Julie Banks

Trip Coordinator

Emboldened | Spirited | Kindhearted

Julie Banks is a South Georgia native with a restless spirit and a never-ending need for adventure. Her endless curiosity has taken her to all corners of the earth, from farming rare, medicinal herbs in the Appalachian hills to assisting the conservation efforts of the elusive giant river otters of the Rupununi River in Guyana.

Through her own diverse experiences, an unwavering commitment to conservation, and her attention to detail—three things that make her an asset to the Extraordinary Journeys team—Julie applies her passion for travel to her work. Julie believes that travel transcends mere exploration; it’s a transformative journey that holds the potential to shape perspectives and ignite a profound sense of responsibility for the planet. One of the most compelling aspects of travel is its ability to evoke empathy. When individuals immerse themselves in the lush rainforests of Costa Rica or witness elephants in the savannas of Africa, they don’t just see nature; they feel it. These firsthand experiences evoke emotions that transcend words, forging a bond between the traveler and the natural world.

Julie currently lives in Bozeman, Montana, where she spends her downtime leading pack mules into the wild mountains of the Northwest and learning to cross-country ski with her dogs. She’s also a keen photographer. And when she’s not planning her next adventure, she’s trying to capture the world through as many different lenses as possible.

As a farmer, I believe that immersing yourself in the local heritage of culinary traditions is the only way to truly experience a place and its people.

My Greatest Adventure

My favorite way to travel is through food. For me, exploring the world’s diverse cultures and traditions is intricately woven with the tapestry of local cuisines. Whether it’s chicken curry in Guyana, pho in Hanoi, or bison burgers in Montana, the next meal always curates the next move.

When I travel, I’m looking for a truly authentic adventure that not only satisfies my taste buds but also enriches my understanding of global cultures. Engaging with local ingredients, savoring authentic dishes, and discovering the local stories behind them are always the highlights of my travels. As a farmer, I believe that immersing yourself in the local heritage of culinary traditions is the only way to truly experience a place and its people.

My Favorite Destinations

The Maasai Mara in Kenya. The Maasai people are truly remarkable. There is such an energy there that I had never experienced before. The connection between people and their land is palpable and it was an honor to walk among them and share in some of their traditions. For wildlife, the game drives are spectacular, too. You can see lion, elephant, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, crocodiles, antelope, and so much more with minimal effort—it feels like every drive you see something new.

Whether it’s your first time in East Africa or a return visit, the Maasai Mara has so much to offer. It’s also really easy to combine with other fantastic East Africa experiences, such as gorilla trekking in Uganda, the Kenyan coast, and the Serengeti in Tanzania.

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