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Interview with #ThankfulForTravel Winner, Andrew Garcia!



As a part of STA Journey’s latest #ThankfulForTravel promotion (which raised over $10,000 for our charity companions at Teen Most cancers America!) we additionally entered each one who participated right into a drawing to win a $500 STA Journey voucher!

UC Santa Cruz pupil, Andrew Garcia, was our fortunate winner and we caught up with him to be taught a bit extra about his journey aspirations and what it means to him to be #ThankfulForTravel.

1.Inform us a little bit bit about your self!

My title is Andrew Garcia and I’m a 3rd yr Human Biology main on the College of California Santa Cruz. I’m from lovely, sunny San Diego which is the place I draw the inspiration for what I wish to do with my diploma. I wish to go to medical faculty to turn out to be a basic practitioner to assist my group.

2. What made you wish to enter the #ThankfulForTravel promotion?

I’ve not had the chance to journey earlier than my time in faculty. My mother received to journey everywhere in the world when she was my age, inspiring me to do the identical. This yr I’ve had the chance to journey to the US’s greatest cities, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and even studied overseas in Barcelona, Spain. I’m grateful for the chance I’ve had be taught and encourage others to journey.

three. What’s your favourite place you’ve traveled to?

My favourite place I’ve traveled is Barcelona, Spain. I communicate Spanish and I’ve been finding out Spanish tradition for almost all of my life. Learning overseas gave me the chance to discover Catalonia. The nightlife and the seashores in Spain are second to none.

four. How do you assume you’ll use your $500 journey voucher? Any particular vacation spot/journey in thoughts?

I’ve caught the journey bug! I wish to get again on the market to proceed to discover. Spain was a terrific start line as a result of I communicate Spanish. I didn’t have the chance to discover the remainder of Europe whereas I used to be there, however I wish to go to Rome subsequent. I’ve heard nothing however good issues and the $500 will assist pay for a flight.

5. What’s your #1 journey tip?

Stroll. In Spain, I walked a mean 9 km a day. I explored the town like few get to see it. Look past the highest vacationer locations and go the place the locals are, typically they’re very good and invite you alongside on experiences you would by no means plan.

6. Resort or hostel?

I favor lodge, truly. Many different college students whereas finding out overseas select to be in a hostel, nonetheless, I say lodge. Its non-public, and also you get to take full benefit of the mattress to do what you paid for, sleep.

7. Solo journey or group journey?

I had probably the most enjoyable once I was in a bunch having fun with the nightlife. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to solo discover, that may be very enjoyable too.

eight. Favourite journey memento to deliver house?

I like to gather sports activities jerseys, particularly soccer jerseys from the cities I’ve journey too. Nice dialog starter if you put on it round city.

9. What’s your #1 journey ‘must-have’? (AKA; you by no means go away on a visit with out this)

I want my headphones. Whether or not or not it’s a protracted aircraft experience, a cellphone name house, or having fun with a little bit quiet time, I want my headphones. But when I had to decide on the second merchandise it might be my DSLR digicam.

10. The place can individuals join with you?

I’m a California faculty pupil who explores biology, baseball, and the world round me. If you wish to observe my story you will discover me on Instagram @drewcr3w and on Snapchat awesomeandrew7.

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A Christmas in Bali


christmas bali 6 1

I’m Jemma, one among STA Journey’s Digital Exec’s, e mail machine and critical Bali beach-bum…

It’s shortly approaching the two-year mark now since I spent my first Christmas away from house. Away from the buzzing of Christmas songs, wrapping of bushes in lights and tinsel, yummy consolation meals and countless quantities of chocolate (I actually imply consuming). However concern not all of the Christmas followers on the market, t’was a cheerful story, this Christmas away from house. And here’s what made it oh so very particular…

Turning again time to December 21st, 2015, I used to be stepping off a rickety picket boat on the elegant island of Gili Meno. Accompanied by 4 of my greatest associates, an outsized backpack and an arm stuffed with cotton plaited wristbands. Though our spirits have been excessive (I imply whose wouldn’t be, with a secluded seashore to ourselves, the view of Mt Rinjani within the background and $2 beers all day) however nonetheless one thing felt bizarre. We have been four days from Christmas and I used to be dying to odor some cinnamon gingerbread males, hear the carols chime by means of the streets or simply put on a comfortable sweater. As a substitute, I used to be slapping on SPF 50 sunblock, taking an outside bathe and trying to find turtles on the reef, (I do know you’re pondering. What. Are. You. Complaining. About?).



To cheer me up out of my Christmas-craving hunch, was the actual fact we have been about to be reunited with two extra of our fabulous associates. The ‘well-known 5’ have been about to turn into the ‘tremendous seven’, as we had a pal touring from her instructing life in South Korea and one other from Japan, to affix us for tropical Christmas celebrations. After a day of catching up, reminiscing on recollections, stitches of laughter, 10 plus Bintangs, it’s protected to say we have been all feeling blissful, merry and totally within the Christmas spirit. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than we had requested a few of our all-time favourite Christmas songs to be blasted from our open-air hostel bar. Buddies outdated and new, arm in arm, swaying below the moonlight, belting from the highest of our lungs, ‘’Do they comprehend it’s Christmas time in any respect’’. Now that may be a magical second!



Waking as much as the blistering sunshine, the sound of the lapping ocean and having a pee with no roof over your head, felt like a bizarre approach to begin Christmas Eve. I sat on the sand pondering of what I might be doing at house proper now… Looking for final minute stocking stuffers, stuffing my face with creamy cheese pastries and looking out ahead to an evening snuggled in entrance of the TV with my youthful sisters, knitted socks and our conventional yearly Grinch viewing. As a substitute, I plonked myself on the bar, 11 am and ordered a beer as I whispered to myself, “it’s Christmas in any case.” Christmas Eve meant a brand new island a brand new hostel and a few fast scouting of the place to later seize our Christmas Dinner.



Behold… Gili Trawangan! An island stuffed with western tradition again dropped with a pure Indonesian paradise. Our hostel was good, proper on the seashore entrance and we have been complimented with an enormous dormitory, simply to ourselves. We unpacked our secret Christmas inventory that had been hauled over Southeast Asia particularly for today. Purple tinsel hung from our small bunks and we every had a stocking on the finish of the mattress, hoping to provide it a really feel within the morning and listen to the crinkling of wrapping paper protecting a shock token reward. That evening we decked the halls, painted them crimson in reality… We sang to our hearts content material over scrumptious rum and cocktails to the ‘Fairy Story of New York’ and our hostel homeowners have been delighted that we’d introduced some Christmas cheer with us. After I went to sleep that evening, I believed I might really feel unhappy with the considered lacking my mother’s secret-recipe apple pie and that heat feeling inside, understanding you’ll spend the complete day with family members. Though a few of my dearest have been so far-off, me and my journey buddies had actually captured what I wish to name ‘the Christmas spirit’. Though the spirit was sun-kissed, far-off from knitted apparel and about to spend Christmas day on the seashore, it was full of affection, pleasure and happiness nonetheless.



IT’S CHRIIIISTTTMAAAASSS! Even being blurry-eyed, scorching and hungover, we have been all nonetheless up on the morning time. At the start of our travels, I organized a ‘secret Santa’ current operation, so all of us had a present to open within the morning. We sat round, clearly with Christmas songs and hats on, and individually opened our items separately. Revealing great gadgets from everywhere in the world, we smiled and laughed and loved our morning simply as if we have been at house – what was I fearful about?



The morning concerned beers (clearly), and a sea view breakfast to begin the break day. Then we danced our approach to the seashore, greeting each particular person, backpacker and native with a chiming “Merry Christmas” as we crossed paths. We performed video games, sang songs (yep we love singing) and talked our approach by means of a beautiful Christmas day. There was swimming, sunbathing and it was utterly good. We managed to bag ourselves an expensive roast dinner, and sure that included ALL of the trimmings. Feeling stuffed and stuffed with pleasure, there was simply sufficient room for some dessert, a skype house and a few extra caroling earlier than the day disappeared and Christmas was over.

There have been moments the place I might stand again from my associates and simply suppose, how particular are we, to have the ability to have a second like this, hundreds of miles away from house, in final paradise and celebrating Christmas with our greatest associates? There was no must miss Christmas, because it was proper right here. I’ve three phrases for the Christmas 2015 in Bali: One to recollect.


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