We’ve had a lot of fun introducing you to the various people who make everything at Discover Corps run smoothly. First, we met our travel specialist Alex, then we met our founder Andrew, and today, we’re introducing you to the lovely Jasmine.
She’s a sunny soul who is passionate about sharing the power of experiential travel with others. If you’re interested in going on a volunteer vacation with Discover Corps, there’s a good chance you’ll chat with her on the phone.
Put a face to the voice, and say hello to Jasmine!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Oakland, CA, and from there I lived all throughout Northern and Southern California as well as Washington state (Navy family). However, I consider my hometown to be San Jacinto, which is a small town about 30 minutes from Temecula, CA. I currently live in sunny San Diego and love everything that comes with this city. I’m in love with anything and everything adventure related with a great view. I’m addicted to being outside — but being in the ocean or riding down the slopes of a mountain are some of my favorite adrenaline rushes. Also, I’m a huge foodie!
2. What got you into traveling?
I am a Pinay (my mother is Filipino) and she took me on a trip to the Philippines when I was in the 5th grade. That was my first time being exposed to an impoverished rural area. I think that early exposure planted the seed.
3. Why are you passionate about Discover Corps’ mission?
It’s so real and connects deeply to what many people really desire. To discover a country through its people, travel deep, serve, explore, adventure, learn, be immersed in a different culture… I get so fired up thinking about how these things are really delivered on the trips!
4. Tell us about a Discover Corps trip you went on: What was your favorite moment? Most challenging moment?
I recently went on our Costa Rica volunteer vacation in December and fell in love with the country! It was so neat having such a diverse group of people on the trip, but all were there with a similar desire to travel differently than they ever have before.
My favorite moment was helping out at the after-school program in town and seeing how grateful the ladies who ran the program were. I loved to see the local kids so eager to help us in any way they could. It was great playing soccer, getting filthy from painting, and practicing my terrible conversational Spanish with the kiddos. The most challenging moment was completing our time at the after-school program and having to say goodbye to the kids.
5. What’s one thing you *always* pack in your suitcase?
CHOCOLATE. For some reason when traveling, I always crave it. Peanut butter will suffice as well. My journal is also a must-have.
6. Where’s your #1 dream destination? Why?
Everywhere? I’m all over the map with my wanderlust, but right now I would love to explore more of East Africa. I fell in love with Uganda two summers ago and I would love to go back. I feel myself gravitating towards Tanzania. Discover Corps has an amazing volunteer vacation in Tanzania where we do so many fun cultural activities with the Masai tribe and hike to the base of Mt.Kilimanjaro. Every time I talk about it, I can’t help but dream about going there one day.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from traveling?
Gratitude and the beauty of simplicity. Traveling exposes you to so many ways that people live — many times in not so glamorous conditions. However, I’ve met some of the most joyful people all around the globe and they seem to always be so happy with so little. Less oftentimes is more.
8. What would you say to someone who would like to volunteer abroad, but is afraid of taking that first step?
DO IT! Volunteering abroad is such a powerful and beautiful experience. There is something about serving others that awakens the soul. Making the decision to actually say yes is scary, but what do you have to lose? There is such a peace in knowing you are contributing in some way. Along the way you can connect with other people from all walks of life. Challenge yourself to take the risk and you will without a doubt come back forever impacted.
A big thanks to Jasmine for sharing her story with us. If you have any questions for her, please leave them in the comments below!