What have your own international travels entailed?
When I started working with Rustic Pathways, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica. I had never traveled internationally before and while I always thought it would be something I would enjoy; I had no idea how much the experience would change my life. Since that first trip abroad, I have not been able to shake the travel bug and have made it a priority to visit at least one new place every year. Over the last six years I have traveled to Fiji, Australia, Panama, England, Scotland, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Germany, France, and the Dominican Republic. Travel is something that has become incredibly important to me and you can always find me planning the next adventure. Just a few more countries that are on my bucket list are Thailand, Egypt, Tanzania, and Morocco!
How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?
I found Rustic Pathways through complete happenstance. One of my hobbies outside of work is photography so naturally, I spend a lot of time on Instagram. One day I was scrolling through and found myself on another photographers feed in complete awe of his work. I couldn’t believe the incredible places he was visiting to photograph and thought to myself, how on earth is he doing this?! Through reading his bio I found out that he was a Photographer Guide at Rustic Pathways. At the time, I had no idea what that meant but a little internet sleuthing later, and I knew that Rustic Pathways was where I needed to be. When I realized that the headquarters were located just 20 minutes from my home, I spent the next 6 months scouring the internet for job postings until the perfect gig popped up. I haven’t looked back since!
What has been one of your favorite moments at Rustic Pathways?
One of my favorite moments at Rustic Pathways was our company-wide summit in 2017 when around 100 employees from countless countries came together to connect, learn, and celebrate. At the time, I had been with Rustic Pathways for almost three years. At such a global company often, you never meet the people you work with day to day or you might only see them once a year. This was an opportunity to finally meet those amazing colleagues on the other end of the phone! In that week, I realized how connected we all were over our shared love of Rustic and passion for travel. It felt like in a week my family grew 10x in size and spanned the world, and those connections have never faded!
What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?
I am proud to work for Rustic Pathways because I believe that what we do every day changes the world. It may not happen overnight, in a week, or even a year but it’s a ripple effect that can cross time and distance. I have witnessed firsthand the difference that our program experiences have on young people across the globe. Just a week or two in a new place can show you how another person lives, the difficulties they face in life, and the way they view the world. These revelations can change the way you live your life from day to day. You might simply find yourself more appreciative of the comforts available to you, like clean drinking water or access to vehicles. Or it might strike a chord in your heart that completely changes the trajectory of your life. You could witness the devastating effects of global warming or third-world poverty and devote your life to a new cause or career. It doesn’t matter how big or small the change in your life, travel broadens your mind and bridges gaps between people in a way nothing else can.