Melissa Schmidt's roots run deep in California. She spent her childhood in San Luis Obispo, attended college in Santa Cruz and now calls a sleepy town in West Marin home. After nine years with Backroads—leading trips worldwide and as a Berkeley-based Private Trips Consultant—she landed a role as one of our most trusted Trip Experts. "Leading trips for Backroads constantly challenges me and exposes me to people and places I wouldn't normally come across. I love the sense of adventure every day holds." As for what she does in her free time, it sounds pretty similar: "I ride my bike through Northern California. I love to head out on my free time and enjoy every mile."