The California Native Adventures to Copper Canyon, Yucatan, Costa Rica, Peru and More

Since 1983

The California Native

In 1983, while climbing Ayer’s Rock in the Australian outback, Lee Klein contemplated his life thus far. Lee, a native-born Californian and an MBA, had spent two decades serving as a corporate manager and college professor. Prior to that he traveled quite a bit, first with the U.S. Navy, then roaming around the world on his own—an adventure which included living in the temples of India and Nepal, hitchhiking across the deserts of Iraq and Iran, and working passage on a banana boat in the Persian Gulf.

As he ascended the sandstone monolith, he began to question the “American Dream.” Was he really happy with his career? He decided that if you are not having fun, then you are doing the wrong thing. Money is not the real measure of  success—enjoying what you are doing is. And if at the same time you can bring enjoyment to other people, then you are truly successful.

Shortly after returning home, Lee put the corporate and campus worlds behind him and founded The California Native. That was back in 1983, more than a quarter of a century ago, but we never lost sight of the goals which Lee set at the beginning—to have fun and bring enjoyment to our clients by providing excellent service at reasonable prices.

Meet the California Natives:

Photo of Lee Lee Klein: Founder and President of The California Native. Lee is an MBA who dropped out of a career as a corporate manager and college professor for a life of travel and fun.
Photo of Laurie Laurie Kraft Pepitone: Our Operations Manager, Laurie, has been keeping our trips running smoothly since 1993. She is also a certificated travel consultant.
Photo of Dave Dave Klein: (Lee’s son) Tour coordinator and musician, when he's not working with our clients or improving our web site, Dave performs throughout the world.
Photo of Lori Lori Klein Del Rosario: (Lee's daughter) Lori has led California Native trips for more than 20 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and two Master's Degrees in the areas of education and recreation.
Photo of Ellen Ellen Klein: (Lee's wife) Ellen serves as an international representative and scout for The California Native. Her background includes teaching, theater, and business management.
Photo of Fred Fred Grote: Fred, who has lived, taught and worked as a business consultant in Latin America, holds a Master's Degree in ESL and has led groups throughout the world.
Photo of Marcia Marcia Schultz: Marcia, who holds a Master's Degree in ESOL, has traveled extensively through Latin America and loves sharing her knowledge of the people, culture and history.
Photo of Wyatt Wyatt Wells: Wyatt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, has traveled extensively through Latin America and Europe, and co-owns and operates a permaculture landscaping company.
Photo of Robert Robert Konicek: Robert holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistics, has traveled extensively throughout the world, and has taught at colleges in the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Saudi Arabia, and Korea.
Photo of Lynn Lynn Reinecke: Lynn, who holds a degree in Anthropology, has been working with Mexico’s Tarahumara Indians and leading California Native trips for more than 15 years.
Photo of Jessica Jessica Jerman: Jessica has worked with social, educational, health and environmental organizations in the U.S. and Central America. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Sociology and has traveled throughout Latin America.
Photo of Bogart Gorilla Bogart: Bogart is in charge of customer complaints. He is very lonely because business in his department is almost nonexistent, so he contents himself with eating bananas.
Photo of Lauren Gorilla Lauren: (Bogart’s wife) Lauren is in charge of keeping Bogart happy and making sure that his bananas are peeled (Bogart is very fussy).
For more information, contact us at:
6701 W. 87th Place, Los Angeles CA 90045
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