Tom Chmielewski


Tom Chmielewski discovered at a young age that he was an exchange student at heart. When he was a teenager in Houston, his father celebrated finishing chemotherapy by taking the family on a trip through Europe, spending one day there for each day of his treatment. On that trip, Tom fell in love with travel and learning about other cultures. The following summer, Tom became an AFS Intercultural Programs exchange student to Argentina. Since then, he has made a career in international business, which often makes him wonder if he enjoys working in this field because it requires him to travel abroad, or if he simply works in order to enable his traveling lifestyle.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in History, Tom spent six years working at American Management Systems as a systems integration consultant for telecommunications companies in the US and Europe. Over four years, he lived and worked in Dusseldorf, The Hague, and Bern, taking advantage of Europe's generous vacation policies to travel extensively throughout the continent. He then attended Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA with High Distinction.

Rather than chase the internet bubble after graduation like his classmates, Tom decided to take a yearlong sabbatical to backpack through the Asia-Pacific region. Upon his return, he worked in sales for several high-growth software companies in Austin, London, and Montreal, ultimately as a Vice President of Worldwide Sales, providing customer care and internet security software to internet companies across the globe.

Tom then decided it was time for another sabbatical and took off for Central Europe and Africa. After his Europe visit, Tom bought a one-way ticket to Johannesburg and backpacked mostly overland to Jerusalem over the next seven months. Tom's idea of sharing his experiences with his friends' children and their teachers was born for this trip. Tom currently splits his time as a consultant to technology companies between his home on Lake LBJ outside of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and travel companion Eliza, and their son, Will.