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.


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.

Caroline Staff

Caroline Eckhoff
Participant Operations Coordinator

Caroline grew up traveling the globe. Her journeys inspired her studies and University of Utah degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management. She is passionate about helping people realize infinite benefits and achieve personal transformation through travel and tourism. Caroline spends her days letting her soul run free in the mountains of Utah, practicing yoga, and embracing everything offered by the outdoor world. Working with True Nature gives her opportunities to share new experiences around the globe.

Caroline's True Nature
Spending time in nature! Including but not limited to skiing, paddle boarding, camping, and connecting with my own nature.

Sam Staff page

Sam Caldwell
Content, Design, and Social Media Specialist

After years of living in South Florida, Sam traded the sunny beaches for the blissful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. After getting her start in media production, she moved towards marketing as a way to help create an image from a vision.  Sam spends her days playing roller derby, rock climbing, jamming on the guitar, and adventuring the blue ridge mountains with her sweet pup, Kali. True Nature creates a space for Sam to combine her passions of exploration and creativity!

Sam's True Nature
Searching for new adventures and new perspectives! I love immersing myself in nature and using creativity, such as photography, to capture and translate that moment. 


Sara LaStella
Retreat Coordinator

Sara grew up in the mountains of Montana and moved to the California coast as a young adult before finally settling into the quiet ancient mountains of Asheville.  A yoga teacher since 2007, Sara has led many of her own wellness retreats, helping her gain the tools to assist others on their travel adventures. In 2016, she built the Love♡Shine♡Play festival alongside Amanda Hale and continues to create the festival each summer in Asheville. Her own travels have taken her all across the globe ~ though her true spirit is happiest at home. When she's not working, she spends her time with her husband and two daughters enjoying the quiet mountains of Asheville.

Sara’s True Nature
Creating art in any form, but especially acrylic, and watching her children grow, learn and love as they walk through the world.


Claire Good
Retreat Coordinator

Claire grew up in Northeast England. Her childhood family vacations in the Greek Isles inspired her passion for exploring other countries and cultures. In school, Claire studied French and German, and lived in Germany for four years.  After living and traveling throughout Europe, in 1991, Claire finally settled in America to raise her beautiful daughter. Drawn equally by glorious mountain living and the city’s culture, Claire moved from Dayton, OH to Asheville, NC in 2019. Claire is a Functional Medicine Health Coach and has taught Yoga & Meditation since 2012. She loves facilitating, participating in, and leading retreats. Claire is passionate about creating supportive, nourishing and healing spaces for others. She spends her time enjoying the outdoors, listening to live music, and riding cross country on two or four wheels!!

Claire’s True Nature
Adventure! Learning! Spending time with my daughter and other loved ones. Music, dance, movement, laughing, being connected with nature. …Being anchored in my calm, clear Yoga Mindset.


Kristina Pugh
Director of Marketing

As the daughter of an immigrant, Kristina spent her childhood traveling to Egypt and Greece to visit her mother’s family while learning the meaning of service and deep gratitude for life’s blessings. These early days of observing how different people live ignited a love of adventuring and experiencing this spectacular planet. After completing her undergraduate studies in Photography and Music, she began working in the South Bronx as a teaching artist, inspired by the many community art activists who live each day to support and empower communities of underserved people. After grad school, Kristina continued her work for non-profits, specifically focused on education development in underserved communities nationally and internationally. For 4 years she developed community service projects in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and helped facilitate these students trekking to Africa and South America to build schools in rural towns and villages. After living at the Himalayan Institute for the last two years and serving as the Director of Creative Services and Marketing, Kristina is happy to be back climbing the mountains of NC and helping facilitate experiences of this great big, beautiful planet on which we find ourselves floating.

Kristina's True Nature
Reaching the peak after a full-body exhaustive hike; Prussian Blue; plunging into bodies of water; her crazy, joyful pup Charlie; deep dives into novels; and mulling the questions, “What is our purpose?” and “How can we better serve each other?” What she knows for sure: People will always remember how you made them feel, and we are all beautiful accidents.

Web Developer for True Nature Travels Mark Moffitt with kitten, Lucky, on his shoulders.

Mark Moffitt
IT /Web Developer

Mark is a full scale web developer from the coast of North Carolina. Mark started his career in Atlanta, GA and continued to develop his skills in Los Angeles, CA. Seeking a quieter lifestyle Mark returned to one of his favorite places in WNC to take up a more permanent residence and develop a more peaceful and calming spirit.

Mark's True Nature
Animal rescuer, fermenter, cheesemaker, amateur mycologist, brewer and new media enthusiast.


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
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 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.