Jacob Aufderheide ’10 got a taste of world travel during his senior year at North Central when he spent a term in Limerick, Ireland. That taste turned into a hunger that he needed to satisfy after graduation, resulting in an adventure unexpectedly spanning 24 months, three countries and two different jobs.
“During my senior year, I basically got hooked on traveling,” says Aufderheide, who double-majored in marketing and economics. After graduation, he went to work in the marketing department of Rainbow Resource Center in Toulon, IL. After five months, he left for a trip to Australia and New Zealand and planned to travel for about a year on his savings.
“After about six months I ran out of money,” he says, despite hitchhiking in New Zealand and accepting free room and food from an elderly couple there. “Fortunately, work visas for people under 30 are pretty easy to get in Australia.”
Aufderheide ended up living in the small town of Newman in Australia’s arid Outback region, working at a Subway restaurant for two months. “That was the highest paid job I’ve ever had,” he says. The locals called the sandwich a Subway, requested toppings like beetroot (not available) and capsicum (green peppers, which were available) and paid about $15 each for their meals.
During his travels, Aufderheide met someone who was going to teach English in Thailand. That encounter inspired Aufderheide to visit Bangkok and look into the options. He took his certification test back in Australia and proceeded to accept a six-month teaching assignment in Bangkok. “I’d always wanted to teach English,” he says. “It ended up being a wonderful way to interact with Thai people. The staff at my school spoke really good English and it was cool to get their perspective on things and learn about another culture.”
The cost of living in Bangkok was much lower than Australia’s and Aufderheide said he was able to live well on his $9 per hour wage.
Now that he’s back in Toulon and working for the same employer, he’s already considering his next trip. He’s promised he’ll stay around for at least a year, maybe two, but then he’ll be packing his bags for an extensive tour of the United States and Canada or perhaps a stint in South America to learn Spanish or a seasonal work position in Antarctica.