CHYLOE KURDAS, FOUNDER
My dad is a Turkish immigrant, who arrived in Australia when he was 13, and whilst my childhood is littered with stories of this faraway land we never had the chance to travel abroad when I was a kid.
Instead, after selling a lot of doughnuts and raffle tickets, I was really fortunate to travel to Nepal when I was 15 for a karate championships. What I remember most from this experience was the wisdom I gained through being immersed in different cultures and communities, even just for a couple of weeks. It challenged me to challenge my perceptions of myself, and the places and people I lived amongst. In short, I brought home much more than the silver medal that was proudly packed in my suitcase. My curiosity about the world and its people was well and truly ignited.
Since then, I’ve built a career off the back of my tertiary studies in psychology, health promotion & education, and my fifteen years as an elite Australian rules footballer. Six years teaching psychology in secondary schools preceded a decade working in sports development building high performance health, wellness and sporting programs for adolescent female AFL footballers in Australia. The cultural change that this work created for women and girls became the catalyst for AFLW, Australia’s professional women’s Australian football competition. I'm now a leadership consultant, university educator, and sports media commentator, sharing the players' stories and of how we built this amazing competition.
Amongst all of this, I pursued travel as a passion and the more I did it, the more I learned. I’ve travelled through South and North America, Asia and Europe, driven by a desire to discover the world, when in fact my biggest and best discoveries have been about myself.
In building Own Journey, I wanted to bring together my three passions - travel, wellbeing, and investing in people and the community, all supported by my 20 years’ experience in mentoring & supporting young people as they chase their dreams.
Own Journey aims to empower our travellers, encouraging them to be curious about themselves and their own authenticity, and their place in the world.
The hallmarks of my work with young people reflect my passions for investing in the holistic development, wellbeing and empowerment of young people, and the power of community.
Through my work in developing, delivering and leading award winning personal development programs for young women and mentoring a third of AFLW’s players, I understand the impact of support and investment in personal development have on young people working towards success, knowing themselves and thriving.
Consequently, Own Journey very simply adds a framework to your travel experience, one that supports you to recognise, apply and enjoy your learnings as they happen. Our unique personal development program uses travel as the platform from which you can explore, discuss, consider and apply positive psychology principles that will not only enrich your travelling experience, but also make a positive contribution to your overall health and wellbeing.
And you won’t do it alone. Own Journey is building a community of young people who will be able to provide ongoing support for one another beyond your Own Journey experience, ensuring that our impact will become part of whatever you choose to do next.