Joshua

Joshua Canter
Founder and Director

Joshua is the Founder and Director of True Nature. Growing up in Los Angeles, he was worlds away from the small village of La Florida, Costa Rica, where True Nature began as an Intentional Community and Retreat Center in 2003. Along with traveling the world while supporting and leading retreats, Joshua also is a teacher of Mindfulness Meditation, a writer, musician, and holds a Masters in Contemplative Psychology. In the past few years, his practice has shifted with a focus on the Yoga of Raising Family. Joshua lives in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Luna and two daughters Jaya and Sasha.

Joshua’s True Nature
My True Nature lies in the depth of the present moment. Whether I am on a silent retreat, snowboarding a peak in the Sierra’s, engaged in a competitive tennis match, or dancing with my daughter; I am most alive, when I in the Here and Now, living my life.

Sarah

Sarah Dittmore
Director of Operations

Sarah’s love of travel started when she was ten years old and went on a family trip to Europe. She has been traveling ever since and is always eager for another adventure. Sarah has been to 30+ countries and is constantly yearning to add more to her list. In 2015 Sarah realized she did not only want to see the world, she wanted to help others enjoy incredible global adventures. That’s what drew her to True Nature Travels, and she loves sharing her enthusiasm for travel and love of adventure with everyone who passes through True Nature’s doors. Sarah’s other loves include writing, dogs, tea, yoga, rock climbing, hiking, and anything else that lets her get outside (preferably with bare feet).

Sarah’s True Nature
Adventure, through and through. I am happiest when I am pushing my limits and trying something new. Whether it’s navigating the bustling markets in Accra, Ghana, wine tasting in the Italian countryside, or spending a meditative week solo-backpacking in the Scottish highlands, there’s nothing like a new adventure to put a smile on my face.

Christine Thoemke

Christine Thoemke
Manager of Teacher Operations

Christine is a born-and-raised Minnesotan who gave up on endless winters and made her home in Asheville, North Carolina. She's an organized and somewhat serious Capricorn who tries to punctuate her day with laughter. Her life's greatest blessing (and the source of much of her laughter) is her toddler son, Kai. In previous lives, Christine studied English Literature, bottle-fed baby lambs on a farm in Flat Rock, Alabama, lived and worked at a rustic backpacker lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, completed her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification, and managed a busy yoga studio and teacher training facility. She loves IPA beer, NPR podcasts, and comic Louie C.K.

Christine’s True Nature
To be nurturing. My life is most meaningful and mindful when I nurture--through self-care, through motherhood, even by looking after the details of your retreat. Cultivating a spirit and attitude of nurturance in all areas of my a life allows me to connect with my True Nature.

Christine Stahr

Christine Stahr
Director of Marketing and Outreach

Typically found behind her camera, sleeping in tents, covered in dirt or sand, and on her bike, Christine Stahr is an outdoor adventurer passionate about connecting and co-creating stories, ideas, and brands. Formerly a creative director in the fast-paced world of Los Angeles, she followed her calling, returning to her southern roots to pursue a more spiritual path. She brings her robust experience, love of adventure, enthusiasm, and creativity to each and every client. Focused on creating a global community; she strives each and every day to create and play!

Christine’s True Nature
Feeling alive in every sense of the word. To me this means embracing change and exploration through connecting with new people, seeing new places, and diving deep within ourselves.

Lizzy Gerson

Lizzy Gerson
Director of Project Management

Lizzy has been part of the TN Team since she moved back to Asheville in 2014. Previously she had lived in Guatemala for the past 19 years. Lizzy has over 35 years of business experience in organization development, staff management, and operations. She has worked at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Villa Sumaya Retreat Center, and Fortune 100 companies along with her own consultant business. She is a single mom and lives with her son, Myles. Lizzy has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 30 years and brings the fruits of her practice into all aspects of her life.
Lizzy’s True Nature
When I am in the moment, open and really being authentic with myself and others, I am being true to my nature.

Prema

Prema
Director of Participant Operations

Prema's has years of experience in the travel and retreat industry including being a retreat reservations manager, business development director and  destination representative. Her passion for handmade goods and appreciation for Mayan artisans is what ignited Deva Prema Designs;  her design and production company for jewelry and bags. She has lived and worked in Latin America for over 30 years and currently lives on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala with her husband and son.

Prema’s True Nature
Creativity, jewelry design, cooking and planning community events are some of the ways that I like to express my creative drive.

Alexandra-Ross-Bio

Alexandra Ross
Operations Manager

Alexandra is thrilled to be working with True Nature! As a Yoga Teacher and Artist with a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health, work experience at the Environmental Protection Agency, and a passion for travel, her life’s path weaves into the mission and values of True Nature Travels. Since first traveling to Costa Rica at the age of fourteen to study ecology at remote biological field stations, she saw the power that experiential travel abroad has on one’s growth. Since then, she has worked the organic fields of a spiritual and intentional community and continued to travel, immersing herself in the local cultures.

Alexandra’s True Nature
Outdoor adventures! Whether it be a long hike up a mountain, drawing the wildlife, working in an organic garden, or teaching or doing yoga outdoors, I am most alive when I am connected to nature.

raylene-02

Raylene Gerber
Senior Abroad Leader

Raylene has shared the wonders of the world, aka science, with students for over thirty years in public education.  She has lead trips locally and abroad that allow students to step out of their comfort zone, walk in the shoes of a scientist, ponder career choices, serve others, and experience new cultures.  With a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master's Degree in the Art of Teaching, and a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification, Raylene embraces a life-long love of learning.  She currently resides in Ohio with her husband Tim, Macks, (13 year old Australian Shepherd), and Ringo ( 4 year old Labradoodle).  Her two daughters Rashell and Shaina live in the same town.

Raylene’s True Nature
Found in helping others discover their gifts and lovingly planting seeds of consciousness.

jenny-oviedo

Jenny Oviedo
Senior International Guide

Jenny is a naturalist tour guide who loves her job and enjoys sharing her knowledge with new friends. Her love for nature, people, and languages has given her the opportunity to be involved in many people's experiences around the world. Her academic adventure in life started with her first major, which was a bachelors degree in English as a Second Language from the University of Costa Rica. Jenny enjoys spending time with her son, going to the movies, running, hiking, and traveling.

Jenny's True Nature
When I'm able to relax and enjoy the moment. I've learned that life is very beautiful if you just let go of your worries and trust that everything is gonna be fine. The universe has great things for all of us; we just need to be open enough to actually see it.

Marcela Leon of True Nature Travel holds flower while on yoga retreat.

Marcela Leon
Senior International Guide

I am a naturalist guide in Costa Rica and have loved nature since I was a little girl. I love to share my culture with people and share those moments of discovery we all have when we travel. I love photography and high impact training as well as pilates, yoga, hiking, and traveling.

Marcela's True Nature
Comes from learning about native traditions and the beautiful way people live life and the connection they have with nature.
I like to take a little bit from teachings and traditions around the world, helping me to become a better person and to help others to feel good and happy every day.

Julian Sasari Senior International Guide Peru

Julian Sasari
Senior International Guide (Peru)

Julian is an Andean guide from Peru who has spent his life connecting with the spiritual wisdom of his ancestors and now shares those experiences with others. Growing up in a small Quechua village south of Cusco grounded him with a deep sense of community and a profound respect for Pachamama (mother earth) and the Apus (mountain spirits).

Julian's True Nature
Tending his family's land and exploring the healing potential of plant medicines.