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!
Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand
Additional countries: Japan, South Korea, China, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, England, Iceland, 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 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 August 2022, I finally had the opportunity to go on a Travel Beyond trip with my lovely parents to celebrate our birthdays. Having never been to South America, we chose to visit Peru — for it’s mix of cultural experiences and plethora of outdoor activities. My favorite part of the trip was when we took the Hiram Bingham train into Aguas Calientas (Macchu Picchu). The food on board the train was wonderful, and we enjoyed watching the beautiful scenery while being serenaded by an amazingly entertaining local singer in the bar car. Machu Picchu itself was a magical bucket list item, but Peru offered many more fun experiences to be had, including a visit to Lima’s fantastic Museo de Larco for a look into ancient Peruvian history through archeologically excavated art.
Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos
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, Vietnam
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.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Peru
The villas at Hacienda Urubamba offer stunning views of Peru’s Sacred Valley. You’ll wake each morning greeted by mountains shrouded in mist, a vista you can appreciate from your bed or private terrace. The villas themselves are spacious and comfortable without being too over the top and the service is top notch!
Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya
As one of the only properties in the Chyulu Hills, a stay at Ol Donyo Lodge feels like a private retreat amongst the rolling hills of the region. The villas are some of the largest I have seen, with plunge pools and star beds from which you can appreciate the Kenyan night sky. With a wide range of activities on offer, from mountain biking to visits to nearby Maasai communities, this lodge allows space to focus on other things besides just the wildlife. The food and staff also cannot be beat!