Why I Work in Travel

I have been in the travel industry for a year now and my favorite part is being able to help other people have the transformative experiences that international travel provides. From my own personal experience living and working abroad, I have realized that being in a different culture, even for a short amount of time, can inspire a great deal of inner reflection on yourself and your own culture. I came back from Japan almost a changed person, and my perspectives and outlooks have shifted. Talking to clients both before and after their trips and being able to witness these changes in others is very inspiring. Also, working in the travel industry allows me to keep travel as a large part of my life without being too far away from those I love. It’s a win-win!

Destinations Visited

Japan, South Korea, China, Italy, Spain, France, England, Canada

Education

I graduated from St. Olaf College in 2014 with a degree in Political Science and Asian Studies and a minor in Japan Studies. I also had the opportunity to study abroad for 4 weeks in Tokyo and Beijing my sophomore year, with another semester in Tokyo at Waseda University in Fall 2012.

Career History

Right after graduation, I moved to Tokyo, Japan as a participant of the government-sponsored JET program. There, I taught English for 2 years at a public high school. After I returned to the U.S. in the summer of 2016, I got a job working as a participant services coordinator for a local international educational experience provider called World Endeavors, helping to coordinate internships and volunteer programs abroad for young students. I became a member of the Travel Beyond team this February, and am excited to expand my knowledge and grow in this industry.

Where I’ve Lived Abroad

I was born and raised here in the Twin Cities, but spent a total of 3 years of my life living in Tokyo, Japan. This involves 2 stints studying abroad, a summer internship, and my 2 years on the JET program.

Most Memorable Travel Experience

For me, it is hard to pick a particular moment, but I highly recommend that anyone who gets the opportunity should spend time living abroad for an extended period of time. During my two years in Japan, every day was an adventure. From exploring my neighborhood ramen-yas and temples, to the daily cultural experiences of watching Sumo wrestling with my local café owner and attending the tuna auction at 5:00 am at the world’s largest fish market. Each day brought me something new, however, I think the most memorable experience would be when I witnessed my first students graduate. Knowing that I played a part in their education and could inspire an interest and curiosity within them for learning about the world was very rewarding.

Outside of my second home of Japan, I would say that spending the night in a secluded village beside the Great Wall of China was an especially unforgettable experience for me. The villagers allowed us students into their homes in the dead of winter, cooked for us, and set off fireworks that dangerously exploded over our heads. In the dead of night, they guided us up the side of a large hill so we could watch the sunrise from the Great Wall itself. My time in China was my first trip outside of family vacations to Europe, and it gave me a strong desire to continue exploring and interacting with those who live across the globe.

My Most Recent Trip

My last time abroad was when I lived in Tokyo, Japan until August 2016. Although, for my birthday in May 2016, I was also able to make my long-awaited trip to Seoul, South Korea and visit a close friend in the South Korean army. I ate lots of good food, practiced my language skills, and saw parts of Seoul from a local’s perspective. As a fan of Korean dramas and K-pop, it was fun to see the country for myself, although I had witnessed it through a screen many times before. I cannot wait to go back for a longer period and explore the rest of the country.