Did YOU take a gap year abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
I spent a year studying, eating and dancing flamenco in Granada, Spain. I deferred a year before heading off to university and I lived with a diverse group of students from around the world. I wanted to design my own experience without the parameters of a college campus. I ended up taking classes in European Architecture and Photography and spent the weekends adventuring to the beach or mountains. It was the best decision I could have made; I returned to college rejuvenated and had a better global awareness and curiosity.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
I truly believe that travel is most enriching when coupled with cultural and language learning. You connect with people on a deeper level when you can speak a common tongue and therefore showing knowledge and interest in the host culture. Language and cultural immersion allow you to tread new ground and have out of the ordinary experiences. Understanding a country's history and politics will give you a richer understanding of the culture that surrounds you.
Each traveler should act as an ambassador, showing compassion and interest in another culture can broaden one's global acceptance and understanding.
What's your favorite ethnic dish?
Food is my soft spot. I can't help myself from trying anything wrapped in a bamboo leaf or on a street side grill. My favorite dish is a close tie between veggie Tajine of Northern Africa and Vietnam's Bun Bo Nam Bo. I love the spices and smells of Moroccan food, the color and pride in a good cup of mint tea or slow cooked Tajine. I also love the freshness of Vietnamese food - mint, peanuts, rice noodles and fresh fish sauce (nuoc cham).
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the Pacific Discovery team.
I am overwhelmingly proud to be a part of Pacific Discovery team. I cannot speak highly enough of how professionally and compassionately Pacific Discovery involves both leaders and participants to create truly unique, fun and educational programs. I love that Pacific Discovery has maintained personal friendships with our onsite activity and home-stay partners for over 20 years, when our founders' Scott and Rachel started their own travels in our program areas. Pacific Discovery focuses on hands on participant involvement and growth but also conscious and sustainable travel. Pacific Discovery supports NGOs, training programs, schools and socially conscious businesses; I am proud to work for a company that actively cultivates my passion for socially conscious travel and global learning and enriches our participants with these same values.