Where Are They Now? A Collection of Short Stories

Where Are They Now? A Collection of Short Stories

We caught up with Rustic Pathways alumni to ask what is going on in their lives and if their Rustic experience played a role in their story. Read their stories below!

Tyler Smith’s Story

Traveled with Rustic Pathways from 2014-2015 | Thailand, Ghana

My name is Tyler Ashley Smith and I went on Rustic Pathways programs in 2014 and 2015 to Thailand and Ghana. Since then I have attended Syracuse University and have graduated with a major in Human Development and Family Science, as well as a minor in mindfulness and contemplative studies.

It is with great gratitude and excitement that I have accepted a position as a full-time teacher in a charter school in Denver, teaching kindergarten through fifth grade students in all subject areas.

I think my story originates from my passion for connecting with others and working with children. I have always found it fulfilling to see a smile grow on a person’s face, and I am so excited to see that passion grow in the real world. Through working with kids and others I have found my own mission statement, which is to help others see themselves as I do.

Learning Through Travel

My Rustic experience plays a huge role in who I am today. From traveling all around the world and meeting all different sorts of people, and engaging with numerous cultures, I have learned more about myself than I could ever imagine.

In Thailand, I worked teaching English to school children, where I gained the appreciation of creating strong relationships no matter the barrier. In Ghana, I learned the importance that lies beneath experiencing life with another culture and opening yourself up to a world of possibility and hope.

Whether we were engaging in photography workshops, building schools out of cinderblocks, or simply eating crickets on the streets of Thailand, Rustic has given me more depth in human experience and interaction than I could’ve had anywhere else.

Nuria Sainz Mañas’ Story

Traveled with Rustic Pathways from 2013-2014 | Costa Rica, Thailand

I graduated in Biochemistry in Universidad de Granada and currently I am studying a Master’s Degree on Humanitarian Operations in Emergencies at the Social Change School.

I started my first volunteering abroad experiences with Rustic Pathways and since then I have been a volunteer in various projects both in Spain (school support, welcoming migrants in Granada, literacy, etc.) and abroad ( School in Tanzania, refugee camps in Greece, Community Development in Peru).

Since 2012 I have been strongly involved in Amnesty International as an activist and founded Les Bolinguis, a non-profit which believes in music and theatre as a powerful tool for social change.Rustic was my first abroad-volunteering experience and made me change my outlook from my comfortable first-world privileged girl. Especially the Come With Nothing, Go Home Rich program. That made big changes on my personal beliefs and concept of traveling and the world, triggering a new Nuria that through all the experiences and people that met afterward became sure to dedicate her life to social change.

Anna Wood’s Story

Traveled with Rustic Pathways in 2014-2016 | Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Tanzania 

I’m majoring in anthropology and global health at Middlebury College. I’m fascinated by the social organization, belief systems, and lifestyle practices of different cultures around the world.

I hope to apply this degree to a public health-related career, possibly in the nonprofit sector. Covid-19 disrupted my study abroad plans, but I would have studied in Argentina for a semester, pursuing public health related courses and an internship. Immediately after college graduation, I’d love to go into PeaceCorps or FoodCorps for a bit.

I look back on my Rustic trip experiences while reading and learning about various cultures and societies. Anthropology requires an open mind, and Rustic definitely helped prepare me for this aspect of my college major.

Raphaël Scotto’s Story 

Traveled with Rustic Pathways from 2015-2016 | Laos, Thailand

Hello, I am Raphaël. I am 20 years old. I did two Rustic experiences, both were Come with Nothing programs because I wanted to live with locals and live a real experience in my life.

I wanted to help others and I shared incredible experiences with locals, but also I met some incredible people from all over the world, and I am still in contact with some of them!

Now I am a medical student, my aim is to become a resuscitator or surgeon and help others in my daily life. 🙂

My Rustic Pathways experiences helped me to be sure I wanted to help others, and I am now following this path.