How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?
I began working for Rustic Pathways in 2016 as a Program Leader in Costa Rica. I was excited for the opportunity to spend a summer living and working in Costa Rica, and figured after that I would return to Colorado and find a job in education. I never would have guessed that 6 years later I’d still be living in Costa Rica and working full time with Rustic Pathways.
Through the years I’ve also had the chance to lead programs in the Dominican Republic and Thailand. In between seasons leading programs I have worked many different jobs, but always kept coming back to Rustic. After five years leading student and group travel programs, I was very excited to begin as a Global Program Advisor in April 2021.
What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?
My absolute favorite project is the Turtle Conservation Project at Refugio Camaronal in Costa Rica. My first year leading programs was in 2016 – I spent eight weeks at Camaronal and fell in love.
During the day, the beach looks like it’s straight out of Jurassic Park and on a clear night you can see the milky way light up the sky. I have seen hundreds of mama turtles coming to the beach to lay their eggs and have collected thousands of eggs throughout the years, which have hatched into lots of healthy babies.
I have learned an incredible amount about conservation, specifically about turtles, from the various park rangers, volunteer coordinators, and staff while there. Every time I return I am welcomed excitedly with open arms.
Conservation work is not easy and it’s not always pretty, but it’s important, rewarding, and very needed in our world. I’m extremely grateful to be part of a project that is directly impacting the survival of sea turtles!
What have your own international travels entailed?
I became really passionate about travel and experiential education while taking a gap year after high school. I spent 3 months in Peru and Bolivia learning Spanish, living with host families, and exploring the Andes mountains.
During this time I realized how big and beautiful the world really was and spent the next 10 years chasing any travel experience possible. In college I was lucky to participate in travel courses in Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Nicaragua and Mexico and to study abroad in Argentina.
While working with Rustic Pathways I have led programs in the Dominican Republic, Thailand, and Costa Rica, where I now live.
What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?
I am proud to work for Rustic Pathways because I believe travel is essential to making the world a better place. When young people are exposed to new people, different cultures, and other ways of life, their worldview can also expand and become more open and accepting.
Rustic Pathways helps to facilitate these connections on every program that we offer and I am grateful to be a part of that experience!