Karen Brown

Markets Specialist & Journey Director

Karen Brown is a native Floridian currently living in Orlando.  She has a passion for shopping but more specifically, "Shopping Under Tents!"  Finding hidden treasures and bargaining at flea-markets, bazaars and souks!  She is always on the search for locally sourced, hand made and unique artisan goods and experiences for her Art In Voyage guests.

She has worked in corporate entertainment and had an extensive career in travel/tourism/hospitality at the Seminole County Convention & Visitors Bureau, often working with other CVB's around the state and in the US as well as a long time partnership with Visit Florida the official tourism office of the State of Florida.

For many years Karen wrote a column for an LGBTQ magazine, called Straight Girl in a Gay World.  She has also done (and continues to do) extensive charity fund raising work for the LGBTQ community in Central Florida.

Her Top 3 destinations:

  • Umbria(Italy): The history and the beauty of this region is staggering.  I often marvel at the way the sunlight shines in this part of Italy.  I swear there are shades of green I've only ever seen here.  The amazing food, the lively people and of course the shopping...the porcelain of Deruta, the hand made leather from this region and plenty of markets.
  • Marrakech (Morocco): A paradise of beauty, charm and some of the best shopping and haggling I've ever experienced.  Marrakech is the most alive place.  A swirl of humanity, local markets abuzz with the aromas of spices and local foods.  And the Hammam Spa Treatments are not to be missed!
  • Provence (France): Every where I look in Provence is a post card scene.  The scenery just gets more beautiful every time you look.  The trees bend gracefully over the highways to make cathedrals of green.  The lavender fields alive with purple and scent and the some of the most gracious people.  This is a mild place in the most lovely way and I fell in love in minutes.

One on One with Karen

In which city did you grow up?

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Where did you go on family vacations as a child?

Mostly to visit family in North Carolina and places like Key West and Naples, Florida. Lots of beach!

What was the first country you ever visited (outside of your own) and how old were you?

I was 25 and went to Paris with two friends. A stunning introduction to Europe. I highly recommend this as a first trip! And...the flea-markets floored me.

When did you first realize that travel meant something more to you?

As a small child I listened to my grandparents tell stories of their many trips and I knew I wanted to have those experiences as well. They really LIVED and I wanted that for me!

5-Star Hotel or Private Villa?

Private Villa

What’s the one travel tip that you always share with all your friends/guests?

Bring a European Plug - USB charger, bring your own washcloth and if you don't act like a rude loud American you aren't treated like a rude, loud American.

What are your top 3 cities or towns?

London, Assisi and Marrakech

What has been your most spiritual travel experience?

Assisi - visiting the tombs of St. Francis and St. Claire and learning about their relationship and how he lived his life. I find this story to be very inspirational.

What is the most stand out restaurant experience you’ve had recently?


What was your biggest travel faux pas?

I find that if you just act like you know what you're doing even if you don't, it goes much better...

New York, Milan or Hong Kong?

Hong Kong! because I've never been!

What’s the most adventurous travel experience you’ve ever had?

Marrakech was a totally new experience. One of the most ALIVE places I've ever visited.

What’s next on your travel bucket list?


What do you do to relax and unwind in your personal time?

Shop under tents, thrifting and estate sales

Plane, train or automobile?

I prefer the speed of the plane but the luxury of first class on a train is my favorite.

French Riviera or Swiss Alps?

French Riviera

When did you know that your career would be travel related?

I began in the tourism industry after college and travelled in the US for my job. I was hooked and it grew from there.

If you could invite 5 celebrity guests along on your next vacation, who would they be?

Elvira -Mistress of the Dark (She's a personal hero); Liberace, Jane Fonda, Ginger Minj and Darcel Stevens

What home comfort do you miss the most when travelling?

My own bed!

Which country makes the best coffee?

Don't drink it but I do enjoy Italian cappuccinos

Canon, Nikon, Sony, Hasselblad or Fuji?

Cell Phone Camera! Mostly too busy shopping to take pics!