Today’s Expat Spotlight interview is Andrea Ross, Owner and Founder of Journeys Within Tour Company and Journeys Within Our Community.
- Name: Andrea Ross
- Occupation: Owner of a tour company, B&B and a non-profit
- Current Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Originally From: USA/UK
- Expat Locations: Bangkok, UK, USA
- Website: www.journeys-within.com
- Blog: journeyswithinblog.com
- Twitter: twitter.com/andreaross
How did you become an expat, and why?
My husband and I traveled around Southeast Asia for four months about 7 years ago. We had an amazing experience, but especially enjoyed Cambodia and the people we met here. In 2003 we decided to move to Cambodia and see if we could make a go of starting a tour company here. Back then there was no grocery store, no traffic lights and very few other expats, we didn’t speak the language at all and we just had a great time setting up and starting our tour company and a bed and breakfast about 15 minutes from Angkor Wat.
Where else have you been an expat?
I grew up in the UK, so when we first moved to America I guess I was an expat there! Now I consider the US home, but still have great extended family and friends in England. When I was pregnant with both my children I lived in Bangkok and loved my time in that amazing city.
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
I grew up on stories of Africa as both my parents grew up there, so I don’t have one piece of advice, but rather a sense, from when I was very small, that living and working in other places was the best adventure.
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
Choose where you want to live wisely and base a lot of it on the people. I think sometimes people move to a place because of the beach, or the weather, or the price and I think the most important judge of a place is the people. Then, once you’re there, enjoy it! Get out of your house and really see the country and region you’re in.
Favorite expat related web sites?
I don’t really know. I tried to think of websites I use a lot, but they all have to do with work. I love Twitter to keep in touch and get interesting insight, I love TripAdvisor and use it a lot to make sure I’m not missing a good hotel or spot, other than that my mind seems to be a blank!
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
You can ask my husband, I have a new place to go every week. I would love to live in Thailand at some point, really get to know the language and the people there, I find it a fascinating country and for now I am happy to visit but one day…
Just last week I thought about stopping everything and moving to Europe…if I’ve been sitting still for too long my mind tends to wander and want to take the rest of my body with it!
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
Brandon and I started our tour company Journeys Within Tour Company six years ago and we now have offices in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar and our own US office in California. We not only book tours for guests, but we also run the ground operations and work with guides, drivers, hotels and airlines, so we’re pretty busy! When we first moved here we fell in love with this big house so to afford it we turned it into a B&B. Later, after the kids we expanded and we now have five bungalow rooms, a pool, etc. In 2003 we also founded a non profit called Journeys Within Our Community, we focus on health, education and economic empowerment. We now have office for JWOC in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and our tours have become more focused on philanthropic travel. I also raise two children and try to keep a husband happy:)
Would you recommend your current location to other expats? Does it rock or does it suck?
I think Cambodia is fantastic for expats. Cambodians are some of the nicest people I have ever met and their honesty, generosity and caring make being here such a pleasure.
What is the expat community like where you are?
In Phnom Penh, the capital, there are a lot more expats and a big “expat scene”, here in Siem Reap it is a bit mellower, but over the years more and more people have come here to help out as well as start businesses.
Thank you, Andrea for participating in our Expat Spotlight! We wish you success and happiness in your current location, and wherever your dreams and business endeavors take you.