Scott Groza 

scott groza hobbyjamRecognizing the need to provide a greater degree of accessibility to highly individualized academic programs as well as an environment entirely conducive to the achievement of student learning goals, Scott Groza co-founded the Groza Learning Center as a means through which this critical need could be met. An educator with well over a decade of prior teaching experience, Scott, along with fellow co-founder Christy Groza, has worked diligently to ensure that each student is able to benefit from the challenging and enjoyable academic environment made available through the Groza Learning Center.

Residing in Southern California for many years, Scott feels a great sense of pride in the rigorous learning environment he has made available to students in the area in need of a personalized approach that ensures they are able to achieve their individual academic goals. Located in Pacific Palisades, Scott selected the location for the Groza Learning Center based on a number of critical factors, with the positive impact of the natural surroundings ranking as most important among them. The interior décor is similarly oriented around the goal of creating the most ideal learning environment for students, and the results thus far clearly indicate this focus has had a critical and overwhelmingly positive impact on student achievement.

As an educator, Scott has long been a proponent of the academic benefits associated with immersive experiences and has taken advantage of every travel opportunity he has had over the years. Scott’s varied travels have played a role in shaping his beliefs regarding best practices in education, and many of the most effective strategies used at the Groza Learning Center have been at least partially inspired by something learned during one of his countless travel experiences. Despite having traveled all over the world, Scott maintains that there is simply no place that can compare with Southern California.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

The experience of traveling is personally enriching in so many ways, and I love the endless educational opportunities that exist through travel.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

Education is such a central part of my life that travel — being a natural extension of education — is certainly more of a lifestyle than a hobby.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Alaska. I experienced a state of perpetual awe as I explored this state.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I’ve always wanted to visit Australia- it ranks high on my list.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I prefer to make detailed travel plans well in advance and make sure I incorporate a wide range of contingencies when creating those plans. Also, hiring a professional to coordinate travel can make for unique experiences you wouldn’t be able to arrange on your own.

Where would you like to go?

I’ve been thinking I’d like to see Iceland sometime in the future.

Where would you like to revisit?

Italy will always be my first choice, but I prefer to go someplace I’ve never seen before.

Do you travel alone? Why?

I prefer company when I travel, but I also try to avoid traveling with a large group.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Rome, Athens and Barcelona.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I try to pack light, but it’s always difficult to avoid bringing more than is necessary.

Darren Pawski

Darren Pawski HobbyjamA financial services professional with close to three decades of experience in critical leadership positions, Darren Pawski is currently offering his exceptional insight and expertise to clients throughout Western Australia in his role as the managing director of Synergy Financial Solutions. Mr. Pawski is responsible for the oversight of every aspect of mortgage services for the boutique financial services firm, and he has worked diligently to ensure that the firm is able to consistently exceed client expectations while providing a holistic approach to finance and mortgage services.

While Mr. Pawski can point to nearly 30 years of practical industry experience that includes time spent working with Commonwealth Bank and a variety of other industry-leading institutions, he has nonetheless remained impressively dedicated to pursuing additional professional certifications and has taken advantage of countless academic opportunities as well. The graduate of Deakin University holds a Diploma of Financial Planning and has also earned his Certificate IV in Mortgage Broking from Kaplan. Mr. Pawski is also currently enrolled at Edith Cowan University as he pursues a Master of Finance and Banking degree.

Known for his tremendous work ethic and his unwavering devotion to his responsibilities in providing the best possible finance and mortgage services to clients, Mr. Pawski has managed to orient his busy schedule in such a way that he is still able to dedicate a considerable amount of time performing volunteer work in the support of a variety of worthwhile causes. Though he is incredibly active in a number of charitable endeavors, Mr. Pawski has continually supported the aged-care sector and has spent countless hours in the company of nursing home residents throughout Perth as well as the whole of Western Australia.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Traveling gives me the opportunity to develop an understanding of other perspectives and to gain a greater depth of knowledge regarding a culture that may be different from my own.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

I’d say it’s more of a hobby. I just enjoy the experience and the ability to discover new things.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Belize is phenomenal, as are several places throughout Argentina.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I’m hoping to spend some time in Hawaii in the near future.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I’ve heard it said that the best way to travel is to do so without much forethought, but I like to do quite a bit of research before I even begin making firm plans to travel.

Where would you like to go?

I’ve always wanted to go to Okinawa, so hopefully I’ll be able to do so before too long.

Where would you like to revisit?

I think I’d like to spend more time in Argentina.

Do you travel alone? Why?

I can see the benefits of traveling alone or with a group, so I’ve tried to do both.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

The Andes, the Amazon and the Himalayas.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I prefer to travel light. It is just the most practical way to travel.

Dr. Troy Dreiling – Owner, Zenaptic Chiropractic

Dr Troy, Travel

Dr. Troy Dreiling was born in Portland, OR in 1969 and has been in the chiropractic business for 22 years. His company, Zenaptic Chiropractic, located in Vancouver, WA, is based on reconnecting the nerve system through the art of adjusting, breathing, and meditation. He opened his practice in 1995 and has seen over 25,000 new patients.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

One of my favorite trips to take is going to Chicago, IL and hanging out downtown. It kind of reminds me of Portland, OR. Lot’s to do in Chicago, especially when the weather is nice.

What attracted you to Chicago?

I went to a training seminar which is right in the downtown area on Michigan Avenue. I go there about every 3 months and there is always so much going on. There are so many good restaurants and places to shop. That’s what attracted me.

Please share your memories from the trip.

Last year I went with my daughter, we had a great time. We went to The American Girl store, Ghirardelli where she had her first sundae there, we went on the Ferris wheel down there on the peer. We just had a great time walking around and checking out the buildings, she got to ride the subway train, we just had a great time.

What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?

Pack light and make sure you know your sizes on your security stuff such as cologne, deodorant, and gels. This way the TSA does not confiscate any of those things

Contact Dr. Troy Dreiling

Azeez Abiodun, MD

azeez abiodun travelAzeez Abiodun is an MD who started his medical career in his native Nigeria as an internist and completed his Internal Medicine Residency Program in the United States, thereby becoming an MD. He obtained his certification in 2005 and has been practicing in Maryland ever since.

Coming from a well-to-do family in Nigeria, his parents instilled in him the value of education and his parents were very supportive of him. His pursuit of a degree in medicine was even made stronger when his mother died of cancer. After obtaining his medical degree in the US, he returned to his native Nigeria to give back to the people by doing volunteer work in poverty-stricken communities, which lack proper medical services.

One of the most unforgettable people he met in his career is the great Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela inspired him to continue his volunteer work for as long as he possibly can. He goes back to his native Nigeria once a year for two weeks to do volunteer work.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken

I make it a point to go on a trip at least once a year with my family and one of the favorite trips we have taken is my trip to Turkey. I spent two weeks in the country. I went to the grand bazaar and was in awe of all the things you can see and buy in there. They happen to have more than a thousand stores in that bazaar.  We went to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. These structures are some of the most beautiful in the world and deserve their place on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

We also enjoyed hot air ballooning early in the morning in Cappadocia and spent some time enjoying the natural springs in Pamukkale. Everyone, including the kids, enjoyed their time. I look forward to going on another trip with my family again.

What attracted you to Turkey?

I have always been fascinated by Turkey ever since I read the book, The Janissary Tree. I have always envisioned Ottoman Turks, the banquets, and festivities. Turkey has a very long history. It was once ruled by the Byzantine Christians, the Ottomans, and currently, although it is a Muslim nation, it is secular.  It is located in both Asia and Europe and it has a wonderful cuisine.

When did you travel there and who did you go with?

My family and I went to Turkey last quarter of last year.

It was a quite a long flight to Istanbul and the children were a bit restless on the plane. When we finally landed in Ataturk Airport, everyone was so eager to see the rest of the city. Istanbul is a very colorful place. It is a unique juxtaposition of the old and the new. We went to Taksim Square to see the monument of Kemal Ataturk and we enjoyed the pedestrian Istiklal Avenue where we browsed through shops and my wife bought quite a handful of souvenirs.

We took a ferry through Bosphorus and enjoyed it. It was wonderful to see Asia and Europe at the same time. Some of the places we went to was the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, the Cistern and the Aqueduct. The city has both Roman as well as Ottoman architecture and it one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

We also went to Pamukkale to enjoy the spring and we also went to Goreme to see the fairy chimneys. One of the trips highlights is the hot air balloon early in the morning in Cappadocia. It was unforgettable.

What other places have you visited?

Aside from Turkey, I have also been to Paris, France; Rome and Vienna, Italy; Amsterdam; and Salzburg in Austria.

What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?

Everyone should travel. The world is such a big place and there is so much to see and learn. My advice for any first-time traveler is to have an open mind. There is so much in the world to see and learn.

Karl Jobst 

Dr. Karl Jobst is a dentist practicing in Grove, Oklahoma, where he has lived and worked ever since he founded Grand Lake Dental in 1998. The practice is known as one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the region, enabling Dr. Jobst to treat patients using the most cutting-edge methodologies and, in many cases, in a minimally invasive manner that dramatically improves upon standard practices. The Grove, OK, dentist is also able to offer patients an impressive degree of experience and expertise, as Karl Jobst, DDS, has long understood the importance of continuing education opportunities and is one of the most credentialed dentists in the entire state of Oklahoma.

Before earning the right to place “Karl Jobst, DDS, Grove, OK,” on the door of his practice, Dr. Jobst attended Missouri State University and earned an undergraduate degree as well as acceptance to the University of Tennessee College of Dental Medicine. It was there that Dr. Jobst earned his degree in dentistry in 1998, the same year he would go on to open the practice that would ultimately become Grand Lake Dental. Dr. Jobst has only continued to add to his impressive academic achievements, as he has completed several postgraduate programs from the Las Vegas Institute and the University of Southern California.

According to Dr. Karl Jobst, Grove, OK, has been everything he had hoped it would be, and the native of Lamar, Missouri, proudly refers to the Grand Lake Area as his home. During his spare time away from his busy dental practice, Dr. Jobst is an avid pilot who holds a private pilot’s license and has completed more than 600 flight hours. A seasoned world traveler, Dr. Jobst is equally content to spend time in the company of family and friends and to volunteer in his church and his community.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Sometimes it’s just nice to spend some time in a place that is completely different than home. I love where I live and can’t ever imagine living anyplace else, but it is important to experience the unique aspects of locations all over the world.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s a hobby for me. I’m deeply committed to my dental practice, but I love to travel and I love to fly, so I try to do so as often as I am able.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

I’ve been to Alaska a few times and have just been in awe of its vastness.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I don’t have any firm plans in place at the moment, but I hope to begin doing some travel research soon. I’d like to visit Austria as well as several other places throughout the region.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

I think it’s important to select a destination based on its appeal to the individual traveler rather than its overall appeal to travelers in general.

Where would you like to go?

I’ve always wanted to see Prague and Vienna.

Where would you like to revisit?

I think Alaska is a wonderful destination that I will happily return to time and again.

Do you travel alone? Why?

I like to travel with friends and family, but I have enjoyed a few solo trips in the past.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Anchorage, Stockholm and Helsinki.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

It really depends on where I am going and how I am getting there. I’ve traveled light for backpacking trips with multiple destinations, but I’ve also packed up the house for extended vacations in a single location

Luigi Wewege

An international business expert currently serving in the role of president and CEO of Vivier Group, Luigi Wewege has developed a reputation as a highly respected financial services professional and has enjoyed the type of unparalleled success only possible through a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. In addition to his leadership position with Vivier Group, Mr. Wewege is also managing partner with Palmetto Global Ventures and executive chairman of Nikau Global, and his ability to be such a highly effective leader in each of these unique positions demonstrates his commitment and his diligence in every professional endeavor.

As the president and CEO of Vivier Group, Mr. Wewege is responsible for overseeing all aspects of business operations to ensure clients of the boutique financial services provider are able to achieve the best possible outcome through th e firm’s high-performing financial services packages. With Palmetto Global Ventures, Mr. Wewege in centrally involved with the company’s efforts with regard to its consulting efforts and provides specific guidance in his unique areas of expertise, including private equity, management advisory, investment banking and corporate finance.

Finally, Mr. Wewege’s role with Nikau Global similarly draws on his unique international business experience, and Mr. Wewege’s insight regarding international importation and exportation has made the firm’s market-readiness consulting services among the most sought-after in the industry due to the consistently outstanding insight on the many factors that have an impact on importing and exporting efficacy. Given his diverse skill set and his exceptional degree of diligence in all pursuits, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Wewege is able to effectively manage such a wide range of professional responsibilities.

Due to his many professional ventures, Mr. Wewege frequently travels all over the world for business purposes, and he even earned his MBA from the MIB School of Management in Trieste, Italy, where he focused on international business.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

It depends on the destination, but there’s usually a great opportunity to meet new people or to spend time catching up with old friends.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s a lifestyle. My business demands frequent travel, and I’ve always been inclined to explore new places.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Venice is just beyond comparison.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I’ll be departing for New Zealand for business in the near future.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

It’s just more fun to always travel light.

Where would you like to go?

There are a lot of places in South America I’d like to see.

Where would you like to revisit?

New Zealand is always great, and I’d go back to Venice in a heartbeat.

Do you travel alone? Why?

Most of the time I travel alone, usually because it is a relatively brief business trip.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Venice, Italy; Interlaken, Switzerland; and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I prefer to travel very light.

Nancy Behrman

With a longstanding reputation as an agent of change and innovation within the field of public relations and brand building, Nancy Behrman has spent over 30 years at the helm of Behrman Communications, a firm she founded out of a studio apartment with just a single client. That client was Kiehl’s Since 1851, and the Behrman PR strategy succeeded in elevating the brand to a status that greatly exceeded expectations and heralded the beginning of a new era in brand building.

In the more than 30 years since she founded the company, Ms. Behrman has constantly reminded her staff that the key to delivering consistently exceptional results for the firm’s clients could only be accomplished through a deep commitment to the development of new and innovative PR strategies and techniques. Advocating for the use of “surround sound” platforms, Behrman Communications has been able to effectively and impressively leverage creative initiatives along with a strong presence across social media and exceptional strategic account management to elevate and support a brand.

Specializing in fashion, health and beauty, Ms. Behrman has worked diligently to ensure that the approach utilized by Behrman Communications is specifically tailored to the client’s brand and the unique goals they have outlined. Incorporating a combination of advanced brand building practices and techniques with traditional and complementary strategies, Ms. Behrman’s public relations firm has routinely been able to take a brand and elevate it from an early-stage concept to an immediately recognizable brand and multi-million dollar venture.

As the founder of a firm with so many internationally renowned clients, Ms. Behrman has had the opportunity to travel all over the world for both business and pleasure. While most of her time is split between the East and West Coast of the United States due to her professional responsibilities, Ms. Behrman has often been able to enjoy extended periods of time visiting some of the great cultural centers of Europe.

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

Having the opportunity to explore a new and unfamiliar culture.

Is traveling a hobby or a lifestyle for you? How did you get started?

It’s certainly a lifestyle. I still make frequent business trips all over the world and have been able to return to some my favorite destinations with my family.

What is the most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Mallorca, Spain.

Do you have any exciting travel dates planned for the future?

I’m looking forward to an upcoming trip to Tokyo, Japan.

What are some travel tips you’d give to someone inexperienced?

Always having a great travel agent has helped me throughout my career.

Where would you like to go?

I’ve always wanted travel to South America.

Where would you like to revisit?

Tokyo, when I visited for the first time a few years ago for business, I truly fell in love.

Do you travel alone? Why?

It really depends on the circumstances. If I go for business, I usually go alone. When I travel for leisure, I go with my husband and/or my children.

If you could pick the top 3 places every person should go, what would they be?

Paris, London and Barcelona

Do you travel light or do you pack up the house?

I’ve always preferred to travel light. I try not to check a bag, even when I travel internationally.

Learn more about Nancy Behrman on her

Mike Munter

mike munter in hawaii 2016Mike Munter was born in 1965 and grew up in Reisterstown, Maryland. His parents moved there in 1972 when his Dad got a new job at Westinghouse in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Mike was raised there with his two younger sisters Michelle and Melanie, until later when he moved out and purchased his first home in Annapolis.

A self-proclaimed “workaholic,” Mike didn’t do much travelling until he was in his 40’s. Prior to that, he was focused on establishing himself in his careers as an IT technician and later as a front office executive in minor league baseball.

He recalls one trip taken with his family in the late 70’s:

“My Mom had an uncle in Roanoke and so we set out in my Dad’s 1973 Ford Maverick. Me and my sisters were in the back seat, each of us probably between the ages of 7 to 12. I remember we were stocked up with toys back there – we had “Etch-A-Sketch,” “Merlin,” and things to draw on. I’m sure Mom didn’t want us getting bored.

reisterstown md to roanoke va directions

“As you can see in the map here, the trip should take about 4 hours or so, but somewhere around the 6 hour mark, I remember Mom and Dad deciding they were lost. Who knows where they got off track, but I remember us not arriving at my Great Uncle’s house until the early evening. It took us 8 hours.”

Munter adds: “I didn’t know it then, but that would be the only family vacation we ever took.”

These days, Mike has taken two cross country road trips, the first in 1992 and the 2nd in 2007. He has travelled abroad to Mexico, Canada, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Australia.

He is a frequent visitor to Hawaii, as that is where his daughter and granddaughter currently live.

Tell us about a favorite trip you’ve taken.

I’d say my trip to Peru was my favorite.

What attracted you to Peru?

At the time I went to Peru, I was in the midst of what you might call a mid-life crisis. It was 2009, I wasn’t working, and I didn’t know what I would do next. I was spending all the money I’d save from prior careers, but now I had no idea what I wanted to do.

So, I went to Peru for a couple of reasons:

  1. I went to work with a shaman who I thought might help me find my purpose in life
  2. I wanted to overcome my fear of travelling alone to another country

Please share your memories from the trip.

The trip was 2 1/2 weeks along and it took place in January of ’09. I flew into Lima and then to Cuzco. From there, it was a 45 minute cab ride around the mountain to a little town called Pisac. This is where I was staying and this is where I met Javier, the shaman I’d setup to do work with.

The ‘work’ I’m speaking of is drinking ayahuasca. I did three ceremonies where I drank the awful tasting root and waited for healing visions. Of course, ayahuasca is referred to as “the purge,” so I got sick and had diarrhea, along with the others who were in the temple with me.

My first ceremony was difficult. I was shown how I tend to focus on the negative side of things. I was incredibly sick – I felt like I had food poisoning. I remember writhing in pain until about 3 or 4 in the morning. I was sick 3 times and felt like “Why did I come here? This is horrible?”

The next morning, I joined the other 5 or 6 people and we each shared our experience and what we learned from it. Javier, much like a therapist, gave us each feedback.

My second ceremony was the exact opposite. I went in with the intention of resolving my relationship with all 4 of my parents (two birth parents + two adopted parents). I had emotional visions of my birth mother and my Mom who raised me. These visions were powerful and still with me today. They helped me see that my birth mother put me up for adoption out of of love, not rejection. I saw how much my Mom who raised me loved me and how some of the things I did hurt her. I laughed and cried and had an amazing experience.

The third and final ceremony I have to admit, I sort of ‘went through the motions.’ I got sick twice and probably could’ve drinken more ayahuasca to try to deepen the experience, but I was done. I was exhausted. I had done 3 ceremonies in 7 days and I knew I had one more final ceremony to go.

The last ceremony was drinking San Pedro, which is a cactus. It’s called “the heart opener” and helps get you in touch with nature. And boy did it. I lay in a corn field for hours admiring the strength of the stalks. I felt at one in the garden.

As I look back, it’s no surprise I became a big gardener later that spring of 2009. I felt a strong urge to grow food and know where my food came from. That strong sense is still with me today.

After all the ceremonies were complete, I visited Machu Picchu, which was incredible.

So, I had a very memorable trip and in addition to all this, I made new friends who I’m still in touch with today. I got to go face to face with my fear of travelling alone, and I got to see one of the wonders of the world. So, it was a very spiritual and beautiful trip.

What other places have you visited? What’s next?

I’ve got a trip booked to Iceland in May of 2016. I’ll be travelling there with my friend Matt. We’re spending a couple days in Reykjavik to get acquainted and then we’ve rented a car and plan to see the island. I’m excited to see the landscape and look forward to learning more about the culture.

What advice would you give to a first time traveller?

For me, it’s important to know where I’m staying and to have a lose plan of what I’ll be doing. I don’t like “feeling” like a tourist. I yearn for a more authentic experience where I get a feel for the culture. I don’t like to be booked every minute, every day. Be safe and follow your gut, but be open to new experiences and new people!

Contact Mike Munter: