From April-June 2013, Tourism Australia held another round of its famous ‘Best Job in the World’ competition- this time, there were 6 tourism-related ‘Dream Jobs’ spread across Australia up for grabs. So, did I get involved? Ummmm- OF COURSE! An opportunity to spend 6 months promoting the country I call my ‘home away from home’, and get PAID to do it? Yes please!
To apply for the competition, I had to submit a 30-second video for each of the positions I was interested in, detailing why I was the best person for that particular job. I ended up applying for 5 of the 6 positions, leaving the ‘Lifestyle Photographer’ gig for someone a bit more camera-savvy than I. Making the videos was HILARIOUS- a day spent filming the videos in my basement, my sister and brother-in-law running the camera; an afternoon spent chasing my friend’s tortoises around his backyard; and a LONG night editing everything in order to meet the deadline (And make it out for the Cardinals’ Home Opener…). Here’s a link to the application videos:
Haha! After all of THAT insanity, somehow, I was selected from over 600,000 applicants to be SHORTLISTED for the ‘Wildlife Caretaker’ position. A-MA-ZING!
The Second Round of the competition was INTENSE- a non-stop 2-week whirlwind called the Referee Challenge. I partnered with the Australian Koala Foundation to raise money for koalas Down-Under, held a massive fund-raising and publicity event in St. Louis, made appearances on local news and radio shows, and did anything and everything I could to raise support for my campaign. It was CRAZY!
After all that INSANITY, I was selected one of three Finalists for the Wildlife Caretaker position. Are you SERIOUS?!?!?!?!
I was headed back to Australia- AGAIN– and could not WAIT to get back DownUnder…
FINALLY, I got the itinerary for the 2 weeks of the Final Round, and a few short days later, I was off to Oz…
The trip to Australia was INCREDIBLE- 2 weeks of non-stop adventure in one of my favorite countries in the world:
Day 1 Down Under- Back to Bondi and the Vivid Sydney Festival
Day 2 Down Under- A trip to the Australian Museum and sunset over Sydney Harbour
Day 3 Down Under- Meeting the BestJobs CREW at Tourism Australia
Day 4 Down Under- Media Call at the Virgin Australia Lounge and lunch on Circular Quay
Day 5 Down Under- A trip to Taronga Zoo and some footy with the Sydney Swans AFL Team
Day 6 Down Under- a video of Team Wildlife Caretaker’s trip to South Australia
Swimming with the Sea Lions at Port Lincoln- a video of my encounter with the sea lions at Port Lincoln
Day 8 Down Under- Kangaroo Island- Remarkable Rocks, a helicopter ride over KI, and a visit to Seal Bay
Day 9 Down Under- MORE Kangaroo Island- Sunrise, tracking an echidna, and taking in the beauty of Kangaroo Island
FINAL Thoughts…– A few last thoughts before the winners were announced
In the end, I didn’t win the ‘Wildlife Caretaker’ position, but still, it was an INCREDIBLE experience.
Many thanks to Tourism Australia, the South Australian Tourism Commission, Nicole, Marc, Greg, CC, and the rest of the BestJobs CREW- it truly was an amazing adventure!