What countries have you traveled to?
When I was in college, I studied abroad for a year in Italy, and from there also visited France and Germany. I have since then also visited Morocco, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?
I first heard about Rustic Pathways while I was working as a barista at a local coffeeshop, just around the corner from the original RP office. The staff would pop in every once in a while to order coffee and after getting to know some of their stories, it was clear what a great company it would be to work for and how much fun the people were.
I had majored in International Studies in college, traveled abroad through school, and worked previously for an international exchange organization in New York City, so I was so excited there was a company aligned with my interests, right in my own back yard.
How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I have been working for Rustic Pathways since May 2012.
Have you traveled with other Rustic Pathways employees? What was your experience like?
I have! My first trip with Rustic Pathways was to Costa Rica as a flight leader, together with one of my colleagues. The Rustic Pathways staff in Costa Rica put together an itinerary so we could visit where many of our students travel and learn about the programs they experience firsthand.
I remember being so grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality of our hosts. The colleague that I traveled with is now my neighbor, and lives about ten houses down the street from me.
Aside from traveling with colleagues to other places, we have also hosted colleagues from out of town during their visits to our central office in Ohio. That is always a great bonding experience. One colleague was even here on my daughter’s first day of kindergarten and got to see us send her off on the bus for the first time.
What has been one of your favorite moments at Rustic Pathways?
A couple years ago, I was able to travel with my daughter to the Dominican Republic and visit the communities where Rustic Pathways works there. She was only 8, and it was her first time out of the country. I was so grateful to be able to show her a new perspective and let her see what life is like outside of our small community.
It was an amazing experience to witness firsthand how she processed all the differences and how she had to challenge herself in real time. There is nothing quite like seeing your child interact with a group of other children who do not speak the same language as her, and somehow get along just fine and feel like she has made new best friends.
I love hearing her tell stories now to her friends at home – I can tell it left a lasting impression on her. She often talks about what it was like when we visited the Bateyes and helped mix cement for a new floor in someone’s home, and of course about all the lizards we saw.