Rustic Pathways Alumni Stories

Rustic Pathways Alumni Stories

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Travel Scholarship Inspires Indian Student to Help Endangered Elephants

Apurva Anand

Thai Elephant Conservation, Thailand 2023

Travel Lessons Carry Teen Through Tragedy and Illness

Sebastian Hill

Costa Rica 2011 | Australia 2012 | Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam 2013 | Fiji 2014 | Morocco 2016

Seven Countries – A Lifetime of Memories

Madeline Moore

Fiji 2016 | Thailand 2017 | Tanzania 2018 | Peru 2018 | Croatia & Bosnia and Herzegovina 2019 | Morocco 2019

The Best Sweet Sixteen

Ella Russell

Pura Vida Service, Costa Rica 2022

Climbing to New Heights

Mackenzie Bernhardt

Sacred Valley Service, Peru 2022

Collecting Memories in Faraway Places

Elyse Lebrun

Surf and Service Costa Rica 2021, Big Fiji Explorer 2022

Getting Up Close with Nature

Taya Puner

Wild Galápagos: Eco-Service in Ecuador 2022

Unforgettable Experiences That Were Worth the Wait

Bridget Day

Turtle Conservation Project, Costa Rica 2022

Making Lifelong Friends Far from Home

Piper Salmon

Southeast Asian Adventurer, Thailand 2022

Lessons Learned from a Discouraged Mother Turtle

Sage Kehr

Turtle Conservation Project, Costa Rica 2022


Finding Peace and Purpose in the Mountains

Krish Khemlani

Himalayan Trekking and Temples, Nepal 2022

An Emotional Journey Through the Frigid Wilderness

Hailey Brown

Costa Rica 2017, Alaska 2022


Launching a Life of Service

By Hope Melton

Arizona 2015 | Costa Rica 2016 | Dominican Republic 2017

The Little Things Matter The Most

By Cora Nicolaisen

Heart of the Jungle 2021

Goal-Inspiring Experiences

By Lola Amaya

Dominican Republic 2016 | Morocco 2018

I Met My Life-Long Best Friend in the Dominican Republic

By Alison Sawyer

Summer Camp Leadership 2016

Finding Joy in the Little Things

By Sophia Kishimoto

Peru 2021

Back to the Bateyes

By Jessica Sheehan

Dominican Republic 2017 & 2021 | Peru 2018

Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

By Katelyn Sentnor

Turtle Conservation Project 2021

Where Are They Now? A Collection of Short Stories

By Tyler, Nuria, Anna and Raphaël

Where Are They Now? A Collection of Short Stories Pt. 2

By Allison, Griffin, Robin and Jillian

The Trip That Forever Changed Me

By Kanika Patel

Pura Vida Service 2021

Living in the Moment

By Nick Makris

Hawaii Service 2021

American To Peruvian

By Lucy Brada

Andes to Amazon 2021

From Surfboards to Building Blocks

By Caroline Bae

Surf and Service 2021

A Found Family in Costa Rica

By Olivia Venneman

Heart of the Jungle 2021

How Costa Rica Made me a Better Individual

By Zoe Ogden

Pura Vida Service 2021

I Unplugged from Technology and Felt Free in Peru

By Molly Caffry

Andes to Amazon 2021

The Rustic Experience is Like No Other

By Leelee Caudill

Peru 2014 | Fiji 2015 | Southeast Asia 2016

Discovering Yourself Outside of your Comfort Zone

By Elizabeth Pasquale

Southeast Asia 2017

Discovering a Love for Giving Back

By Ella Richter

Heart of the Jungle, Costa Rica 2021

Unforgettable Experiences in Morocco

By Ashley Angrimson

Moroccan Wanderer 2021

Traveling to Costa Rica in 2021

By Marina Brockus

Turtle Conservation Project 2021

Markuray: The Village that Changed My Life

By Zach Gross

Sacred Valley Service, 2017 | Bats, Hats & Gloves in the Dominican Republic, 2018

Nothing Short of Epic

By Lillian Stone

Service in the Clouds in India 2017 | Sacred Valley Project in Peru 2018 | Tanzania 2019

Environmental Impact in Puerto Rico

By Kelley Cardiff

Puerto Rico Paradise 2021

Dreams and Hardwork

By Zebulan Lyons

Sun, Sand and International Service 2017 | Rice Fields, Monks, and Smiling Children 2018

The Little Things Can Mean The Most

By  Liv Woodruff

Marine Life and Coastal Restoration, Dominican Republic 2019

More Than Just a Trip Abroad

By Annalise Bell

Morocco 2017

More Than Just a Summer Trip

By Quinn Bissetta

Soccer & Service in La Paz, Costa Rica 2013 | Mountain Air and Village Service, Dominican Republic 2014

It’s Okay to Be Human

By Hannah Soal

The Hill Tribe Orphanage and Refugee Camp, Thailand 2013

Pause and Be Present

By  Esmeralda Aguilar

Summer Camp Leadership, Costa Rica 2018

If Only I Could Be in High School Again

By Victoria TadewaldVictoria Tadewald - Rustic Pathways AlumniCaribbean Adrenaline 2014 | Seven Wonders of Australia 2015 | Leader Corps: Peru 2018

How Rustic Shaped My Being

By André Mershad Safari and a Splash of Paradise 2014 | Moroccan Wanderer 2015 | Escape to the Fiji Islands 2016 | Epic Outback 2016 | The Backroads of Southeast Asia 2017 | Great Barrier Reef Dive Expedition 2017

What it Means to be a Traveler, not a Tourist

By Audrey Mitchell

Big Fiji Explorer, 2017 | Moroccan Wanderer, 2018 | Southeast Asian Adventure, 2019

My Thank You Letter to Rustic Pathways

By Deandra Forde

Summer Camp Leadership 2013 | Advanced Leadership Challenge 2014

Just Jump

By Kelly Kane

Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica 2017

Prioritizing Our World Rather Than My World

By Gabrielle Antolovic

Big Fiji Explorer 2012 | Medical Service Certification Program 2013 | Elephants and Amazing Luang Prabang 2013 | Lake Titicaca Service Adventure in Peru 2014

How Rustic Taught Me to Find the Joy in the Simple Moments of Life

By Linnea Martin

Spring to the Sacred Valley 2017 | Intro to Community Service in Fiji 2017

Finding Me

By Jill Frazo

Peru 2018 | Dominican Republic 2019

Experiencing Gratitude Among the Most Gracious Cultures

By Reese Peters

Island Living and Eco-Service 2017

Educating with the World

By Charlotte Ide

Tanzania 2015 | Dominican Republic 2017

Taking Rustic Home

By Abigail Golden

Rustic Pathways Children’s Home in Thailand 2016 | Innovation in Action: Cuba 2017

Rustic Pathways Reflection

By Stephanie Guza

Sun, Sand and International Service 2017

Finding My Passion

By Valentina Baccianella

Sticky Rice Service Adventure, 2014 | From the Ground Up: A Seminar in International Development, 2015 | Elephants and Amazing Thailand, 2016

Creating Community

By Isabel Arya

Bri Bri Village Service Experience, 2016 | Mountain Air and Village Service, 2017 | Intro to Community Service in Thailand, 2018

Traveling Back in Time

By Tal Nagar

Island Living and Eco-Service, 2017 | Sun, Sand, and International Service, 2018

My Spark

By Kristen GadboisElephant Training and the Hill Tribe Experience, 2015 | Sun, Sand, and International Service, 2016

Just One of the Boys

By Chaviva Nicholas

Traveling Soccer and Service Team, Costa Rica 2019

A Conversation Under The Stars

By Emily Mae

Souqs and Service, 2018


Planting the Seed for Global Consciousness

By Perrin Duncan

Ghana, 2010 | Climbing Kilimanjaro, 2013

Unforgettable Memories in the Land of Smiles

By Fumie Watanabe

Medical Service Certification Program 2018

Breaking Barriers Through Rustic Ties

By Sarah KarpChildren of India, 2014 | Ultimate African Adventure, 2015

How Travel Changed My Life

By Holly HenkelSurf and Service in Costa Rica, 2017 | Island Hopping and Diving, 2018

Standing on Top of the World

By Kimberly Markowitz

Climbing Kili 2018

Gaining the Understanding of Others

By Ryan Barish

Heart of the Jungle 2017 | Big Fiji Explorer 2018 | Southeast Asian Adventurer 2019

My Attempt to Change a Life Through Words

By Addison Rhodes

Highlands and Islands Service Immersion 2018 | Culture and the Crater 2019

Lessons from Beyond the Classroom

By Charlotte Maracina

Sun, Sand, and Service in Fiji, 2017

Making the World a Better Place

By Holly LippmanSurf and Service, 2014 | Highlands and Islands Service Immersion, 2015 | Highlands and Islands Service, 2016

Life Lessons Through Travel

By Rachel S.

Summer Camp Leadership, 2015 | Beyond Capitol Hill, 2016 | Rebuilding New Orleans, 2017

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

By Sammi Fuller

Sun, Sand, and International Service in Fiji, 2015 | Peru Sacred Valley Service, 2016

Discovering My Path Within a Changing World

By Alexandra Pyne

Fiji Diver’s Dream 2015 | Caribbean Adrenaline 2016

Discovering My Path

By Mary Horton

Intro to Community Service 2018

Little Frustrations That Lead to Big Improvements

By Patricia

Into to Community Service in Thailand x The Rustic Pathways Children’s Home, 2018

Are You Ready to Change the World?

By Sarah Altieri

Good Works and the Grand Canyon 2015 | Beyond Capitol Hill: Refugee Youth Tutoring in Baltimore 2016 | Rebuilding New Orleans 2017 | Marine Life and Coastal Restoration, Dominican Republic 2018

Being Brave About Who I Am

By Tingyuan ChenThe Amazing Thailand Adventure, 2014 | Escape to the Fiji Islands, 2015

Only Regret: Not Going Earlier

By Abigail Evangelista

Amazing Thailand Adventure 2018 | Spring to Fiji 2019

My Introduction to the World of Wildlife Conservation

By Brice Cooper

Thai Elephant Conservation Project, Thailand 2015 | Turtle Conservation Project, Costa Rica 2016

Taking A Leap of Faith

By Rachel Rowland

Intro to Community Service: Fiji 2017 | Ricefields, Monks, and Smiling Children: Thailand 2018 | Off the Map: Mongolia 2019

What Travel is Really All About

By Pablo Gonzalez Ruiz

pablo gonzalez ruiz - Rustic Alumni

Fiji Leadership Challenge, 2015 | Costa Rica Adventure, 2014

A Journey to Remember

By Maria Araujo

The Hill Tribe Support and Refugee Camp Experience x The Amazing Thailand Adventure, 2015

The Rustic Recap

By Hannah GutensteinThailand Wanderer, 2016 | Moroccan Wanderer, 2015

Elephants, Tooth Pain, and Fireworks

By Caitlyn Morris

Rebuilding New Orleans 2013 | Thai Elephant Conservation Project 2015

Five Rustic Trips Later

By Megan Kahrs

Rebuilding New Orleans 2015 | Good Works and the Grand Canyon 2016 | Island Living and Eco Service 2017 | Wonders of Laos, 2018 | Culture and the Crater 2019

Profound Realizations from a Mystery Trip

By Taylor Badt

Mystery Trip 2017 | Moroccan Wanderer 2018

The Land of Smile

By Patricia

Into to Community Service in Thailand x The Rustic Pathways Children’s Home, 2018

How Rustic Pathways Has Changed My Life

By Annabelle Bragalone

Escape to Fiji 2014 | Elephant Training and the Hill Tribe Experience 2015 | Awesome Aussie Service Adventure 2016 | Ultimate Latin America 2017

Proving People Wrong

By Ethan Guinn

India 2017 | Fiji 2018 | Tanzania 2019

You Can Do Anything

By Camille Greening

Awesome Aussie Service 2018 | Ricefields, Monks, and Smiling Children 2019

Wonderful Little Moments

By Rachel JudsonMountain Air and Village Service, 2015 | Rebuilding New Orleans, 2016

Friends that Became Family, Places that Became Home

By Freja Tellefsen

Thai Elephant Conservation Project, 2018 | Highlands and Islands Service Immersion, 2019 | Sun, Sand, and International Service, Fiji 2019

My Rustic Pathways Experience

By Kerem Güra

California Dreaming 2016 |  Rebuilding New Orleans 2015

Gaining New Perspectives with Travel

By Pablo Ruiz Segura

Intro to Community Service, 2014 | Sarapiquí: A Tropical Service Adventure, 2014 | Surf and Service 2015-2016 | Seven Wonder of Australia, 2017

What Really Matters

By Lil Keller

Sacred Valley Service 2016 | Ultimate Latin America 2017 | Elephants and Amazing Thailand 2018

Taking Action at Home

By Nick Makris

You, a Roo’, and Australia Zoo, 2019 | Thailand Deep Dive and Global Issues Design Challenge, 2020

Learning to Work for Joy

By Juliet Onufrak

Amazon Explorer, 2013

There’s No Limit to Love

By Socia Morrish

Service in the Clouds, India 2017 and the Yeti Expedition, Nepal 2017

Traveling Intentionally

By Kylie Deverick

Fiji Service Excursion, 2018

Finding My Inner Unicorn in Scotland

By Cymone Van Marter

Dominican Republic, 2018

Get Lost, Then You’ll Be Found

By Jaron Flynn

Golden Lands and World Heritage Gap Semester 2018

Why I Ditched My Friends and Traveled Alone

By Dany G.

Rebuilding New Orleans 2014

Cuba: Through My Lenses

By Lillian Mahamedi

Intro to Photography in Cuba, 2017

How My Gap Year Prepared Me For So Much More Than Just College

By Hannah Repke

Rustic Pathways Gap Year

The Summer of No Regrets

By Sully Sim

Culture and the Crater, 2018 | Spring to the Sacred Valley, 2019 | Hanoi to Halong, Hill Tribe Service and Elephant Conservation, 2019

4 Letters from Students

By Charlotte, Cassie, Ryan and Izzy

Costa Rica, Fiji Islands, Morocco, Tanzania, Thailand

Why I Took a Gap Year Before Becoming the First in My Family to Go to College

By Sharif Campbell

Golden Lands and World Heritage Gap Year, 2015

How A Student Travel Program Helped Me Overcome My Anxiety

By Megan Gallagher

Rebuilding New Orleans, 2012 | Big Fiji Explorer, 2013

The #sorustic Spirit

By Caroline, Molly, and Natalie

Seven Wonders of Australia | Moroccan Wanderer | Soccer and Service in Costa Rica

Two Summers in Video

By Nicho and Jake

Off the Map, Peru | Mountain Air and Village Service, Dominican Republic

A Truly Life-Changing Experience

Interview with Christopher Regan

Australia, 1995

Go After What You Care About

By Dan, Sasha, and Molly

Photojournalism in Thailand and Laos | Service in the Clouds, India | Marine Life and Coastal Restoration in Fiji

Inspired to Give Back

Interview with Maya

Thai Elephant Conservation Project

Rustic Reflections

By Kaleigh, Tristan, and Allie

Seven Wonders of Australia | Moroccan Wanderer | Soccer and Service in Costa Rica

A Transformative Gap Year

Interview with Cailey Newton

Ricefields, Monks, and Smiling Children | Sacred Valley Service in Peru

2016 Top Fundraisers

By Madi, Cate, and Sydney

Hill Tribe Service and Elephant Conservation | Culture and the Crater | Souqs and Service | Nicoya Turtle Expedition,

Travel Influenced Post-High School Plans

By Basil, Rachael, and Sloane

Mountain Air and Village Service in Dominican Republic | Turtle Conservation Project | Off the Map Ghana | Amazing Thailand and Elephants


Travel Lessons and Advice from a Gap Year

Interview with Zoe and Camila

Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar Gap Year | Gap Year, Southeast Asia

Program Highlights and Advice to Travelers

Interview with Eric and Besart

Come With Nothing: The Mekong Expedition | Marine Life and Coastal Restoration

Eye-Opening Experiences

By Nabilla, Sarah, and Maggie

Souqs and Service | The Ultimate African Adventure | Children of India | The Thai Elephant Conservation Project | The Hill Tribe Support and Refugee Camp

Diving Into Unfamiliar Territory

By Isabella, Cameron, and Maria

Intro to Community Service in Fiji | The Amazing Thailand Adventure | Come With Nothing, Go Home Rich | Mountain Air and Village Service | Namaste India | Sacred Valley Service

How to Continue Service After Your Program Ends

Interviews with Nicole, Maddie, and Lena

Come With Nothing, Go Home Rich | Thailand Hill Tribe

 Become an Epic Global Citizen

Meet Sasha High

 Floating Villages, Cambodia 2010 | India, 2011

Advice on Immersing Yourself in a New Country

By Emma and Carolyn

Namaste India | The Thai Elephant Conservation Project | Green Island Service | Village School Service, Fiji

How Travel Changed Everything

By Taylor Brennan

Sacred Valley Service, 2015 | Surf and Service in Costa Rica, 2016

Travel Taught Me to Stand Up for What I Believe In

By Carey Davis

Bribrí Villages Service Experience, 2014 | The Thai Elephant Conservation Project, 2015 | Culture and the Crater, 2016 | Dreams of a Nation, Myanmar, 2017

From Tentmates in Peru to Roommates

Interview with Bridget and Olivia

 Sacred Valley Service 2015

Finding Ease in the Unknown

By Antonette Liao

Critical Issues Summit: Gender Equality, 2019

A Continued Journey into Positive Impact

Interview with Calista Schloessmann

Mountain Air and Village Service, 2019

7,295 Miles of Gratitude

By Mazzy Rosenast

The Children’s Home and Elephant Sanctuary Project, 2018 | Mountain Air and Village Service, 2019

My Experience During Spanish Immersion and Service

By Ilana Hamer

Spanish Immersion and Service in Costa Rica, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba, 2017

How Travel Helped me Identify my Academic and Career Path

By Heather Lyon

India, 2006 | Sacred Valley Service, 2007

Why You Should Take a Gap Year

By Aline Aronsky

India – Tanzania – Morocco – Australia, 2015

Shwedagon and Sunrises

By Brooke Cornetet

South Pacific Service and Ocean Skills Semester, 2013 | Golden Lands and World Heritage, 2014

The Power of a Gap Year

By Mikaela Gillman

Latin American Semester, 2012

Stories from Rustic Travelers

By Michael, Brielle, and Sam

Peru, Fiji, New Orleans

The Impact of a Gap Year

By Kelsey, Sharif, and Lance

Spanish Immersion and Service Gap Year; Golden Lands and World Heritage Gap Year; Southeast Asia and India Gap Year, 2015

Hear from Two Alumni Parents

By David and Melissa

Australia, Cambodia Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, India, Peru, Mystery Trip

What I Learned From Traveling

By Olivia M.

Refugee Youth Project in Baltimore, 2018

By Liz Ronzio

Tanzania; Fiji; India; China; Southeast Asia

By Charlie M.

Costa Rica, 2003; Thailand 2004; Gap Year – Backpacked 22 Countries with Rustic Pathways

By Brielle Friedman

Fiji, 2005; Thailand; New Orleans

By Andrea Bouch

Australia, 1998

By Lena Baker

Tanzania, 2008; Thailand, 2009

Have a Story to Share?

Everybody has a story and we want to hear yours. Not only do we want to hear it, we want to share it with students who will be traveling with us, your fellow Rustic alumni, and the Rustic family! We want everyone to know how great our alumni are, but more importantly, we want them to be inspired.

Rustic Pathways Alumni are known for being hard working, dedicated and solutions-oriented. We want to hear how your #sorustic experience helped you carry forth these and other traits beyond your experience with us.

Are you in school? Graduated? Do you have a new cool job? Or, do you have a cool story of making an impact and engaging with the world? We’d love to hear it!