Meet Our Team
Owner and founder of Executrip, Christoffer Holmsteen, is a passionate traveler, with a keen interest in people, society, culture, and nature, who has been to about a third of the world’s nations. In fact, he takes his motto after the famed poet and fellow Dane Hans Christian Andersen: To travel is to live!
Christoffer has worked in customer service for three decades; in his native Denmark, and in New York City; in high-end hotels, and as personal driver for the Danish Ambassador to the United Nations; as owner and operator of limousines, and of a small NYC destination management company prior to the industry crisis caused by 9/11.
In 2002, Christoffer and his longtime friend Soren Bjelke (see below) traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, from Moscow to Vladivostok, visiting many fascinating locations along the way. What left the greatest impression was legendary Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, which proved to be a very cold swim even in July. The lake is the focus of numerous programs aiming to protect the fauna and animal species unique to the region. Christoffer hopes to return to Lake Baikal with guests interested in exploring and supporting these preservation programs.
In addition, Christoffer possesses great passion for and extensive knowledge of his native Denmark; his beloved USA and adopted home New York City; his favorite place to be Rio de Janeiro, Salvador do Bahia and the northern beaches of Brazil; the ever fascinating and so-much-else-than-dark continent Africa; the mind-blowing Indian subcontinent; and the paradisiacal Pacific island nation of Samoa.
Else Grotrian is our expert in everything related to the metropolis New York City.
Else has lived in the New York City borough of Brooklyn since 1981 when she moved to Brooklyn Heights from Copenhagen. She has spent the last 35 years getting to know the city:
“It’s a love affair. I never tire of exploring new areas and finding new secrets and stories of which there’s a never ending supply in this city that I call my own”, Else says.
Else knows how to deal with people of all walks of life. With a solid background in banking from Denmark and 21 years working with corporate clients at Unibank/Nordea, New York Branch, Else has experience working with a diverse group of people, skills that were further developed while working in the Administration Departments of the Danish Consulate and UN Mission in New York City. Her duties involved interacting with visitors, ranging from Danish royalty to government dignitaries, NGO’s, artists, movie stars and other, regular people.
What drives her is her love of travel and her desire to transfer that love to her clients. The greatest accomplishment to her is customer satisfaction:
“It gives me a high, knowing that my clients enjoy my tours”, she says.
Like Christoffer and Søren, Else grew up with the adage that “To Travel is to Live”, a saying that’s deeply embedded in the national psyche of Danes. Her passion is a love of travel that has taken her from Jutland to the shores of Brazil, and from New York City to Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona – among many other diverse and exciting places.
Soren Bjelke studied Russian and Japanese at Copenhagen University in his native Denmark, and has spent a significant time visiting and living in both Russia and Japan.
He guided his first group in Russia in 1998, and has since his studies been a sought after freelance tour leader for several Danish travel agencies, on trips to a long list of destinations he could not turn down.
Soren has worked in the offices of a number of travel agencies, and thus has great knowledge of all aspects of the travel industry.
In the structured preparations for numerous destinations and culturally geographical areas, Soren has extensive experience with project organization and possesses a truly extensive professional knowledge.
In addition to a profound understanding of cultural diversity, Soren demonstrates exquisite social capabilities and is an excellent communicator, who expertly delivers his extensive knowledge of history, geography, religion, and languages, in many of the world’s most fascinating countries.
To much applause, Soren has functioned as a tour leader at the following destinations:
Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, New York City, New England, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, Bahamas, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic.
A previous guest of Soren said:
“The tour leader Soren Bjelke deserves 10 stars out of 10.”