How has your international experience evolved to make you an even more valuable addition to the Rustic Pathways team?
Most folks will say that travel has altered them in some significant way. For me, that came in the form of the extended contact and enduring relationships I’ve made with people around the world, who have been the lodestars of both my career path and identity. I imbue my work at Rustic with a sense of gratitude for these experiences and a passionate dedication to extend these opportunities to the next generation.
How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I started at Rustic Rustic Pathways at the start of 2018. Since then, I’ve seen some incredible leadership to navigate us through the upswell in interest from educators and schools across the world and retaining our status as the world’s best youth travel provider. Most importantly, though, the last two years we’ve served more students, across more continents, and laying the groundwork to make travel a part of every student’s education.
What makes Rustic Pathways different from other international program providers?
I work with educators and institutes from Morocco to Pakistan, and in doing so have had the chance to observe and compare not only the product we offer but also our philosophy in a discerning international market. What separates Rustic Pathways from other travel providers is the thoroughness of our programs and the dedication to creating a customized experience that fits school objectives. This isn’t just my own thought—it’s echoed by our partners (who return for subsequent trips more than 95% of the time).
Instead of forcing educators to adjust their goals and learning outcomes to the programs we offer, educators benefit from the Rustic philosophy to approach each trip as a canvas where schools can incorporate the learning goals, content, and talking points they want to cover. Our Country Teams and Program Leaders are also more than just tour guides, and come all parts of the world, bringing their perspectives to students and most importantly delivering on the curriculum we develop in tandem with our educators.
What has been one of your favorite moments at Rustic Pathways?
There’s a collection of them, but all of them with teams. Spending a few weeks in Tanzania and observing programs, meeting our team in San Francisco and attending a Cavs game near our HQ in Ohio, or just the time I’ve spent working with our fantastic coordination/logistics team across airports around the world. I guess my favorite moment is each time I get to travel with Rustic Pathways, and the feeling that I’m not alone, even when I’m on the other side of the world.
How did you first go about getting a global perspective?
I grew up in a military family and moved from place to place, living in different state or country for each year from 6th grade through University. It had its moments of difficulty, but moving and adapting to new places gave me the tools to appreciate the outlooks of others and how they came to them, and also what my own beliefs and values were in relation to them. Each of us are products of our environment, and the ability to inject new cultures, new places and new perspectives strengthens our own outlooks and strips away biases we may not be aware of.
What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?
I love to share in the accomplishments and success of our programs, whether over summer student travel or in our partnered school and group travel programs. The ability to observe and celebrate young peoples’ life-changing transformations matches my gives me great pride, and Rustic Pathways has been an excellent vehicle to continue this work and fulfill my purpose. After every trip, I get the chance to debrief educators and parents about the impact that our curriculums and country teams have had on their students. To know that we deliver these results, and sharing this feedback with a largest team of like-minded colleagues who have contributed to this result, brings me joy and keeps me focused everyday on how and what we at RP deliver to young people and communities across the world.