Alice Kao is a world traveler and explorer from the Bay Area, California. While studying Biology and Environmental Engineering at UCLA, the travel bug bit when she took a backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon. Since then, Alice has been all over the world — experiencing all kinds of culture and natural beauty. After getting her degree she received a scuba dive master certification and started working with an ocean exploration company. With her certification, Alice took people on scuba tours, whale watching, and shark dives. Alice plans to go back to school for computer programming and would like to start her own business while continuing her travels.
WHEN DID YOU GET THE TRAVEL BUG?
AK: When I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, I experienced such a culture shock when I realized how sheltered I had been growing up in the suburbs of the Bay Area. Every new place had something amazing to offer. I a;ways had a great experience traveling, but it wasn’t until I took my first backpacking trip that I realized how much I loved the outdoors. I wanted to prioritize traveling and exploring above anything else.
YOU’VE BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHAT HAS TRAVELING TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
AK: Exploring what the world has to offer has taught me so many things! I’ve learned that there is beauty in everything. It’s important to find something that drives you and makes you happy, but most of all, to not settle or be complacent. So many people tell me how they would love to travel, but they never end up doing it because life gets in the way. To be honest, it’s never a good time to travel (or do what makes you happy), but you need to do it. Eventually you’ll look back and be sad you never did something that you really wanted to do. I’ve recently switched to the software engineering field because it gives me more flexibility and allows me to still do what I love – seeing the world.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
AK: I’m sure a lot of people say their parents, and for me it’s just as true. The people who raised me are the ones that taught me what to value, and they are also the ones to have the greatest impact on my life decisions. They came here with nothing and have shown me that anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.
You can follow Alice’s adventures on her Instagram @aaliceinwonderland.