About Me

Who is Alexandra Drescher-Elphick?

Born in Sydney, Australia, raised in Yorkshire, England, I lived & worked in Vietnam for three-and-a-half-years,  spent 5 months in India and have spent the last 2 years working on a cruise ship… I think it’s safe to say travel is not just a hobby, it’s my life.

My story isn’t necessarily the same as a lot of travellers. I (regretfully) did not spend my third year at university studying abroad, I didn’t save up loads of money before moving my life to the other side of the world. In fact, I think I moved to Vietnam with little more than £500 in my pocket. I didn’t sell any of my stuff – actually I’m a hoarder, I have 2 rooms completely full of stuff at my grandmother’s house.

But I guess the travel bug is in my blood. My mother traveled solo around the world when she was younger, and my paternal family (I’ve never physically met my father), were schooled in Fiji and live in Australia. From being a baby, my mother and grandmother would take me on their holidays around the world a couple of times a year as I was growing up, and would always encourage me to go on school holidays abroad. University also offered a few overseas travel opportunities.

One summer, I ventured on a short European inter-railing trip for my 21st birthday, on which I visited Venice, Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Munich, and this really opened my eyes up to the world of travel.

What influenced my decision to move abroad?

I studied Design Management for Fashion Retailing at The University of Manchester, in the hope of becoming a fashion buyer. I graduated during the recession in 2011, when more than 2.5 million people were unemployed, the highest number in 17 years. Following graduation, my job applications were getting me nowhere closer to the fashion industry, and although I managed to squeeze in a European music festival in Serbia, I spent my summer between visiting the dole office every couple of weeks, and trawling through job vacancies on my computer. A soul-destroying experience.

So when my friends told me they wanted to backpack around Asia for a couple of months, I chose to use the little money I had left to go with them. This seemed like a ridiculous decision to people at the time, but looking back it was the best stupid thing I ever did. I loved Hanoi so much I decided to stay and teach English using the ESL certificate I had achieved earlier. What was supposed to be a couple of months, ended up being a few years, and five years on, I still haven’t gone home.

My Experience Living And Working Abroad

Living in Asia, I’ve had the opportunity to visit various parts of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand several times, and spent five months in India, where I also spent 6 weeks volunteering on the fabric line of a women’s empowerment organisation.

In the Autumn of 2013, I wondered if I was missing out on something by not having a conventional career, so I spent 6 weeks in London working the 9 to 5, and I realised I hadn’t missed out on anything. So I flew back to Vietnam!

Then one day I was offered the opportunity to work on a cruise ship. And two years later I’m still onboard. Through this, I’ve been able to visit so many different parts of the world, including various parts of the USA, Canada, Central America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and various locations within the Caribbean. In my vacation months, I have often returned to the UK, or traveled around other parts of my beloved Asia, including Taiwan and the Philippines.

The ability to travel is a gift we must all take advantage of…

…It removes racism and prejudice; creates understanding, love, and empathy. It takes us out of our comfort zone.
Removing us from our bubble makes us realise that the world is not perfect, but that there are always things we can do to help to make it better.
On the ship, I live and work with over 40 different nationalities… Here, noone is better than anyone else. We call each other, we hang out, we party together, we work together, we’re friends. If Planet Earth was a cruise ship, the world would be awesome.

Near-future travel plans

Until August: Alaska & Vancouver
August: England
September: Seattle & Alaska
October – January: Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia