Welcome to Spring! 1

Traveling this summer? I plan to go somewhere fun. What about you? I can’t figure out if I want to do something local or go international. Traveling is such an eye-opening experience in many different ways.

I obtained my bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Virginia and my master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. You would not think that traveling to states on the East Coast would be drastically different from Georgia. My first eye-opening experience traveling came in college when I noticed people from Canada, New York and Washington, D.C. talk and act differently than people from Georgia. It seems like such a simple thing, but it really surprised me. I embraced the differences and took the time to explore the northern part of the East Coast during breaks from school. It was fascinating.

I remember the first time I went to Puerto Rico. As I stood in the airport listening to the announcers calling out flights, I was amazed there were so many translations one after another. Of course Spanish was the first announcement, then English, then French, then German followed by many other translations. I didn’t realize at the time that Puerto Rico was the international connection to the Caribbean. That was my second eye-opening experience while traveling and it made me want to travel more.

I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Fiji, my third eye-opening experience. Seeing another culture in their home country was fascinating. I didn’t realize there was such a large population of people from India in Fiji. When I visited, they were going through a controversial election, and there were militias on every corner. Wow, my first time seeing people walk around with machine guns. It was intense and thrilling in a weird way.

We traveled near and far in this issue to bring eye-opening experiences to Vinings. Write me with your own eye-opening experiences. The best story will win a prize.

Talk to you soon!