Co-founders Nicolás Johnson and Mary Halaweh share a combined 30 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry doing everything from hauling bags, taking tickets, answering phones, booking trips, guiding tours and, most recently, running small hotels and restaurants. They have spent their two lifetimes traipsing around the world so that they can now share what they know with you!
Hailing from a serendipitous mix of Mid-East and Mid-West, Mary´s earliest memories are of waiting in airport lobbies and playing between her mother´s feet under the then very spacious seats of TWA. Travel has always been as natural as eating, two themes pervading Mary´s life and driving her course in it.
Learning quickly, Mary incorporated food and travel into every aspect of her world. She spent her college years in Columbia, Missouri studying and working for travel agencies and the airlines, taking opportunities to study in both Spain and Mexico, and, of course, to use her incredulous air travel deals. After college, she went on to serve over seven years with Grand Circle Travel and Tours out of Boston. Her proudest moments there were spent overseeing a team of associates working with the companies’ most valued clients and working with their many regional offices to improve tours. With plenty of travel deals available Mary continued seeing far away places like India, Vietnam and Turkey.
Throughout every era of her life Mary has always kept one foot in the proverbial food industry´s door. From her first job in her family´s restaurant, Mary knew she had to cook and to eat and to share food. In college she waited tables and was a hostesses. While pursing a career in hospitality she took cooking classes and volunteered for a culinary school. After honeymooning with Nico in Colombia in 2008, the idea for Greengoes Travel was born. Then, after much planning, debating, agonizing and, ultimately, quitting their jobs, in 2010 Greengoes Guesthouse and Pizzeria in Barichara was born of Mary and Nico´s love of food, travel and sharing with others.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Nicolás, known to friends around the world simply as Nico, is an avid explorer guided by an adventurous heart. He was propelled into the travel industry by his natural gregariousness, aptitude for learning and inextinguishable longing for the open road. For more than a decade, Nico has combined his love of travel and his commitment to service for the benefit of many happy travelers and guests from all over the world. Most recently Nico co-founded Greengoes Guesthouse in Barichara, Colombia, a delightful B&B awarded Tripadvisor’s 2013 Traveler’s Choice Award.
Some of Nico’s other life-affirming experiences include building an Earthship with Mary outside of Macon, GA, driving a trolley while narrating historical tours through the streets of Washington D.C., diving the Red Sea and leading treks to Machu Picchu. Throughout his life Nico has been fortunate enough to count on the support and guidance of many exemplary mentors from whom he has learned countless indispensable lessons, most importantly the virtues of patience, gratitude and generosity.