Roadmonkey is about living life like you mean it. 

Our goal is to produce thoughtful small-group expeditions that avoid the clichés of tourism and instead reward you with connections to people and places others can't see. Our expeditions challenge and reward you.

Sometimes, that happens during the adventure; other times, as you and your expedition mates build a sustainable project. A lot of bright, creative, high-achieving roadmonkeys have called the experience transformational.

Check out our expedition photo albums for proof.

That's adventure philanthropy: Inspiring the kickass explorer in you to make the world a little bit better. 

We believe happiness lies in being part of something larger than oneself. We created Roadmonkey to help you be an explorer in the world, take a few smart risks and achieve a lot in a short amount of time. 

Roadmonkey has been called "gonzo philanthropy," and we take that as a compliment. If there's one Hunter S. Thompson quote that I really like, it's this: 

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"


Paul von Zielbauer launched Roadmonkey in 2008 to give motivated people the chance to dive deep into a foreign culture and work hard for people in need. From 1999 through 2009, he was a staff correspondent for The New York Times, covering state government, private security firms, the military justice system and the war in Iraq. He has traveled in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by train, boat, motorcycle, tram, bicycle, chicken bus and occasionally by car. He completed a Fulbright Scholarship for Young Journalists in 1997 while living in Berlin.

In 2005, The Times nominated Paul's investigative series on privatized prison healthcare for a Pulitzer Prize. Paul graduated with honors from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He received a B.A. from Iowa State University. He speaks German, Spanish and Vietnamese. He was born & raised in Aurora, Illinois.

Stef Levner is a Roadmonkey expedition leader emeritus and an informal advisor/strategist. In 2012, propelled by her Roadmonkey experience, Stef earned her MBA from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, avoiding death by cubicle after 5 years in corporate public relations. As a college student, Stef helped research, write and edit Let's Go travel guides for Barcelona, Peru and Indonesia.

Stef graduated in 2004 with honors from Harvard University, with a focus in International Relations. She was captain of the Radcliffe rowing team in 2004, a 2003 NCAA champion and a 2nd team All American. She grew up outside Washington, D.C. but we heard a rumor she's moving to San Francisco to pull off some ridic post-MBA ideas. Oh, and don't call her Stefanie. Ever.

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What Our Clients Have to Say About Roadmonkey:

What you are doing has had a huge affect on all of us, internally. Externally, there is a playground where there was none and a bit more hope than there was just a week ago. There are ties forged by the experience that go both ways, and cross oceans, that will never be undone. It's a beautiful thing.
~ John, architect

Thank you for an incredible trip. I was surprised to return from travel to a new land feeling rejuvenated by and indebted to a group of people I traveled with. We Roadmonkeys dug our toes into foreign soil and I got the feeling that, in a little over a week, we were let in on some of the secrets Peru keeps from travelers of convenience.
~ McKenna, hedge fund administrator

I was hoping for a trip through which I would learn about and participate in another culture and be challenged mentally, emotionally and physically in a relatively safe format. The Roadmonkey trip fulfilled and, then, wildly exceeded all my expectations.
~ Chelsea, biochemist

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