic. Travel has changed me. It has educated me. It has humbled me.
Jemma will be Hosting the following tours in 2018 | 2019 –
Late Autumn Japan in November 2018
NZ North Island Wine Tour in TBC 2019
Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia in June 2019
Classic Vietnam – in June 2019
Yoga, Culture & Cuisine in July 2019 (Co-Host)
Argentina & Antarctica Explorer – November 2019
As one of the most revered symbols of all time, the lotus flower is held sacred by many cultures and people throughout the world. It is a prominent figure in Buddhist & Egyptian culture, and a native flower for India, Vietnam & Cambodia. Of all the lotus flower symbolism, rebirth and purity are perhaps the most powerful symbols of all. This is because the lotus rises from muddy waters and blooms as a brilliantly pure, gorgeous flower. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and — undeterred by its dirty environment — it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals. The lotus as a symbol shows us that we can overcome even the most difficult of circumstances and feel the innate beauty life can offer. It continues to resurrect itself, coming back just as beautiful as it was last seen. With such refusal to accept defeat, it’s almost impossible not to associate this flower with unwavering strength and eloquence.
And that ladies, is just like you, just like me, just like us…..
Megan’s journeys began at age 19, when she left New Zealand for a trip across the USA from Los Angeles to New York in a Pontiac station wagon. It was then on to the UK to 2 years where enough work was done to sustain her travels throughout Europe. She then went on a 6 month overland trip through the Middle East and Africa and finally arrived back to New Zealand. Being so passionate about travel, it was a natural progression for her to seek employment in the industry. So her first role in Travel began, and 17 years later she continues in the field that she loves. Her travels to date have spanned all seven continents, including over 60 countries. Asia remains a favourite region – with gorgeous boutique accommodation options, great food, lovely people, and such diverse landscapes to photograph. And of course, you can afford to have a massage every day.
Travels these days are somewhat different with a toddler in tow, but she now enjoys seeing the world through the eyes of her daughter and looks forward to sharing some of her favourite destinations with her – and experiencing some new ones too. Megan is based in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
Sarah’s passion for globetrotting began early, traveling with her parents who instilled in her a spirit of adventure. On graduating from college with a degree in Hospitality Management and Tourism she winged her way to India and on to Africa where she spent 7 months traversing the continent, followed by a stint backpacking through Europe. When the money ran out she returned to Australia and joined the team at The Classic Safari Company in Australia, becoming a Director in 2002. Together with founding director Julie McIntosh, Sarah built a formidable company that creates exceptional itineraries for discerning travelers. Over the years Sarah has traveled to all seven continents, visited over 58 countries and has honed her haggling skills to perfection around the world.
She is happiest when she is shopping in an Indian bazaar and sharing her vast knowledge and fervent love of exotic destinations with clients. Sarah has spent years traveling to incredible India and looks forward to sharing this extraordinary destination with you.
For Andrea, a truly wonderful travel industry career that has spanned over 30 years has led to a life-long passion for travel which has never abated.
Many happy years have been spent exploring the 4 corners of the earth and she still finds there is not enough time to see it all. She loves sharing her passion for travel with her guests and clients whenever and wherever she can. Her commitment is to Escort high-quality and stylish tours that give women the opportunity to discover new places or maybe some old favourites; meet new friends or reconnect with old friends; and provide the space to indulge in some much needed ‘you’ time. Whether travelling with girlfriends, family or solo, Andrea provides an environment that takes care of everything and allows you to experience, rejuvenate and connect. (And she also makes sure there is plenty of time for a glass of bubbles and a cocktail or 3 throughout……..). Andrea, a true Travelling Diva, is based in Brisbane, Australia.
Christine is a chef and published author. She escorts specialist small group journeys to the world’s most tantalising foodie destinations. As a chef and author, she is constantly on the hunt for authentic and interesting food experiences; this informs how she travel and the places she likes to visit. She is a global citizen and likes to explore new horizons, take on challenges and revisit favourite destinations on a regular basis – and is fortunate enough to be able to do that through her work. Being a big fan of experiential travel, she is immensely proud to share these adventures with like minded people. ‘Life’s too short to waste on the ordinary and mundane. Going out on a limb is a favourite pastime, don’t die wondering’ is her motto in life.
Christine will be Hosting the following Food Safaris in 2018 & 2019 –
Gauchos & Gastronomy in October 2018
Southern India Spice Journey in November 2019
CJ has been practicing yoga for 20 years and has turned this love of yoga into a lifestyle and business.
She is trained in the style of Vinyasa, but through her years of practicing and teaching she has adapted her classes to be more a fusion style which she tailors to suit everyone from absolute beginners to the very experienced. She breaks the “yoga mould” teaching in a modern, relatable way, delivering classes with a smile and a sense of humour. Her classes are a space where people from all walks of life, shapes and ages can have an experience of yoga that uplifts them, strengthens their body and mind.
She is also trained to deliver Yoga Nidra (also known as the sleep of yogi’s). This is a guided meditation that allows the body to relax, the senses to withdraw and the mind to settle; styles of meditation that leave the participant feeling grounded, calm and happy of mind and heart.
CJ will be Co-hosting the following Retreat in 2019 –
Yoga, Culture & Cuisine in Laos in June 2019
Natalie Miller is a registered architect, interior designer, and textile artist. With 25 years in the interior design industry with a focus on textiles, carpet and fabric design, Natalie has explored how textiles can transform architectural spaces. Known for her sell-out workshops on tapestry weaving, heddle loom weaving, macramé, knitting and natural dyeing, Natalie is a master of all things in the woven and fabric worlds. Driven by reviving the beauty of hand making, Natalie is fascinated by the different cultural approaches to dying, weaving and creating textiles. Over the past 5 years Natalie has taught over 4,000 students throughout Australia, Hong Kong, Bali, Thailand, Singapore, Paris, Japan, New York and Columbus. Having led textile tours and retreats in Thailand, Bali and Japan, this will be Natalie’s first trip in India. Along with other notable collaborations, she has worked with other artists for fashion labels and installations for brands including Romance Was Born and The Woolmark Company. Her extensive training includes studying tapestry weaving at Sturt Art and Craft centre, Saori weaving at Saorinomori with Kenzo Jo in Japan and Batik dyeing in Bali. She has been featured in Elle Decoration, The Design Files,CountryStyle, Women’sWeekly and Instyle, to name a few.
Natalie will be Hosting the following Specialist Tour in 2018 –
India Unravelled in September 2018
Natasha fell in love with India as a child. On her bookshelf was a beautiful copy of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’, bound in royal blue leather, with the cover and spine embossed in gold and delicate pages filled. This book is now over 100 years old and she is still enchanted by the exotic stories of India.
Her travels in India are ongoing (and she is not sure they will ever stop) and to date she has journeyed across Northern India, been blessed in Varanasi and still thinks that there is nothing quite like enjoying freshly squeezed pineapple juice while relaxing on the backwaters of Kerala. For 10 years Natasha has been helping travellers experience travel that is unique and meaningful and for the last two this has been at the helm of her own wholesale travel company which specialises in the Indian Subcontinent. Natasha is based in Cromwell, Central Otago.
Natasha will be Hosting the following tour in 2019 –
Fabric, Food & HOLI India tour in March 2019.
Zoe was born in Scotland, but during her childhood lived in Greece, Bahrain and Canada before settling in England with her family. She worked for several years in London in the film industry, scouting locations and co-ordinating shoots, events and commercials. However after the 2004 Boxing day Tsunami, she was inspired to travel to Sri Lanka and volunteer to teach English in a village on the South coast. She quickly fell in love with the children, cuisine, landscapes, colours, and way of life, thus falling under the island’s spell. After a few months she took the plunge to move to Sri Lanka full time and never looked back. She lived there for over 4 years knows the country inside out. Over the years she has created intricate tours, and guided groups of solo women, special interest groups, and incentives. Her personal travel experience is vast having trekked Mount Kilimanjaro, worked a ski season in Whistler, enjoyed wine tasting tours in Argentina, and attended music festivals in Serbia and Spain. She has island hopped in Greece and danced to Brazilian beats in Rio..And has most recently travelled/co-hosted through Croatia and Russia.
Zoe will be Hosting the following Tour(s) in 2019 –
Sharareh (Shah) is our girl on the Ground in Iran. She is also our sometime Guide.
She was born in 1977 in Tehran, and studied a Bachelor in translation English to Persian and Geography at the Azad University of Tehran. She then started working in marketing for Incoming tours to Iran in 2001. She wanted to further herself in the Travel Industry, so she then studied Tourism Management at the Alameh Tabatabei University of Tehran.
Shah has traveled Iran several times – in different seasons – so she knows each area well, and the best locations for her Groups. Her main love is designing Special Interest tours for different markets.
She loves the Women Only tours we design together because, as an Iranian women, she feels we should know the capacity and capabilities of Iranian women, and of course, their restrictions. ‘Women in Iran have a different world in comparison to European women, and I try to show this to our Guests visiting Iran. Each Tour I design is like a painting for me and I try to show the very best of Persia’
A Phnom Penh native, Chanda has been guiding in and around the area since her early 20s, showing her guests the most exciting hidden corners of the vibrant capital city. She originally used her guiding to put herself through university, obtaining a Bachelor’s in Tourism management in 2006. Chanda is an avid reader in her spare time, devouring books, magazines, and newspapers in English.
We first met Ms Chanda in 2016 on our Boutique Cambodia tour, and she became a firm favourite because of her knowledge, her presence and her willingness to show us the best that Cambodia has to offer.