Get To Know The Chief World Explorer Top 5 - Annie Cheng

As we get ready for our Final 5 Interviews in Abu Dhabi, we’d like to take a little time to allow our Jauntarista community to get to know our Top 5 candidates. Over the next 5 days we will be posting Q&A with each candidate so you can get to know them better. Thanks to many of our Jauntaristas who submitted questions for our candidates to answer. First up, Annie Cheng:




1) If you had to put down roots in one place and call it home for the rest of your life, where would it be and why would you choose that location? (Credit to Cassidy for the question)

If I HAD to settle down in one place, I would tap my ruby slippers three times and repeat, “There’s no place like home.” I was born and raised in and around Seattle and it’s where the majority of my family still lives. 
I’m lucky enough that after years of sibling rivalries in our household growing up, I have matured and have great relationships with all my family. Additionally, I have life-long friends that call Seattle home, and have built an incredible network of loving, supportive people. I love the laid back culture, non-judgmental people, and the flair for the bizarre. 
Plus, us Seattleites may always complain about the gray and rain, but for 3 months during the summer we have the most spectacular city. You couldn’t ask for a better place when the sun is out – there is an abundance of outdoor activities, water sports, music festivals, entertainment, and FOOD to last you until the rain returns!



2) Describe an experience in your life that defined or solidified your passion for travel and voluntourism. (Credit to Heidi for the question)

When I was 13 my parents took me out of the U.S. for the first time. After what seemed like an eternity stuck between my two brothers on flight upon flight upon flight, we arrived in Skukuza, South Africa. Our first stop was a safari, and when I woke up in a thatched-roof hut with elephants and giraffes just steps away in viewing range, everything changed.
It was such a rush to step away from my everyday life. I absorbed everything like a sponge. I delighted in tagging along with my mom to local fabric shops (something I normally detested…errrr still detest). I was intrigued by all the new foods and flavors. But most of all, I was fascinated by the people I met. Their lives were so different than mine, and yet somehow so similar at the same time. 
We moved from the safari to the city, to small towns; from tourist activities to local homes for dinner. We talked with locals about post-apartheid changes and the citizens’ efforts to move forward, united, and helping one-another. We drove through townships; and I saw for the first time what real poverty meant. I realized what it might be like to be born in a place without opportunities, without a fighting chance. And I noticed how people from all walks of life in that country were putting the past in the past, and working to give everybody a fighting chance in the future.
Although we didn’t volunteer on that trip to South Africa, I realized just how fortunate I was, and how many people were struggling to survive around the world. That motivated me to join a local youth group a year later on a trip to Tijuana, Mexico where we built houses for families in need and that ignited my passion for travel and volunteering.



3) How has technology changed how we travel and how will you use it on your worldwide adventures as Chief World Explorer? (Credit to Christine for the question)

It doesn’t seem that long ago that travelling meant you were totally disconnected from the rest of the world. Even when I was in college (which was more years ago than I care to admit) and studying abroad, my host family didn’t have Wi-Fi in their house let alone a smart phone with which I could use Skype. If I wanted to call home I had to go to school to email my parents, arrange a time, go to the local internet/phone café, dig around for coins, and call long distance back to the States. Try explaining that to a 10 year old!
One of the greatest joys that technology has brought to my travel experiences is connecting with new people and staying in touch with friends and family even when I’m on the go. I love posting updates for friends to see via social media – pictures, blog posts, little snippets of travel finds, and brilliant advice from people I meet on my journey. I hope these things are educational, entertaining, and inspiring to people who want to create journeys of their own.
As the CWE, I would use technology to document and share the best experiences off the beaten path. I’d use it to connect you with the resources you need to make the most of your travel adventures. And I’d share thoughts, challenges and recommendations such as recipes, reading lists, and music from different cultures that would be beneficial and applicable in your daily life no matter where you are. 



4) What characteristics, attributes or personality traits make you the most qualified applicant to be Jauntaroo’s Chief World Explorer? (Credit to Sonia for the question)

My first time in New York I was having dinner with my parents and a friend in Little Italy and all of a sudden it dawned on me that Carlos’…infamous…Bakery…was 3.7 miles away. 3.7 miles?! How could I NOT go?! So – that sealed my fate. The next morning at 6 AM while my travel companions slept soundly I ventured across the water to Hoboken. Never mind that I was the only non-local in the bakery at 7 AM on a Monday; never mind that I was the ONLY person going FROM New York TO Hoboken on the train. That morning was genuinely me – spontaneous, curious, and persistent.
I confront every situation as an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a better person through that experience. As the Chief World Explorer, I would take you on that adventure with me and nothing would hold me back from going the extra 3.7 miles to show you the best ways to maximize your vacation experience.



5) Jauntaroo has made a point of raising awareness for voluntourism and travel related causes. Is this something that is legitimately achievable when visiting a destination for such a short period of time? How would you best “give back” during your Chief World Explorer visits, utilizing the platform, media and technology provided to you?

The majority of places where I have volunteered I felt like I made an impact and I walked away proud of my work. Unfortunately, I’ve also had one disappointing volunteer experience where I felt the organization did not know how to use its eager volunteers in a meaningful way.
Although the latter experience was disheartening I learned that not all advertised “volunteer opportunities” are as altruistic as they may seem. As the Chief World Explorer, it would be my mission to find and vet short-term volunteer opportunities where we can make a noticeable impact on the world.
In addition to volunteering myself, I would use that short time in a location to document the true needs of the local community and create awareness about the organizations that are solving them. With Jauntaroo I could reach a much wider audience with the potential to spark interest in other Jauntaristas who want to donate their time and resources to a worthy cause. Working together we will have a more powerful impact on this ever-shrinking world we call home and our neighbors within it.



6) Jauntaroo is about travel inspiration. What would you do during your travels to not only experience the world, but inspire others to do the same?

Somebody once told me that the decisions we “don’t” make are a result of some fear…fear of looking dumb, fear of being embarrassed, or fear of not knowing how it will turn out. On that day, I made a decision to not let my fears hold me back from living the life I wanted to live and I started planning the Round the World trip of my dreams.
Sure, I had numerous dumb/embarrassing/uncertain moments, but we all have! And after I accepted that I will continue to have those moments I opened a door to enrichment beyond my wildest dreams. During my travels as the CWE I would capitalize on my imperfections and “just go for it”. Nothing would hold me back from seeking out the best local experiences and sharing them with you.
I’ll also encourage Jauntaristas to translate the challenges, excitement, and growth we experience in our “travel mindsets” to our “everyday mindsets”. It’s easy to be on Cloud 9 when you’re off on an adventure. It’s not as easy to be as conscious, aware, and appreciative of your surroundings when you’re going through your everyday motions. Part of my travel inspiration is motivating people to live their everyday lives with the same spirit they live their greatest adventures. And incorporating that joy into today, tomorrow, the next day…

Vacation Matchmaker Jauntaroo Unveils Hiring a Chief World Explorer, “The Best Job Around the World”

 Jauntaroo, the world’s best vacation matchmaker travel site, says it will open applications in the spring to hire a Chief World Explorer, “The Best Job Around the World.”

Most travel websites only help travelers who know exactly where they want to go. Jauntaroo uniquely opens up the world for vacation planners by recommending travel destinations tailored to travelers’ interests as well as their budgets.

The Chief World Explorer (CWE) will travel the globe for a year, engaging Jauntaroo.com visitors by sharing exciting experiences, videos and images from some of the world’s most popular as well as off-the-beaten-path destinations. The CWE will also raise awareness on “VolunTourism”, ways vacationers can help the communities they visit.

Jauntaroo donates $1 for each booking made through their site to “Travel With A Cause,” its philanthropic initiative supporting nonprofit organizations dedicated to education, health, and well-being.

"We firmly believe that travel has the power not only to open one’s eyes to new cultures and experiences but also gives us the opportunity to leave a destination better than we found it," said Tom Wilson, Jauntaroo’s Chief Commercial Officer.

For more information on the Chief World Explorer program, Jauntaroo has posted an introductory video at:http://www.jauntaroo.com/info_pages/view/youtube.

In recent weeks, Jauntaroo has made major site enhancements including adding an Advanced Vacation Finder that allows travelers to view all the available options to customize their vacation search. Jauntaroo has just added 10 new icons for a total of nearly 60 vacation options. New vacation icons include: All Inclusive, At Sea, Dolphin Encounters, Kite/Wind Surfing, Horseback Riding, Walking Tours, Zip Lines, Bus Tours, Water Parks, and Zoo/Wildlife.

Instead of just comparing prices and hotels for specific locations, Jauntaroo first asks vacation planners about the type of trip they are interested in, activities they want to do and their budget. Whether they prefer mountains or beaches, family-friendly destinations or party/nightlife, they simply click up to five icons to pick from dozens of locations around the world that offer what they want within their budget.

From the prioritized list of natural search results, visitors view and become familiar with individual destination pages that provide a wealth of information including original descriptions, images, “Best Known For” activities, featured accommodations, to-do items and user reviews.

Jauntaroo offers about 300 global destinations – each with new destination page layouts. Travelers can also utilize the “Quick Find” search box for easy access to destinations and activities. Once through the “dreaming and planning” stages of researching the ideal vacation destination, Jauntaroo offers customers a booking portal.

"It’s been an incredible launch year as we provide our customers both with classic and unexpected locations to enjoy what they love most," said Mr. Wilson. "We love to surprise visitors with destinations they never thought of visiting or even heard of, for that matter. We are making their world both bigger and smaller at the same time."

In the year since Jauntaroo launched, the site has provided customized destination recommendations for more than 50,000 people and has generated some 450,000 page views of detailed destination information.

Want to be our Chief World Explorer? Travel the world for a year - all expenses paid and earn $100,000? It’s the Best Job Around the World - visit www.jauntaroo.com for more info!

Want to be our Chief World Explorer? Travel the world for a year - all expenses paid and earn $100,000? It’s the Best Job Around the World - visit www.jauntaroo.com for more info!

May Scavenger Hunt! (Everyone Wins an Amazon Gift Card!)

Hi there Jauntaristas!  It’s May now and we thought it would be fun to have a Scavenger Hunt!  Remember those from when you were a kid?  So here are the rules:

- Follow The Clues: Below is your first clue, but you’ll have to figure out where the next clues are!  Many are in the “Fun Facts” Section that shows up when you search for a destination on Jauntaroo.com.  Others are on Destination Detail Pages or other Pages of Jauntaroo.  You’ll have a clue each time though so you can figure it out!


Clue # 1: Find a “Park” that has 290 Waterfalls! 


- Track The Clues: Make note of each Destination page you visit

- Send Us The Results: Send an email to support@jauntaroo.com with the list of all the Destinations you visited (In Order) as well as the Final Secret Word!

- Get Your Reward: Everyone that gets all the clues right will receive an Amazon Gift Card via email! Winners will receive a gift card of varying value between $1 and $10.

That’s It!  Now on with the game!!



Good Luck!




Fine Print: No purchase necessary.  Participants must be registered users on Jauntaroo.com.  Clues to the game may change through the promotion.  Check tumblr page or facebook page for the latest clue in order to participate.  Limit 1 Amazon Gift Card per person per registered Jauntaroo account or email address.  Gift cards will vary in value between $1 and $10.  At least 1 winner each day will receive a $10 gift card.  Gift Cards will be sent via email within 72 hours of the close of the promotion.  Promotion runs through 11:59pm EST Wednesday, May 9.  Void where prohibited. 

New Jauntaroo Gift Card Game: Super Vacation Tuesday!

Happy Super Tuesday! Instead of delving into politics today, let’s focus on something more fun! How about free Amazon Gift Cards and Vacations! To celebrate, we are giving free Amazon Gift Cards to EVERYONE that tests out some of the cool features on Jauntaroo.  When searching on Jauntaroo, you can read all sorts of information about each destination.  You can also share your Dreamed About Vacation Spot with others via Facebook and Twitter!

So here’s the game.

1) Use Jauntaroo's Vacation Finder to search for any kind of destination you like (Beach, Casino, Mountains, City, whatever!)
2) Select the 1 Destination you have visited before and 1 Destination you want to visit
3) Click the Facebook Share or Twitter Tweet logo just above the name of the destinations to post to your Facebook or Twitter page.  Post it to your wall or Twitter feed
4) Send us a link to your Facebook page or Twitter feed at admin@jauntaroo.com.
5) Make sure you have “Liked” Jauntaroo’s Facebook Page or followed our Twitter Page


That’s it!  We’ll check your page to see what you selected and send you an Amazon Gift Card!  As an added bonus, the person that gets the most likes on their post each day will receive a $25 Amazon Gift card!  Just post on Jauntaroo’s Facebook Page how many likes you have, if you think you’re one of the tops!  We will run this contest through Friday, March 9 with a $25 Gift Card winner each day!

Happy Super Vacation Tuesday!

Details: Limit to 1 Gift Card per Registered Facebook account in good standing.  Post on Facebook wall should remain until at least Sunday March 11 at 11:59pm EST to be eligible for a gift card. Users may ask friends to “Like” their posts in order to gain more likes and win the daily $25 gift card.  To be considered for the $25 gift card, entrants must post their daily total on Jauntaroo’s Facebook page.  The person with the highest number of likes, as submitted on Jauntaroo’s Facebook wall and verified by Jauntaroo, will received a $25 gift card.  Limit 1 $25 gift card per user.  Gift cards will be emailed no later than Wednesday March 14.

NEW JAUNTAROO AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

You asked for it, so here it is! Another chance to win an Amazon Gift Card! We’ll keep this one simple.

1) Like Us On Facebook (so we know who our friends are!)

2) Go to www.jauntaroo.com and look at our Vacation Finder and tell us (via email at jauntaroo@jauntaroo.com) your top 5 Search Terms you look for in a vacation.

That’s it!  More details at jauntaroo.tumblr.com. EVERYONE that likes our Facebook Page and sends us an email with their top 5 Vacation terms will received an Amazon Gift Card of at least $1

BONUS: For every 250 likes, we’ll give away a $25 gift card as well!  That way the more people you tell, the more chances at a larger gift card!

There are over 50 search criteria on jauntaroo.com  Just tell us what you like best!  It could be beaches, romantic, surfing, fine dining and night life.  We’ll take your feedback and make Jauntaroo even better at suggesting amazing Vacation Destinations!  Contest ends Friday night, February 24, at 11:59pm EST.

Happy Jaunting!

Details:
- Entries that come via email must be from unique email addresses (cannot be minor variations that all feed to same email address.  Eg. jauntaroo@jauntaroo.com and jau.ntaroo@jauntaroo.com)
- Users must include the same name in their email as their Facebook account in order to qualify
- Users must both like Jauntaroo’s Facebook Page and visit Jauntaroo homepage to select search criteria, then Email jauntaroo@jauntaroo.com with their top 5 Search Terms
- Emails must be received by 11:59pm EST Friday, February 24 to be considered for the contest
- Gift Cards will be sent out by Wednesday, February 29 and will be sent via the email address used to send the request to jauntaroo @jauntaroo.com
- Jauntaroo reserves the right to verify any email addresses that appear to be fraudulently created for the purposes of this contest.
- One $25 Amazon Gift Card will be given away for every 250 Facebook likes.  Winners of the larger gift cards will be chosen at random and notified via the same manner as others listed above. 

Gift Card Game - Bragging Rights & Wished For Sights!

New Jauntaroo Game: Bragging Rights & Wished For Sights!! Free Gift Cards!

We have a fun new game for this week.  One of the cool features on Jauntaroo is the ability to Select “Where You Have Been” and “Where You Want To Go.”  Just browse the Jauntaroo Destinations and go to the Details Page to find the Box to click “Been There” or “Want To Go.”  Each person that does so this week will receive a FREE AMAZON GIFT CARD!

Details: Value will range from $1 to $10 with random winners selected each day to win $10 gift cards.  You must select at least 5 places you’ve been and 5 places you want to visit (but come on, who hasn’t been to at least 5 places before?).    Promotion ends Friday, February 3.  Only unique user email accounts will be accepted (i.e. no variations of emails that all feed into 1 account.  Yes, we know about the gmail tricks :)  ).  Entrance gift cards will be sent to email accounts listed on registered Jauntaroo accounts within 1 week of the contest end date.  At least 10 destinations must be listed as either “Been There” or “Want To Go.”  Most users will receive $1 gift cards.  Random users will be selected daily to receive $10 gift cards.  Contest void where prohibited.

Jauntaroo Contest Today - Enter To Win More Amazon Gift Cards!

Hello Jauntaristas!

 

It’s Wednesday and we feel like playing a game. Is anyone else in the mood? Here’s the deal. To highlight the ULTRA COOL Search Feature on jauntaroo.com, we will list the top 3 destinations that come up when a certain combination of search terms are entered. For example, when you enter Romantic, Beach and Scuba/Snorkeling, your top 3 results are Bora Bora, Bali and Seychelles. We will tell you the top 3 results, and you must figure out which search terms must be used. Make sense? We will give a $5 Gift Card to the first, 25th and 50th person that emails the correct answers to jauntaroo@jauntaroo.com. If you are a registered user on our site, we will double it to a $10 gift card. Good Luck!!

 

 Go To www.facebook.com/jauntaroo for the clues!

 

Team Jauntaroo

Tis the Season to Rate & Receive! Everyone Receives an Amazon Gift Card!

Jauntaroo’s Users can now rate and review destinations! Every 4 destinations rated by Jauntaristas (our registered users) will receive an Amazon Gift Card worth up to $25*! Destination ratings must include at least three evaluation aspects (i.e. Romantic, Beaches and Going Out).
 
Every day, one secret destination will be chosen at random as the “Golden City.” All Jauntaristas who happened to complete a qualifying rating for the day’s Golden City will automatically receive a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

Log onto
Jauntaroo.com, register, RATE & RECEIVE! You must be a registered Jauntarista to rate destinations and receive Amazon Gift Cards. Not signed up yet? Join and you’ll also be entered to win a trip to the Bahamas!

The “Rate & Receive” contest runs from Friday, December 16, 2011 through 11:59pm on Monday, December 19, 2011. Gift cards for qualified ratings (at least three evaluation aspects) or Golden City reviews will be sent to Jauntaristas no later than Thursday, December 22, 2011.

Visit
Jauntaroo for more information or see us on FaceBook, Twitter and Tumblr.

 

*Gift Cards will range in value from $1 to $25. One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries.
 

Golden Cities:

Friday, December 16, 2011:
Saturday, December 17, 2011:
Sunday, December 18, 2011:
Monday, December 19, 2011: 
Easter Egg Hunt Was a HUGE Success!!

Wow, honestly, that was more fun than we could have ever imagined! We just wrapped up the December Easter Egg and could not have been more happy with the response.  Thank you to everyone that participated!

We will be matching the email responses with registrations on the Jauntaroo site.  We’ll then be sending out the Amazon Gift Cards via email.  If you sent an email and registered, you’re all set!  It’ll take us a couple of days to sort through it all because the response was enormous, but we’re not complaining!

Fun Facts From The Contest:
Entrants From 17 Countries
Largest Participating Country: US
Largest Participating State: California
Largest Participating City: San Francisco 


Thanks everyone for playing and Happy December!!


Team Jauntaroo