20 Questions with Kelsea

Kelsea Lee

Africa Expert, Conservation Outreach Manager & Marketing
Team member since 2012

What’s your hometown?
Eugene, Oregon

What’s your favorite thing about working at Mango?
Getting to travel and explore new destinations, of course! But also, the fun and energetic work environment

Why do you love to travel?
The world is far too extraordinary to stay in one place! There are so many cultures to experience, places to see, foods to try, trails to hike and cities to explore.

What’s your favorite destination in Africa and why?
I love Madagascar because it’s truly like nowhere else on Earth. It feels like a hidden world forgotten by time, where nature retreated to do her most creative experimentation in form and function. Over 90% of the plants and animals are found nowhere else. The landscapes and marine ecosystems are equally incredible too, so you’ll never run out of amazing things to see.

What’s your favorite destination outside of Africa and why?
Antarctica is one of the most special places I’ve ever been to. Words can’t do the landscapes justice and seeing thousands of penguins parading along at once is possibly one of the most charming wildlife experiences you can have. Seeing all of the whales and dolphins amid the icebergs is very memorable too. If you ever get a chance to go, I strongly recommend taking the icy plunge and going scuba diving. Hearing the humpbacks singing and the giant icebergs creaking and cracking is amazing!

What’s your dream trip for 2020?
I would love to go to Japan for the Olympics then eat my way through the rest of the country afterward. Bring on all the sushi, tempura, udon and gyoza! Or I would love to explore the landscapes of the Central Asian Steppe – Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

What’s the best thing you ever ate while traveling?
Greek salad in Oia with homemade feta and olive oil, and peak season vegetables picked right from the garden, still warm from the sun

What’s your most memorable wildlife sighting in Africa?
We were sitting down for dinner under the stars in South Luangwa, Zambia when all of a sudden, we heard a resident female and young male lion mating behind the tent immediately next to the dining area. That was memorable enough, but then the dominant male caught wind of what was happening and came in to fight the younger male and chase him off. All of this was unfolding about 50 feet away from us while our guide had us crouching down behind the table!

What’s the most unique souvenir you’ve ever brought home from a trip?
Paintbrushes with parrot feathers instead of bristles from the Venezuelan rainforest

What 5 things are always in your carry-on bag?
Lip balm, unscented hand lotion, wet wipes, phone charger and headphones.

What’s the foreign currency you have the most of floating around at home?
Madagascan ariary and Venezuelan bolívares

What’s your top travel tip?
Always bring a full change of clothes and some extra underwear with you in your carry-on! You never know when delays or lost baggage will occur.

What’s your favorite animal?
Bumblebees! I did a fair bit of research on pollinators and gained the nickname ‘Crazy Bee Lady’ amongst my friends.

What do you love to do outside of travel?
I love cooking new recipes, perusing farmers markets, going for trail runs, going to Portland Timbers games and doing pub trivia or board game nights with my friends.

What’s your go-to drink for sundowners?
Either a good local beer or a gin and tonic with extra lime

What’s your favorite movie or book?
I love anything written by Barbara Kingsolver.

What’s your favorite food?
Chicken pho with all the fresh herbs and lime – delicious in every season!

What pets do you have?
I have a lot of high maintenance houseplants…do those count?

What’s your perfect summer day?
Early morning trail run in Forest Park followed by stocking up at the farmers market with all of the seasonal produce. Spend the afternoon at the river with friends, then all head home for a big evening of grilling and enjoying all those farmers market goodies. End the night with a backyard campfire, s’mores and drinks. 

What’s your guilty pleasure movie?
I’m a sucker for the 80s rom coms. I love Sleepless in Seattle and Dirty Dancing.




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