(650) 784-0037 | info@avenueapart.com

An Avenue Apart

Meet the Team

Todd Bliwise
Founder and Owner
New York, NY

Todd says “Travel is and always has been one of the richest and most magical things we can do and with this short life we have-we should be out there seeing all we can at every turn. I can only rest my head soundly at night when I know that every client that books with us is out there experiencing the world the way it was meant to be explored. In that way, just maybe I can inspire the next dreamer to dream far beyond his wildest imagination and reach for the stars.”

Born in California, Todd has always had a drive to explore the world. On his 15th birthday, he gave himself the goal of traveling to 50 countries by the time he was 25. He knew that somewhere on this incredible journey he would discover what it is he wanted to do.

Over the 10 years that followed, he traveled to 60 countries and flew nearly 1,500,000 miles across this beautiful planet. He learned and studied every trick in the book with respect to airlines and airfare, learning the ins and outs first of every economy cabin, then business class, and eventually first class cabin. Paying his dues as he did, he prided himself on experiencing every airline on earth, learning every product, every seat type, plane type, and frequent flyer program. Throughout college as an international Business Major at the University of Redlands in Southern California, his business emerged. While he was studying and along with other academic responsibilities, he took every opportunity to travel somewhere, whether it was freshmen year of college hopping on a 15 hour flight to China for 72 hours during fall break or spending a semester abroad studying in Milan, Italy, living with a local family and studying at an Italian university; his time spent traveling across the world taught him many lessons, lessons about people, about life, humility, relatively, and happiness. At a relatively young age he experienced lavish wealth juxtaposed next to indescribable poverty. He found kindness in the most unexpected destinations and he saw beauty beyond his wildest dreams. He discovered that the very art of travel is being able to accurately define who you are based upon finding your place in the world, and even now he still wants to learn more about the world we live in.

This all lead to the founding of An Avenue Apart, which he describes as the easel within which we paint everyone’s perfect trip. Along with all the airline studies he had also begun studying hotels and destinations the same way while in school. From relaxing in the turquoise blue lagoons of Tahiti to hiking the peaks of New Zealand, to exploring the villages of Nepal and Bhutan, he learned there is something out there for everyone and he made it his personal responsibility to make sure to match the client with their perfect destination based upon all that he saw and experienced. The differentiation strategy for An Avenue Apart is that he (along with the growing team) spent and continues to spend so much time on the road actually experiencing these properties and destinations first hand, that they never have to send clients anywhere An Avenue Apart doesn’t already know. Todd lives by the moto that he never wants to be a run of the mill travel company who searches things we don’t know;  An Avenue Apart should be a never ending encyclopedia of knowledge-and we are doing just that. The love and passion he has for what we do stems from the same passion that drove him to explore the world in the first place. He makes sure that he and his team work hard to not just plan trips for people, but that we really spend the time getting to know the client to find the root of what is driving an individual to a particular destination and design a unique and customized trip that will shock and awe at every turn.

As of Summer 2019, Todd had reached his next goal of flying over 2,000,000 miles and 75+ countries as he continues to explore the best the world has to offer for An Avenue Apart clients.



Janelle Norman
Admin Team Lead
Minneapolis, MN & Madrid, Spain

Janelle has traded the Minnesota winters for a life in sunny Spain. She is based in Madrid and has been in the luxury travel industry for 15 years with a specialty in Spain and Portugal, as well as Morocco and other parts of Europe. When she went to college she knew she wanted to travel, so she made sure to do two majors, one in Communication and another in Spanish. That way, she knew she would be able to speak the language in a pretty big part of the world, making travel more meaningful and having more opportunities in her career. But she didn’t want to just travel abroad, so in 2001 she packed up and moved to Madrid, Spain. She fell in love with the country, the food, the wine, the culture and especially the people. She decided she wanted to help people discover all that she had had the privilege of experiencing so she began working at a Virtuoso DMC designing luxury trips in Spain focused on culture, food and wine.

She has also worked in agencies in Portugal and Northern Spain as well as Madrid, and has gotten to know the main cities, the small villages and even mountain trails in between. Not to mention the best places for local gastronomy and wine. For her, whether she is planning trips to Spain, Portugal, Europe or the rest of the world she first and foremost wants to help clients experience the best the destination has to offer.

Janelle is passionate about getting to know her clients and finding the right destinations and experiences to ensure that everyone experiences something special and unforgettable.



Kate Swarthout
Paso Robles, CA

I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” That famous quote sums up how Kate feels about travel. A born wanderer, she loves exploring new places. Whether spending 2 months traveling the US in a pop top Wesfalia van, multiple trips backpacking in Europe or living in Florence and Germany, she is always up for seeing new places, trying new food and meeting new people. Some of Kate’s more recent adventures have included multiple trips to Haiti, discovering secluded beaches in New Zealand, cliff jumping into cenotes in the Riviera Maya and picking the perfect pineapple in Hawaii. She is looking forward to exploring Asia and Central America in the near future.

In addition to her love of travel, Kate brings her 20 years of administrative and 10 years of supervisory experience to her role at An Avenue Apart. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University and currently lives in California with her husband and 3 children.



Angela Petrie
South Africa

Having lived in South Africa all her life, Angela has been ‘raised’ on the incredible diversity the country has to offer. Passionate about wildlife, the majestic mountain ranges, and contrasting coastal offerings, she has experienced all that South Africa is renowned for, with personal and vast experience to some of Africa’s wildlife hotspots. While she is a great ambassador for her country she has also travelled extensively internationally and enjoyed some of the most captivating places around the world.

Being a Project Manager by profession, Angela’s attention to detail is part of her DNA. She thrives on excitement, embraces challenges and creates experiences that will leave you wanting more. She believes that travel enriches your life and leaves an imprint on your soul. She prides herself on excellent service delivery and her ‘down to earth’ approachability and innate desire to serve makes her an excellent choice when looking for someone to arrange your travel dreams.



Olivia Christians
Dallas, TX

A true adventurer at heart, Olivia fell in love with travel at a young age. Ever since, she has been on a mission not only to see every corner of the world, but to eat its best cuisine as well. Through her travels, she’s found herself water skiing on Lake Como, practicing archery at a castle in Ireland, creating hand-rolled pasta with perfect Bolognese in Italy, enjoying private boat rides around the Amalfi Coast and exploring the most pristine beaches in the Bahamas.

Olivia pours her passion into creating personalized and unique luxury travel experiences that can’t be replicated through Internet searches. Olivia has the innate ability to communicate with her clients and gather a deep understanding of their dream trip, allowing her to anticipate her clients’ needs. With Olivia’s southern hospitality and keen eye for curating once in a lifetime memories, she elevates vacations from the ordinary to the unforgettable.

Olivia is also a member of the national GenerationJOY Committee, part of the Joyful Heart Foundation.



Tracy Effron
Miami, FL

Tracy Effron speaks the language of hotels and hospitality.  She lives, breathes and sleeps luxury.  Some of Tracy’s favorite pastimes include traveling the world, experiencing the unknown, rejuvenating her senses, lounging Miami Beach style and catching spectacular sunsets.

With a degree in Hospitality Management & Travel Tourism under her belt, Tracy loves to connect with people and curate personalized and memorable experiences.  Her passion for culture- and cultures- has led her to enjoy incredible experiences such as shopping at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, private wine tastings in the Austrian countryside, yachting around The Caribbean and discovering treasures along historical streets in Lisbon.

With Tracy, opulence is always an option!



Alexandra Denniston
Rhode Island, USA

Ali lives and breathes luxury service. Her passion for creating unique experiences for her clients began with designing and executing high-end weddings and events and has lead her to extend those skills to travel planning. Some of Ali’s favorite memories involve travel to far off destinations, exploring off the beaten path, and enjoying new cuisines along the way!

With a BS in Sport & Event Management, a Masters Degree in Hospitality Management, and several years under her belt working at Forbes Travel Guide 5-Star rated hotels and resorts, Ali is well-versed in the hospitality and service industries. Her passion for providing personalized service to her clients makes her an exceptional resource for newlyweds dreaming up their Honeymoon itinerary or travel junkies looking to plan their next adventure. Ali takes pride in offering clients tailored direction based on their needs and understands the importance of attention to detail when planning a trip – no matter how big or small.

While her favorite destination is a stunning local beach in her hometown in Coastal Rhode Island, she is always ready for the next opportunity to explore somewhere new!



Abby O’Gorman
London, UK

Abby’s passion for seeing the world began at a very young age as she explored the world with her family she ultimately knew whatever career path she would later pursue; it would have to involve travel. She worked as a flight attendant and travelling to new destinations as much as possible in her free time – 35 counties and counting! Ten years later, she hung up her wings and packed her bags to move to London, England where she worked in the tailor-made luxury travel sector.

She enjoys creating bespoke itineraries by helping people discover and explore new places. With a passion for bringing history and culture to life, promising interesting, authentic and unique holiday memories that will last a lifetime. She enjoys the challenge of pairing the right destination and experiences with each client’s personality.



Marissa Heiken
Admin and Team Support
Las Vegas, NV

Getting a late start on travel Marissa took her first international trip in college when she lived in Florence for five months. During this time she fully embraced the ten dollar budget flight and saw as much of Europe as possible. Ever since then she’s had an insatiable desire to explore the world (and has since refined her taste in airlines). Her travels have brought her to eating her way through the floating markets in Thailand, to dancing in the streets at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

With each new adventure grew her passion to help others experience moments like these and inspire them to visit new destinations. Marissa is at her happiest when designing unique and unforgettable trips that speak to each individual.




Simon Lee
Atlanta, GA

As a child, Simon has always been excited by travel. Then growing up and having the opportunity to travel on the amateur ski circuit opened his eyes to the amazing cultures and food that can be found throughout the world. Simon has since lived in Taiwan, snorkeled in Japanese powder, dune bashed in Dubai deserts, enjoyed a family dinner at a local Italian vineyard and honeymooned in the Maldives. The experiences around the world has ignited Simon’s passion for thrill seeking adventures and amazing food. Simon comes with a background in management consulting, working with high profile clients and understands the importance of detail oriented plans when making the perfect itinerary. Being a traveling consultant, Simon has also learned the ins and outs of almost every frequent flier program and points currency to maximize client’s travel budgets. Simon’s unique business background and personal experience with luxury travel helps him create the perfect trip for any kind of adventure.


Victoria Volonte
London, UK

As a professional Hotelier specialized in luxury and personalized service, with seven years experience in the Hotel and Travel industry. Originally from Argentina, currently living in London and loving it, she is a true Passion London Lover. She has always been a full-time member of demanding institutions/companies and was taught that excellence requires time and dedication, both of which are still a part of who she is today.

Most of us aspire to live a life with purpose but hers is to have a positive impact on other peoples’ lives. She has set out on a quest to find her own unique way of career so far. She is very organized, capable of adapting to different situations and very flexible thanks to a variety of positions where she had to manage multiple tasks at the same time. She believes service is something innate, something that she was born with. Her passion for it drives her to perform on a more efficient level.

Her career path so far has taught her that the key for results is to manage to combine an entrepreneurial way of working together with excellent team work. Her capability for persuasion, proactivity, creativity and to bet he passionate hotelier she is, pushes her every single day towards becoming an excellent professional and going the extra mile.

Her ultimate goal is to deliver the best bespoke experiences possible!


Lindsey Johnson
Dallas, TX

Lindsey took her first solo trip when she was 16 and immediately fell in love with travel. Since then, she has found as many excuses to roam the world as possible. In the last 10 years, Lindsey has cared for sloths at a Costa Rican wildlife sanctuary, dove the Great Barrier Reef, explored the souks of Doha, and eaten every variation of croissant in Paris.

As an attorney by training, Lindsey is meticulous, well-organized, and a skilled researcher. She is able to curate unique experiences and plan for clients’ needs before they arise. Lindsey is passionate about designing itineraries that make destination dreams a reality.



Morgan Hightower
Charleston, SC

Morgan’s passion for travel began at an early age and continues to be a driving force in her life. From unique & authentic cuisines to luxurious accommodations, Morgan enjoys exploring the world so she can experience it all – especially on the road less traveled.

With a Bachelors in both Business Administration & Communications, a Masters in Marketing, and a satisfying career spent in the hospitality industry, Morgan is well versed in the business of serving others and serving them well. Her natural ability to understand and anticipate the needs of her clients enables Morgan to design and tailor unforgettable experiences that continue to amaze.

Combined with her strong attention to detail, a wealth of knowledge, and exclusive partnerships, Morgan’s expertise and standard of service provide her clients with luxury travel, redefined.