How did you get involved with Rustic Pathways?
My wife and I were formerly high school teachers in Australia. We took a year’s leave in 2008 and went traveling around the world.
During our travels, we connected with Rustic Pathways in Costa Rica, successfully applied for work, and spent the summer managing Surf & Service programs in Mexico.
After summer, we applied for a role with Rustic in Australia, commenced full-time in December 2008 and have never looked back!
How do you stay focused on Rustic’s mission to positively impact lives and communities around the world?
Rustic’s mission, vision and values strongly align with my personal values and purpose in life. I’ve always had a heart for supporting disadvantaged and marginalized people.
When there’s a natural synergy and alignment of values, working doesn’t feel like a job; it feels more like living a purposeful life with an extraordinary extended international family.
Why do you view travel as an essential part of every education?
My life has been significantly shaped by travel. All the life-long lessons I’ve learnt have come through experiences, and travel is such a unique context for experiential education.
Given the pressing challenges our world faces, now more than ever it is critical for young people to be making decisions with a global perspective. Deep understandings of our world can only be achieved through connecting with people who are impacted by issues such as climate change and access to education. Classroom education and academic learning is important but it needs to be complemented with education through travel.
What makes Rustic Pathways’ programs different from other programs in Australia?
Rustic Pathways has the widest range of student travel programs for teens looking to travel to Australia in June, July and August. When you come to Australia with Rustic, you’ll have local Aussie leaders with you throughout your time in-country, which combined with meaningful service projects creates a truly immersive experience that’s distinct from what other providers offer.
What is the most important thing participants bring home with them?
Our team works hard to ensure students return with a deeper understanding of themselves, other people and our world. While photos and souvenirs hold some value, it’s far more impactful for students to return with stories about Australian people and places, which shapes how students perceive our world and their place within it.