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!
Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, China, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, England, Canada
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.
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 2018, I had the privilege of traveling to Myanmar for my first trip to Southeast Asia. While many think of Thailand or Vietnam when they first consider a trip to Asia, Myanmar was the perfect introduction to the region because it is remains so authentic and is absent of many tourists! My group and I basically had the entirety of the UNESCO-heritage listed Bagan to ourselves (over 2,000 temples/pagodas in 20 sq. miles!) and got to travel through the stilted towns of Inle Lake by small, long-tailed boat and visit family homes. My highlight of the trip was meeting a local monk who had founded an orphanage by himself and now houses and educates almost 1,000 children with only local donations. We simply wandered into his property and had a chance to speak to him and the children. It is unique moments like this with people from other corners of the world that I will always remember and cherish.
My Most Recent Trip
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!