Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Prakriti Mishra, Class of ‘15

Prakriti Mishra '15

Prakriti Mishra '15

Bayasaa Enkhbaatar, a 2nd year Booth student, has lived in and traveled to many a exotic destinations in her twenty-something life.  From growing up in Mongolia to attending college in Bulgaria and vacationing across South America, she fondly declares her love for exploring new people and places. It was thus unsurprising that when inklings of Booth’s 2015 spring break destinations started infiltrating Winter Garden conversations, a familiar feeling gnawed at her head, this time with renewed intensity -  WANDERLUST.

Bayasaa had never been to Israel before... or Morocco!  And what about Patagonia?  All trips happening over the same week, all participants drawn from the same group of loveable Boothies.  Where should she go?

Kyoto's Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) is one of the Japan trek highlights.

Kyoto's Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavilion) is one of the Japan trek highlights.

There are currently five trips formally in the offing through Booth student groups: Israel, Japan, Korea, Morocco and Patagonia. Each trips boasts of a unique value proposition that aims at attracting different personalities from Booth.

Leif Andreassen, co-chair of Leadership in Action and organizer of the extreme-hiking Patagonia trek, emphasized that participants would receive a “unique opportunity to learn about leadership environment where consequences are real.”  This includes making decisions for their entire group about where to camp and which routes to take amidst incomplete information.

The Patagonia, Korea, and Morocco trips are all brand new - organized for the first time in Booth history. Hicham Talebali, an organizer of the Morocco trip, points to his ambitious goals for the experience: “I want to leave Booth with a flagship MENA event; I want people to talk about this trip for years to come, and leave this legacy as the best organized, and most epic trip on campus.”  

As a testament to the well-rounded itineraries of these trips, and perhaps to the power of FOMO, as of 11/27/14,  the Israel trip was sold out, Patagonia had extended its capacity from 10 to 15 to meet demand, and Japan, Korea and Morocco were optimistic of their ability to sell out.  Given that these trips in total accommodate just 200 out of 1200+ Boothies and their partners, it is not surprising that they are at or close to capacity.

The speed at which they  sold out is another issue. The Israel trek reached capacity within 2 minutes of opening up registration.  Patagonia got to capacity within 2 days of opening up registration.  What social and emotional configurations must be in place such that 80 Booth students commit over $3000 (in economic costs) in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn?  (“This isn’t even an MCG event!” exclaimed one disgruntled, anonymous 2nd year who hasn’t applied for any trips in fear of yet another rejection.)

According to Tyson Chapman, a participant on the much-coveted Israel trip, “Not only is the trip an opportunity to visit the holy land of three of the worlds largest religions, but we also get a customized tour from native classmates and unique access to Israeli military and politicians.”  The ability to explore new worlds from the eyes of locals, who happen to be classmates, adds to the once-in-a-lifetime nature of these trips.  The Israel, Japan and Korea trips are being led by at least one native Boothie. Additionally, the Japan trip’s coordinating travel agency is in fact founded and run by a Booth alumnus, allowing the cost of the trip to be minimized.

Bayasaa last week officially chose to be amongst the 80 Boothies who will be landing in Tel Aviv Israel next March. Meanwhile, with T-110 days until Spring Break, the Winter Garden hasn’t stopped buzzing with sounds of other trips frantically being Kayak-ed and AirBnB-ed.  Brazil, India, Colombia... get ready for some Boothies!

Prakriti is C-3 continents and Y-4 years away from reaching her (allegedly unambitious) goal of stepping on 6 continents (minus Antarctica) before she turns 30.