Why I Work in Travel

My favorite part about working at Travel Beyond 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

Africa: Kenya
Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand
Additional countries: Japan, South Korea, China, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, England, Iceland, 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. In February 2018, I joined the Travel Beyond team.

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

In August 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and Laos. I flitted through the alleyways of Saigon on a Vespa, enjoyed a secret cocktail experience in the lantern-lit old town of Hoi An and made friends with elephants at a sanctuary in Luang Prabang. However, the highlight of our trip was a 2-day/1-night caving experience in Phong Na Ke Bang National Park. In the 90-degree heat, we hiked through the forests of Central Vietnam, stopping to visit some local minority communities, and ended up in Hang En cave, the world’s third largest! Here, we camped amongst the sounds of thousands of swallows. It was one of the most physically demanding things I have done in my life, but the sense of accomplishment and adventure I experienced is indescribable. If you would like to learn more, please read my blog!

My Most Recent Trip

In December 2021 I finally embarked on my first African safari in Kenya. Seeing wildlife such as lions, rhinos and giraffes up close for the first time was an incredibly moving experience for me. I even had the opportunity to witness a lion pride try to take down a buffalo! To think that humanity evolved right here on the African plains was awe-inducing and brought an odd feeling of comfort and familiarity. I visited a few different national parks in Kenya, including Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Lewa Conservancy and the Chyulu Hills. All have their own unique scenery, wildlife and history. And the activities were endless! In a short span of 10 days I traversed the African plains via mountain bike, horseback and even camelback! It was a treat to watch an expanse of stars each night amidst the backdrops of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the African bush. A safari is definitely a “must-do” travel experience!

Favorite Properties

Rosewood Luang Prabang

A stunning oasis in the UNESCO Heritage-listed town of Luang Prabang, Laos, Rosewood is a design buff’s dream. The Waterfall Pool Villas, Riverside Villas and Hilltops Tents all offer unique interiors inspired by French-Lao architecture and natural heritage. Enjoy views of the river from the Elephant Bridge Bar, and private cooking experiences with the resident chef.

Hotel Des Arts Saigon

An easy choice for anyone adventuring to the bustling city of Saigon, Vietnam, Hotel des Arts offers A+ service in a charming art-deco surrounding. Enjoy macarons and fresh cocktails in the lounge as you check-in, and be sure to celebrate in the evenings at the trendy Rooftop Bar. Located steps away from the Notre Dame Cathedral and Opera House, Hotel des Arts is a perfect launching point for any Vietnamese adventure.