Down Under Answers: Q&A With Jason Mesnick

The “Bachelor” star discusses a recent Aussie adventure and his passion for travel.

While taping part of “The Bachelor” in New Zealand, Jason Mesnick fell in love with the beautiful scenery – and the animals. When the show was behind him, Mesnick did some soul searching and followed one of his passions – traveling. He began to work for Down Under Answers, a Bellevue-based travel wholesaler that specializes in trips to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

Mesnick recently returned from his fourth trip to Australia and took some time to answer a few of our questions.

Seattleite: Tell me about Down Under Answers and how you became involved.

Jason Mesnick: Down Under Answers started 20 years ago by offering bike tours in New Zealand and blossomed into a travel wholesaler for the South Pacific, and now Africa as well. I got involved because they were in initial talks with “The Bachelor” when I was on the show – we filmed half of it New Zealand – and I was an acquaintance of the owner. After you go through something like “The Bachelor,” you tend to take a step back at your life and say “am I doing exactly what I want to do?” So I started to work for them doing marketing, PR, sales and anything they needed help with.

S: It sounds like you’ve followed a passion of yours by traveling more and working for Down Under Answers.

JM: For me, I wanted something different. It is hard for me to imagine going through every day and not loving my work. When I started meeting the producers on the show, they were a lot like me but they went after [their passion]. Most of the people – producers, sound persons, directors, caterers – they are all freelance and they travel and live life differently than they would for a big company. It opened my eyes and I remember thinking, “I’ve got to do that.”

When I came back from the show I left my typical suit/desk job and started working on my own passions and some of that was directly with travel. I just keep telling myself everyday that we all have one shot to live. I want to spend it doing things I love.

S: Did being on “The Bachelor” have an effect on you to travel more?

JM: I think it rejuvenated me. When I was younger I had done a couple of stints – 3 months at a time — in Europe, Israel, Costa Rica and several other countries — but it’s that time when you have a baby. It was more important to be home and I was thinking a lot less about myself. Yet I just kept on saying, “I love to travel,” and it’s hard to stop. At the same time I had a regular professional job and it was hard to take time off of work.

S: Let’s talk about your most recent trip in Australia. What was your favorite part?

JM: This trip for me was more about the animals. I went to four places but two of them really stuck out. Kangaroo Island is all about the animals. You can pull up in a car to an open field and see fields full with kangaroos and wallabies hopping around. The rest of the island is about experiencing nature, like going down to the beach and seeing Seals in their nature habitat.

If you’re going to go to Australia you’re probably going to go to Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to have a more authentic Australian experience, you’d go to Kangaroo Island and see the wildlife. The other place – and my first time going there – was Tasmania. We saw the Tasmanian devils, wombats and kangaroos at a sanctuary. You come in with a hand full of pellets and they’ll just come up to you and lick them out of your hands. It’s a really experience.

S: Tell me about the Wine Glass to Wine Glass Tour you went on.

JM: The Wine Glass to Wine Glass Tour is a really pretty, 3-mile walk with views of the ocean and just taking in Tasmania. It’s beautiful. At the end they serve a four or five course lunch of fresh local seafood, meats, cheeses and wine. Another great experience on the trip.

S: Australia is a long way to travel from the United States, so I imagine it can be a barrier for some people. What would you say to those who love to travel but are hesitate because of the distance?

JM: I think for anything worthwhile, it is going to be a distance away. There is that roadblock that it is so far away but if one wants experiences of different cultures, Australia is a great place. It is far but it is definitely worth it.

Down Under Answers  |  400 108th Ave. NE (Suite 200), Bellevue  |  (425) 460-0895