Every other Thursday on The Volunteer Traveler blog, we’re going to bring you behind-the-scenes profiles of the people and places at the heart of Discover Corps: our staff in the US and abroad, our partner organizations, and our former travelers. We’re confident their stories and insights will educate, entertain, and inspire you.
This week, we’re pleased to introduce Alex DuBois, who works at our San Diego headquarters as a Travel Specialist. If you’ve got questions about one of our volunteer vacations, he’s the guy to ask. Take it away, Alex!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I was born in a small town in New Jersey and, after high school, moved to the West Coast for undergrad. I proceeded to travel quite extensively afterwards, pursuing my graduate coursework in Europe. That being said, I love traveling, exploring new places, meeting new people and, of course, anything ocean related. We are lucky living here in Southern California, with access to some of the best beaches in the world, so I love to take advantage of that.
2. What got you into traveling? Is there a specific moment or experience you can point to?
Growing up in such a small town, I always knew that there was a huge world out there to explore. My first true experience abroad was a semester in Bangkok, Thailand during senior year of college. Spending an extended period of time in a chaotic city like Bangkok certainly ignited the travel bug and led me to travel onwards to some amazing places across the world.
3. How long have you been working at Discover Corps? What does your role entail?
I have been with Discover Corps for a little over a year now, but with Terra Education for over two years. As a Travel Specialist, I really have my hands in most parts of the organization. From helping people choose their trips to preparing the trip with our partners around the world to making sure our travelers have a smooth journey, I help make the wheels of the organization turn on a day-to-day basis.
4. What’s the one thing you always pack in your suitcase?
Clif Bars — lots of Clif Bars! You never know when you’re gonna get hungry, especially after long plane, train and bus rides!
5. What’s your favorite country for food? Nature?
My favorite country for food would definitely be Thailand — good pad thai is very hard to beat. For nature, I would have to say Tanzania — going on safari and coming face-to-face with some of the most magnificent creatures on earth is indescribable .
6. What’s your #1 dream destination? Why?
My dream destinations are always changing. Right now, I have my eyes set on the Maldives, a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean. They are slowly disappearing as seas rise, so I would love to make it to some of these remote atolls before they are gone.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from traveling?
People are inherently good. I’ve traveled through over 40 countries now and, in many of these countries, stayed with locals. It never ceases to amaze me how eager people are to welcome you with open arms into their world. These experiences have come together to shape my worldview and are definitely what drives me to help others have similar experiences.
8. What would you say to someone who would like to volunteer abroad, but is afraid of taking that first step?
Don’t overthink everything; it’s easy to do. Pack your bags, take the plunge and don’t look back. I have never met a person in all of my journeys that regretted their decision to do this!
A big thanks to Alex for telling us his story. If you know somebody who could use some travel inspiration, use the buttons below to share this post!