Virgin Australia Surprise – State Challenges Briefings – Go Pro Delivery (Awesome!) – Taronga Zoo – Ben Southall Meet – Sydney Swans Australian Rules Football – Flight to Adelaide – Cleland Wildlife Park
Day 4 – June 13th
Now things are really starting to heat up! Today was an early morning start and transfer to first big media call at the Virgin Australia terminal in the Sydney domestic airport. It was a great introduction to all of the cameras and media attention that we have managed to accumulate. There are crews from all over the world who have flown in to cover each of the different contestants from varying countries.
We were shuffled into the Virgin Lounge and introduced to the media by the Chief Customer Officer of Virgin Australia, Mark Hassel. Virgin is a big partner of Tourism Australia helping to make the Best Jobs competition possible. So much so that they even had a little surprise tucked away. Turns out that Virgin Australia is offering a 7th Best Job to one of the lucky finalist who doesn’t get chosen for the job that they are currently competing for. The job is called Virgin High Flyer and has a focus on truly leading with service and putting the customer and Australia experience first. It looks awesome!!
From the Virgin lounge and awesome shout out, the Best Jobs crew jumped back on our coach and headed for the Opera House to take some iconic Australia snaps and do more short interviews, which were awesome!! I have a great story to tell and I am loving getting it across on film. Hopefully much more of that to come in the future. This is just the beginning 🙂
After a quick lunch looking over the Sydney Harbour front, we all headed back up to the Tourism Australia head office to get a bit of a briefing on our second stage of the finals, for me, the journey to South Australia (amazing!!) and the beginning of the 4 day Wildlife Caretaker challenges!
The challenges are awesome! Really, they are! I can’t give away to much info right now, but I’ll give you a quick hint, one involves swimming with Sea Lions and filming a short video clip of the experience! If you like any of my previous travel videos, then I am hoping you are bound to like this one. It is going to be an incredible day!! For sure.
We met with Marc Leopold, the Tourism South Australia rep who will be travelling throughout SA with us during our stay, and has done a ton of work to set up the current challenges and logistics. Big shout out to Marc and the entire SA Tourism crew who have been working tirelessly to make sure the Wildlife Caretakers are taken care of! You guys rock and I am so looking forward to everything we have in store over the next week!! This is going to be awesome!! Marc also came with some goodies for us to test out, which is amazing, got the new GoPro Hero 3 and some info to study up on before the challenges.
Day 5 – June 14th
Today was the busiest day yet, and was full of great times! First off we transferred to the Taronga Zoo just outside Sydney to visit the Koalas and Wallabies, followed by an introduction to Ben Southall, previous winner of the Best Job in the World contest back in 2009. We were then introduced to a cuddly possum, and spiky Echidna, a rescued farm owl, and a smooth Diamond Python. It was amazing to have our photos taken with the wildlife in such a beautiful setting with Sydney in the backdrop.
From there all 18 finalists were given some free time to explore the zoo before meeting for lunch. I had a couple hours to roam and photograph Giraffes, Gorillas, Wombats, Platapus, Tigers, and Snow Leopards. Amazing!!
Lunch brought a bit of an unexpected treat. Ben Southall gave us an incredible and inspiring talk on his experience in the first ever Best Job in the World contest, things he enjoyied most throughout the process, things he may have done differently, things to look forward to etc. It was really great to hear him speak and to have him answer some of our harder questions. Truly inspiring and I am very much looking forward to joining his ranks as a winner. Keep your fingers crossed, we’ll know as of the 21st!!
After lunch we headed to the Sydney Cricket Ground for our AFL (Australian Football League) Skills and Drills session with the Sydney Swans. We met some pretty Iconic players with the history of the Swans and the AFL, Adam Goodes, Jarrad McVeigh, and Mike Pyke (Canadian ex Ruby player turned AFL). The guys kitted us up in a Grunsey and got us out on the field to practice marks, kicks, tackles and catches. It was great to get the legs moving and get some exercise under the belt. Awesome afternoon all around. Ohh and I almost forgot to mention, I won the award for best tackle and a signed AFL ball which is going right to the Trophy Room!!! (see The Castle for movie reference)
To wrap up the day we all went out for a nice dinner at a resto on the Harbour front. All in all it was jam packed day full of excitement, another one for the memory books. Huge shout out to Tourism Australia for hooking it up.
Day 06 – June 15th
Today is the first day of the South Australia challenges. The group of 18 finalists has split into their individual packs of three and flown all over the country. The Wildlife Caretakers took off from Sydney at 08:40am destined for Adelaide and beautiful South Australia. I have been incredibly excited about visiting SA and cannot express enough my happiness on boarding the flight this morning. It has been an amazing journey thus far and truly I feel like this is just the beginning.
With touch down in SA we headed directly for the Cleland Wildlife Park to say hello to some of the local residents of the park, have some snaps taken and answer some media inquiries. This is also our first Wildlife Caretaker challenge. We are each set up at a media call and asked to answer two simple questions to help get our story, the catch is, you have two minutes to do it, and there is a ten kilo (3 meter) PYTHON around your neck while doing so. Oh and also, you have to get your answers across in two minutes or less.
We also got to visit with and pet a uber cute Koala named Hank. Such an awesome quintessentially Australia marsupial. Such an awesome day really. Meeting a Koala for the first time is such a memorable experience and being able to be this close to one and to pat it while having your picture taken is something I will never take for granted. South Australia Tourism has already out done themselves, what an awesome day!
Questions: Why did you apply for this position? (…and) Why do you believe you are the best candidate for the job in South Australia?
Love it, I feel really positive about my story and answer. For those who are interested, here are my key points for answering both questions:
– Realized I have been training for the Wildlife Caretaker spot for 9 years.
– Through personal travels, post-secondary education, knowledge and experience as a professional within tourism.
– Experience seeker, one who lives for the moment.
– This is my life and I want you to see it.
– Share my experiences with the world via social media.
– Requirements of the Wildlife Caretaker role have been personal traits of mine for almost a decade.
– PADI certified Divemaster with 300+ dives in 5 major bodies of water all over the world.
– Honours graduate of Adventure Tourism Business Operations at College of the Rockies in Golden, British Columbia, Canada.
– Won scholarship to work in Costa Rica for a year.
– Through education obtained job with Canadian International Development Agency with focus on sustainable tourism development in coastal Ecuador.
– As Adventure Tour Guide in South America manage travel experience of small groups with wide age rages from all walks of life. My job to share with them life changing experiences.
– Produce engaging and inspiring travel content to share with the world via blogging, photography, and videography.
– South Australia is a top destination for me.
– Bring knowledge through education, experience as a professional, and passion for travel to the Wildlife Caretaker role.
– I am the best Candidate for the Best Job in the World
Those are my key points and I personally feel that I summed up my story nicely in an engaging fasion, within two minutes. 🙂 What do you think?
From Cleland Wildlife Park we headed back to the Adelaide airport and boarded a flight to Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. This is where we will crash for the night before taking off tomorrow to swim with Sea Lions!! I am very excited about this part of the competition and will be writing a very special blog about the experience tomorrow.
My second challenge in the ‘Best Jobs’ finals is to produce a short video and blog post highlighting the swimming with Sea Lions day (tomorrow) so STAY TUNED because I will need you guys to share, share, share it. Plus the content is bound to be awesome!! 🙂 Swimming with Sea Lions is a life changing experience, trust!
I hope you have enjoyed this post!! I promise I’ll try to keep them shorter in the future! Or not, I like writing. 😉