Once corporate life in the Big Apple began to take its toll, Baldwin native Alisa Messeroff and her husband, Bellmore native Mike Messeroff, quit their jobs in August 2011 to fulfill their dream of traveling the world.
After a year working as a hiking tour guide and waitress in the Virgin Islands, they moved to Australia, and have been backpacking since last fall.
After falling in love with the country, Alisa Messeroff is trying to stay by winning a contest that would take her on the adventure of a lifetime.
As part of an international marketing push, Tourism Australia launched a contest in March for six "Best Jobs In the World,” each with a $100,000 salary for a six-month stint.
The six jobs include wildlife caretaker in South Australia; chief funster in New South Wales; park ranger in Queensland; taste master in Western Australia; outback adventurer in the Northern Territory; and lifestyle photographer in Melbourne, Victoria.
After Messeroff submitted a 30-second video stating why she would be best for the job of outback adventurer, she was selected in mid-April as one of 25 finalists for that job.
“I’m just following my heart and trying to live life without regrets, so I entered this contest,” said Messeroff, 29, who is currently between backpacking jaunts and settled in Perth, Australia.
The competition provides a platform to entice young people from around the world to come to Australia, according to Jane Whitehead, regional general manager for the Americas for Tourism Australia.
“We ask candidates to promote and spread the word about the best of our country — our breathtaking landscapes and scenery, unique wildlife and our keen sense of fun,” said Whitehead.
In March, Tourism Australia narrowed down the 600,000 entries from across the world to 150 finalists. About 45,000 entered for a chance at outback adventurer.
“I just really want this,” Messeroff said. “I love hiking and camping, editing video and updating my travel blog. It’s fun to share your story with the public and take them along for the ride. If I won, I would work so hard to increase tourism in Australia because of what this country has to offer. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I love it here.”
Finalists are now asked to get covered in local media and obtain an endorsement from a celebrity or high-profile personality by May 8. Based on video submissions and supporting references, judges on May 15 will select the 18 strongest candidates, three for each of the six jobs. They will be invited to a final assessment in Australia in mid-June, with the six winners announced June 21.
Despite a fear of heights, Messeroff, carrying a third of her body weight in equipment, conquered the Blue Mountains near Grose Valley last New Year's Eve, Mike Messeroff said. Two days later, the couple climbed Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko.
“I honestly think she’s the perfect person for the job,” said Mike Messeroff, 31, who worked for JetBlue for 10 years. “She’ll be a great cheerleader for Australia in helping to get more people to come here.”
In the position, Messeroff would be expected to explore wildlife, sleep under the stars, travel by hot air balloon, immerse herself in indigenous culture and taste traditional foods.
“You explore Australia to the fullest and share your experience with the world.” Messeroff said. “I just can’t imagine getting paid for something so amazing. It would be a dream.”