Laie resident Cody Easterbrook says he has been preparing for this trip his whole life.
“Today, I am speaking to you all the way from Abu Dhabi,” Easterbrook said.
The world traveler is one of five people in the running to become Jauntaroo’s Chief World Explorer for a year with a hefty paycheck of $100,000.
“They’ve got me staying in a palace over here, so it’s not a bad place. I’ve ridden a camel, I’ve gone to watch the stars in the desert, I’ve played with falcons,” Easterbrook said.
Last summer, the Brigham Young University Hawaii graduate and teacher at Kahaluu Elementary school submitted an audition video to the travel website for what was being called the “Best Job in the World.” He was selected as one out of 50 people who made it to the semi-finals, and after online voting was the top vote getter with close to 27,000 votes, which propelled him to the final five.
The competition continues this week in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East.
“We may be competing for the same job, but we are all like-minded travelers and kindred souls. It’s been great to travel to a new place with people who are just like you,” Easterbrook said.
The other four finalists — two girls and two guys. One Australian and three other Americans — are being judged based on how they interact and travel with each other.
“As a teacher at Kahaluu Elementary School, it has prepared me to be organized spontaneous and creative, which I think will be an asset to any world traveler,” Easterbrook said.
The part-time luau host at the Polynesian Cultural Center also says being from Hawaii and coming out on top with the most votes from the semi-finals gives him a little something extra.
“Giving me that boost that I need of confidence and sharing the aloha and I think that’s what we do best. A community is we share that aloha,” Easterbrook said.
The winner will be announced in New York on Thursday.