Alumni Spotlight: Jack Alexander

I'm a 24 year old from a small town in Kentucky who just recently graduated from the University of Washington. I participated in the Grabatour Australia group tour from October 1st to Oct 8th, 2018.

Photos

Why did you choose this program?

A friend of mine took a gap year a couple years back and when he returned from all his travels he said one of the most amazing parts of the world was the Oceania. When I began to think about taking a gap year, his stories from the Oceania inspired me to think about traveling in that area.

Later in the year, Grabatour Travel visited my school and they were promoting their trips in Southeast Asia and Oceania. When I saw that they had an organized trip to Oz, I decided it was something I should seriously consider.

Since it would be my first time in Oz, I felt going through an organized program and going with other people around my age would be a good idea.

I ended up talking to a couple friends of mine who had experience with Grabatour Travel and I never heard one downside to the program. In fact, some of my friends are even planning to try and work for the program fairly soon.

After being quickly convinced it was a tour I would enjoy, I made a booking and later found myself in some of the most amazing parts of the world with some of the greatest people I've ever met.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Literally, the tour is full of amazing activities and is very well-organized, so I had no worries at all. Most of the activities were things I would never have booked on my own but are things I'll remember forever.

Our leader, Daniel, was nothing short of spectacular. He made me feel welcome from the moment he picked me up at the airport, told me places to go and visit as I arrived earlier than the tour start date. He has been genuinely amazing the whole trip, and has made up most of my favorite memories since landing here.

The Grabatour Travel crew also helped me out on the Australian admin needs such as bank account, Tax file number and free SIM card.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I'd recommend packing lightly! You can buy anything you need over here in Australia, so make it easy on yourself as a backpacker and bring only the essentials. Finally, enjoy! GrabatourOz is a great program and they really make sure you have everything taken care of, so treat it like a year-long vacation!

You'll meet tons of other people on GrabatourOz who are all doing the same thing as you are. The tour is a great way to make friends, and the guides make sure you're included. You might even have new roommates to live with by the end of your tour if you decide to stay in Oz for a while.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

In this first week, you’ll experience the world’s famous Bondi Beach, sail around Sydney Harbour, visit world heritage site: Blue Mountains, party at some of Sydney’s best bars and clubs, road trip north and learn to surf, go sandboarding, dolphin spotting, hang out with wild kangaroos, coastal walk, and so much more.

Highlights of the trip: Blue Mountains & Port Stephen

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

When I first came out, I was really nervous as I had originally planned to come to Australia with a friend who backed out. So coming out alone felt like a big leap to me. Daniel has been absolutely brilliant and is not just a tour leader, but a friend to the entire group. I was able to meet so many great people on my tour that I forgot I was worried about traveling alone.

Additionally, having the Grabatour leaders here to help me with the job search, housing and all the little details was a huge relief, and I felt like I could adjust to my new home easily with their help!

What's your next destination after Oz?

After my year working and travelling around Australia, I'm thinking of heading to Southeast Asia with a few friends I've made here in Sydney. Bali is also somewhere I've always wanted to go. And I will definitely be going on more Grabatour Travel trips! They are truly awesome.