Another one in the books... and it was a good one!


Well, I have to say... this was a really quick 2.5 weeks... but man oh man was it packed and busy...


There was some adventurous stuff...

Some scary stuff...

Some cute stuff...

Some unexpected stuff (like a wild kangaroo visiting us when we were learning how to throw boomerangs!)

Some educational stuff...

Some practical learning stuff (I mean who doesn't need to know how to throw a spear?)!

Some moving stuff (to me, the Aboriginal visit is very moving... these are some amazing people - and the first to inhabit our planet... what an honor to visit and learn from them!).


Some iconic stuff...

Some beautiful and awe inspiring stuff...

Some inspirational company visits...

Some humbling spots (you feel so SMALL on this field!)...

And some company visits that taught us more than just about business...

3 cities... 16 days... 10 company visits... 5 cultural visits... 3 paid tours... many small group tours... 2 scavenger hunts... several group meals... 1 visit to the opening of the world's largest light festival... over 90 miles of walking... 6 airport bus transfers... many miles of public transport travel.... twice across the Pacific Ocean totalling 25,000 miles by aircraft...

Feedback from past trips seemed to indicate that the students wanted a bit more free time to do things they found and wanted to explore, so this year we worked really hard on scheduling visits in as efficient a manner as we could to allow for more free time. This meant that when we had scheduled events or visits, it was going to be a busy day.... And it worked - no complaints about having, in one case, 3 company visits in one day - which allowed the students to have at least one full free day for themselves in each city as well as almost every evening free.

Additionally, we were able to include several paid tours - 1 in each city.... These included either the Great Ocean Road tour or The Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour in Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tour or the Kuranda Railway, Gondola and Crocodile Farm tour in Cairns, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb in Sydney.

The scheduling this year resulted in the students finding and partaking in some absolutely amazing and awe inspiring activities - everything you could think of from surfing, deep sea fishing, finding really cool restaurant venues (to include eating at the Westfield Tower in Sydney!), jet skiing, renting bicycles, zoos, aquariums, finding a cool little waterfalls area to swim at, crocodile farms, wildlife parks, gondola rides from mountaintop to mountaintop, tours, to even skydiving! Of the 9 trips my wife and I have put together (11 times to Sydney for me counting MBA trips) I have to say, this has been the busiest - but from the feedback so far from the students - the most action-packed and fun-filled trip we have done. We had a couple of very minor bumps along the way, but nothing that left a blemish on the trip or the memories the students walked away with.

This group was an interesting and eclectic bunch - adventurous, open minded, friendly, willing to try new things, attentive and aware of their surroundings, and above all else - wanting to experience what Australia had to offer. We have had years that had students spending a lot of their precious time in their rooms - watching TV, surfing the Internet, and the like. This year, to my knowledge, every single room group was out seeing things and experiencing what each location had to offer every night - dining options, just having fancy tropical cocktails with umbrellas in them and appetizers (as one group of guys told me.. this was "Doing manly things"), walking around and seeing local sights, interacting with locals, visiting local markets, etc. There was no wasted time on this trip... This is exactly why we do the trips - to allow the students to see what there is to see out there... I tell the perspective students each year that you can do the "college student" stuff at home - get out and see things and this year's group really embraced that...

I have a long list of people to thank for the success of this trip - our company and cultural hosts (Carlton Brewhouse, KPMG, IBM, The US Consulate, Victoria Roasters, Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Centre, ANZ Stadium, The Harbour Bridge Climb people, The American Chamber of Commerce, Employment Innovations/Employment Hero, Sydney Opera House, Cochlear Hearing Implants), the various tour companies and restaurants, my wife for many hours of arranging the scavenger hunts and logistical planning and research on venues and events, various Clarkson community members and alums who facilitated company contacts or did back-room planning and reservations for us, the hotel and apartment staff and management, Premier Bus Lines, and the list goes on... These trips are a lot of work and wouldn't happen without the massive effort of coordination among all of these people. Most of all, I want to thank the students - even though they are adults, seeing their faces light up like little kids when they see or pet a kangaroo or koala the first time makes the work worth it...

Lastly, thank you to all of the parents for trusting us with taking your kids to the other wide of the earth.. and for following along on the blog and the FaceBook page. I hope we were able to fulfill your hopes in terms of what you wanted your kids to experience and learn... Hopefully, we will be able to offer a trip again next year... this is a great opportunity and experience for the students and a great item to put on their resumes..

#TravelHome #Thingstodo #Finalthoughtsontrip

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