What countries have you traveled to?
Costa Rica, Fiji, Australia, Dominican Republic.
How has your international experience evolved to make you an even more valuable addition to the Rustic Pathways team?
The ability to speak confidently with clients about the international destinations they are sending their child is extremely valuable. I was recently speaking with a parent who was planning to travel in-country during the same time as her child’s Rustic Pathways program and being able to share some of my personal travel experiences within Costa Rica had a very positive impact on our conversation.
How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I started working as a Personal Travel Advisor at Rustic Pathways in November 2013.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
Building relationships and sometimes even close friendships with my clients. I have sent and received both hand-written notes of thanks and holiday cards from my clients!
What makes Rustic Pathways different from other international program providers?
I believe there are several aspects at Rustic Pathways that set us apart from the competition. First, we have amazing customer service. When you enroll, you will have a Personal Travel Advisor who will be your point person to help you prepare for travel. Second, we have an entire in-country team who is knowledgeable about the countries our students visit and create programs to benefit local communities. Third, we are authentic and show students more than just popular tourist areas which leads to transformative experiences for the students who travel with us.
Have you traveled with other Rustic Pathways employees? What was your experience like? The last week of summer in 2017, I led a group of students on the international flight to Costa Rica. Little did I know, our Costa Rica Team created a surprise itinerary for me to see some of our operations so I could confidently speak with families about our programs. Over the course of the week I was in-country, I had the opportunity to travel with a few different staff members (who I now call friends) from our Costa Rica Team. I was completely amazed at how welcoming, thoughtful and caring they were during my week. The itinerary for each day was a complete surprise and I had the chance to see several different base houses and take part in a few activities. I will always be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to see our Costa Rica operations and create friendships with some wonderful people.
What has been one of your favorite moments at Rustic Pathways?
One of my favorite moments was when a client recently told me that whenever she is in contact with me, she feels like she is visiting with a family member or a long-time friend.
How did you first go about getting a global perspective?
In 2005 my mom introduced me to international travel by taking me to the Bahamas. My next travel experience was in 2008 when I traveled to Sydney and Brisbane for two weeks to play softball against the Australian Olympic team. Since then, I have had some additional international adventures thanks to Rustic Pathways. I even had the chance to visit Australia again in 2015 and spent a few days scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
Why do you view travel as an essential part of every education?
Stepping out of your comfort zone and seeing a new country and culture truly has the power to transform lives. When you take a moment to appreciate the beauty in nature and recognize living simply has some incredible benefits (like connection to self and others) change naturally happens. I truly believe every person deserves to have travel be a part of their education. Two stories about the impact of travel really stand out in my mind from my time at Rustic Pathways. First, I had one family share that their 18-year-old son returned home from Mongolia and decided to give up his iPhone. Another student returned home and started a non-profit to help elephants in Thailand. Without travel, these experiences, and I am sure many others, would have never happened.
How do you embody Rustic Pathways’ vision and bring it to life?
As a Personal Travel Advisor, I work directly with families once they have enrolled into a Costa Rica program to help them prepare for their child’s international adventure. I feel very connected to the vision at Rustic Pathways because preparing for travel is the first step (after making the decision to travel) which leads to the life-changing experience.