"Traveling while young completely changed me. It ignited this curiosity in me."
Ros visiting Machu Picchu in Peru
When did you first learn about GLA and when did you start working for us? What led you to working with GLA?
Ros: I was working for STA Travel when GLA approached us about being their preferred Travel Agency. Through that experience I became familiar with the clientele, flight routing and dealing with concerned parents!
In December 2013 STA Travel closed its retail division, and not wanting to relocate to Arizona, I approached GLA about a job and jumped onboard in December 2014.
What do you enjoy most about coordinating travel for others in general? And how about for GLA students?
Ros: I enjoy the puzzle really. I get great satisfaction from taking someone's travel dreams and ideas, and making it into a really tidy reality for them! There is nothing quite like the feeling of presenting something you're confident about to a student and watching them beam with excitment and disbelief at the seamlessness of the itinerary.
What made you want to work in the travel industry?
Ros: I never actually wanted to work in the travel industry; it was something that I guess you could say I discovered.
All in all, I fell into being a travel agent and how I got here was purely based on the demand for people wanting to speak with someone who had been there and done that. I don't mind being that person. If can save someone a few headaches, make a living and enjoy doing it, then why not?
Discovery and the unexpected - the traveler's end goal! Going off that, can you give us a little background on the Ros story? How does it tie in to your current work in youth-centered travel?
Ros: My parents let me go on a student exchange with my high school to Japan when I was 14. My older brother and sister were never allowed to go to school camp, so this was a big deal. I guess being the youngest by 10 years has its perks! This maiden voyage essentially birthed my curiousity for everything outside of what I know.
During college I studied abroad in Italy and did a little travel to France, England and Switzerland. This was my first time abroad completely alone. I was with other students during class; however, afterward I was left to my own devices. This is where I learned to cook for myself, do my own laundry, pack my own bags. I guess it could be likened to when a US student goes away to college!
This my first time-away-from-home experience. The learning curve on this trip was steep but life-changing.
Ros in Australia, her home country
What GLA programs have you visited, and what did you think of them? Did they have an impact on the way you see providing travel opportunities to others?
Ros: I have traveled to Tanzania and Bali with GLA.
Tanzania was incredible. It was unlike anything I have experienced before. The strong family values of the culture make you feel instantly welcome. The simplicity of life makes you rethink everything you think you "need." People would ask me, "Oh, what is the poverty like in Tanzania?" and I would respond, "They're not poor; they're happy with less." I'm sure there are parts where extreme poverty exists, but from what I saw, the real value is within your relationships with others and not in how many material items you possess.
Bali was actually somewhere that wasn't on my list of places to visit because I was familiar with all the Australians who go there for vacations. It's like Cancun to us. Knowing I was going with GLA meant that I would actually experience something though, and I was very curious to see what that was. The Balinese way of life is quite simple in theory, but deep in practice. Their entire life is centred around their harmony with people, harmony with the environment and harmony with God. It was a real journey and a wonderful experience to have had. Truly, GLA shows a side of Bali I don't think many see.
What is your best piece of advice for someone looking to travel overseas? Any tip that will save any traveler a lot of headaches?
Ros: Flights get expensive if you wait too long. The expression "last minute flight sale" is an oxymoron.
Wait too long, and you can expect the flights to start filling up and prices to go up. That's essentially how it works.
Let's say there are 50 seats in the plane that are all economy. Ten of those seats will be priced at $10, the next ten at $20 and so on until the last ten seats are $50 each. All these seats are in economy, the person who pays $50 is not getting any extra perks when compared with the person who spends $10... the difference is the demand. If the demand is there, the airline will up the price. So book early.
If you see a price that you like, and you think to yourself, "if this price went up, would I be annoyed I didn't book it?" what would your response be? If the answer is yes, then you should book it. Sure, there is a chance it could get lower, but if you're happy with the price and you don't want to factor in a price hike into your budget, then just book it and start looking forward to your next adventure!
Ros in Cambodia
What is your go-to life advice for others looking to travel and volunteer abroad?
Ros: Don't pass up an oppurtunity to travel. You may just discover your calling along the way.
We couldn't agree more! Thanks for the advice, Ros.