Dec. 4 , 2006

Workman, the world traveler, finds himself at home in Australia

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Jake Workman graduated from Delano High School in 2003, and has been on the move ever since.

At the age of 22, he has already traveled to five countries – and right now, calls Australia home.

Workman, son of Richard and Kathy Workman, has always been a very active person.

In high school he participated in band, choir, jazz band, jazz choir, pep band, drama, soccer, math team, track, SHARP, student council, and National Honor Society.

“I recommend that students be involved in as many extracurricular activities as they feel comfortable with,” Workman said. “Delano Schools are a wonderful system, and I feel privileged to call them my alma mater.”

After high school, he went on to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he earned a bachelor of science inbusiness degree in entrepreneurial management.

Workman’s first year of college allowed him his first real opportunity to travel, going to Arizona to visit friends.

“There was little chance to really immerse myself in a culture different from my own,” Workman said.

The following year, Workman traveled to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, for spring break. When he saw the ocean for the first time, Workman knew traveling was what he wanted to do.

“When the water touched my toes, I was hooked. The travel bug had bitten,” Workman said.

The following month, he traveled to Los Angeles, seeing the ocean again, and he knew it was time to start taking advantage of the opportunities the university provided, mainly, the studying abroad program.

In June, he did just that, and found himself on board a plane for Melbourne, Australia.

Workman spent the next six months there, studying and traveling. Workman visited such places as Victoria, Tasmania, Sydney, New South Wales, and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

“I was able to visit more of the country than most natives had,” Workman said.

While staying in Melbourne, Workman experienced his fondest memory; his parents, Rick and Kathy, came and visited him for 10 days. He took them to such places as Great Ocean Road, Cairns, and stayed on Fitzroy Island, snorkeling the reefs, Sydney, and the Opera House.

“Hands down, the best moments that I have had in all of my travels were the 10 days in Australia I shared with my parents,” Workman said.

While still in Australia, Workman had a chance to travel to Fiji for a week, staying on a small fishing island. He noted that Fiji has some of the most beautiful sunsets he had ever seen.

After his six-month stay in Australia, Workman returned home to Minnesota for a short time, before setting out on his next adventure – to China.

“My return home was short-lived,” Workman said.

Workman only spent a month in China, studying at Tsinghua University in Beijing, but he took full advantage of it. He spent time taking in numerous cultural sites, went to the Jin Mao tower in Shanghai, and hiked the Great Wall, as well as taking in as much of the history of China as he could.

“What an eye-opening experience!” Workman said.

Workman’s love of traveling came at an early age, with his parents taking him and his family on camping trips to various Minnesota State Parks.

“I had always had a desire to travel; this was instilled in me as a youth,” Workman said.

After his return home, Workman took a quick trip, for his standards, to Canada, for a vacation to visit friends he met during his stay in Australia. He traveled through the wine country, and also took in Niagara Falls.

“The best part is, the more I travel, the more friends I make,” Workman said.

After Workman graduated, two months after returning from China, he bought a one-way ticket back to Melbourne, Australia. It doesn’t end there though; Workman is planning on pursuing his master’s degree, and eventually a doctorate.

He plans on spending the next three years working abroad, one year in Melbourne, one in China, hopefully teaching English, and he also wants to spend a year in Europe if it works out.

With all of the international travel, Workman still hasn’t forgotten about Delano.

He returned for World Peace Day in September, and was a speaker for the event. He was chosen as a speaker because of his experiences, and organizers knew he would be a good candidate to talk about an international message of peace.

“People, worldwide, are beautiful. Regardless of nation, creed, religion, or age, kindness seems to be universal. It just comes with understanding,” Workman said.

In the past 18 months, Workman has been in five countries, spending a total of 10 months abroad. Now, he is back in Melbourne, Australia, where he is just living his dream.

“I realize that I have been extremely fortunate to be able to go to the places that I have,” Workman said. “I feel lucky and blessed, and more indebted to too many people to name.”

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