Hi, I’m Brooke Roberts. Born and raised in a single-wide trailer in a sleepy farm town in rural Kansas, I left the farm at 18 years old to chase my dreams over the rainbow, around the world, and back again.
This is my story
IN THE BEGINNING…
Before I became a travel industry executive, 4x entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and global digital nomad, I was just a poor girl from rural Kansas with wide eyes and big dreams (not unlike the heroine in The Wizard of Oz and my “New Dorothy” inspiration and namesake).
Growing up in a single-wide trailer on a tiny cattle ranch three hours from the closest airport didn’t stop me from dreaming about a world far beyond the pasture.
(Picture: The driveway that leads to my parents’ ranch in Kansas.)
FROM KANSAS FARM KID TO COUNTER-TERRORISM STUDENT
At 18, I left my familiar family farm to venture to Boston to become the first person in my family to earn a university degree.
During college I studied international affairs and middle east studies and spent three semesters studying abroad in Switzerland, France, and England (where I attended the London School of Economics and interned in the British Parliament) - all with the goal of one day working for the CIA.
When graduation approached, I found myself at a fork in the road. I became disillusioned with my experience working in NGOs and governments and was no longer motivated for a career I had been working towards for four years. During senior year, I was freaking out.
(Picture: A picture of a picture of me in Paris in 2001 before smart phones and digital cameras were a thing.)
FINDING MY PATH IN MEANINGFUL TRAVEL
With the mentorship and guidance from a college advisor, I decided to pursue a career in a field that I’d engaged with for several years, but had no idea even existed: Study Abroad & International Higher Education.
Packing everything I owned into my car, I drove west to Ohio where I went to graduate school earning an MA in Higher Education Administration and began growing my professional brand and body of work in global education.
(Picture: Me and my closest friends the day we finished graduate school.)
FROM INTERN TO EXECUTIVE IN 4 YEARS
Over the course of my career…
*I worked in international internship program development
*Led international service-learning programs
*Sailed around the world as a staff member with Semester at Sea
*Taught for a year at a university in China
*Consulted on international program development for MIT, Brown University, and others
*Founded and managed the study abroad office at the University of South Dakota
*Ran student advising for CISabroad
*Spearheaded the stabilization and growth of the largest marketing platform for youth travel (GoAbroad.com) during its most tumultuous years in business.
And I did it all by the age of 30.
(Picture: In Tokyo feeling pretty great about life.)
THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP YEARS BEGINS
Since quitting my executive job about six years ago, I’ve launched and grown my own online businesses and industry-leading brands including Yoga Travel Tree, Inside Study Abroad, and The Study Abroad Journal.
In the past six years, I’ve lived in 30+ cities, 27 countries, and four continents. (For a complete list of where I’ve been and lived, keep scrolling.)
(Various pictures of my travels around the world over the past 6+ years)
NO LONGER POSTPONING MY DREAMS
But even with everything I’ve achieved, all the places I’ve traveled, and the amazing experiences I’ve had…a cold hard fact hit me this year. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “Every day you postpone a dream you weaken it a little.”
I’ve been quoting that phrase for over a decade.
But the real truth is: I’ve been hiding from my dreams for a long time. You see, before influencer or content creator was a thing, I wanted to be a blogger, speaker, and author. In fact, I started the original thenewdorothy.com website when I was living in China with the goal of becoming a famous writer and speaker - and that was back in 2006. Oops.
So it’s been 13 years since I chose the more traditional career path. I don’t regret my choices because I’ve had an incredible ride. But I’m no longer hiding from and postponing my dreams. Things have come full circle for me and I’m ready to chase more dreams over more rainbows.
So now I’m producing and hosting my own media platform, The New Dorothy Show and started my fourth company, Brazenist, an online business incubator for aspiring digital nomads and location-independent entrepreneurs.
And I’m doing it all from my home base in Kansas City where I’m building a global brand and business from the center of the heartland.
I hope you’ll stick around for the next phase of The New Dorothy Adventure…
🌎My next bucket list destinations are Iceland, Italy, and Israel. I sense an “Eat, Pray, Love” style trip in my future. ;)
😎In fifth grade I competed in talent shows every month where I would sing “What A Feeling” from the movie Flashdance. I won first place every time. As you can imagine, I’m all for karaoke.
❤️I was in a 14 year relationship with my high school sweetheart that ended when we were 29. He played a huge role in who I am now and the path I’ve taken in life.
🥜I hate peanut butter. Always have. Always will.
🏡I bought my first house when I was 31. And proud to say that I purchased it on my own without help from parents or a partner. (I flipped it 1.5 years later for a nice profit.)
💰Some day I’ll stay in one place long enough to become a real estate mogul and buy/flip houses for a living.
🐶I have an adorable long-haired chihuahua named Barnaby. He’s almost completely blind due to cataracts. My current apartment doesn’t allow dogs so he’s living the dream on the ranch with my parents. But we’ll be reunited in 2020.
🛠I love to build furniture. I’ve built myself two desks, a coffee table, a midcentury modern shelving unit, and two side tables.
Where I’ve been
Here’s a complete list of where I’ve traveled around the world in order of when I traveled there. The number indicates how many times I’ve been there and the asterisk* signifies that I was there for longer than a month.
USA (47 States)
Hong Kong x3
Costa Rica x3
The Philippines x7
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In total, I’ve been to 47 US States (still missing Delaware, North Dakota, and Montana), 54 countries, and 6 continents. Those numbers are fun for sure, but what I actually love most about my travels is that I’ve been to 21 countries multiple times since I started traveling at 16. Sometimes it’s even more exciting to return to a place to dive even deeper in the culture, society, history, and food.