Two weeks ago I spent five days putting together an extensive application: resume, letters of recommendation, contact references, 3-page cover letter, essay questions, a copy of my “Travel Disclaimer” and even a picture collage.

Last Thursday I flew, shuttle-ed and taxi-ed my way to the LEAPNow office near Santa Rosa, California for interviewing.

And today, I am rubbing my eyes in disbelief that I have ACTUALLY landed the job as a Trip Leader Assistant in a volunteer/work/learn/adventure excursion through Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

That’s right! Beginning September 8th, (ONE week after my return from Korea!) I will be assisting in leading a group of college and high school students — AND those who follow this site — through three months of adventures in Australasia!

What kind of adventures am I speaking of? Of study of wilderness ecology in New Zealand. Of work on conservation and environmental projects. Of staying with a small Maori village. Of outdoor adventure activities including overnight treks, river rafting, caving, and coastal boat trips.

Of travel up the Eastern coast of Australia; Melbourne, Sydney, the legendary Byron Bay and Brisbane. Of study of the Aboriginal culture. Of a week of diving the Great Barrier Reef. Of outdoor adventures on an Australian Ranch including abseiling, ropes courses, four-wheel driving, bush dancing, and goat mustering! (If anyone knows what the heck “goat mustering” is — please email me.)

And a few weeks of building low-cost homes (with Habitat For Humanity) for the poor on the Pacific Island of Fiji. And maybe *just maybe* a little downtime on the beaches.

I’m so excited I could cry.

But I don’t have TIME to do even that! As those of you who follow this site already know — I hate saying goodbyes. And I’ve suddenly (and surprisingly) found that my attachment to the people and places of Portland is significant. My “allergies act up” at the thought of the hugs I’ll have to distribute today. But I’ll buckle down, busy my mind by procrastinating on packing until 10 pm and brace myself for the “fly high” — that euphoric buzz one gets on the plane in anticipation of the adventures of a future unknown.

Um…yes. *slaps arm* Someone pass me the IV. Because six straight months of “fly high” and glob-trotting adventure start — tomorrow.


For more details on the Australia/New Zealand/Fiji itinerary, or other similar learn/volunteer/work/adventure excursions, check out LeapNow.com. (Heck! I think there are still a few spots open in the Australaisa trip if you want to COME with me!)

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