How cool is this? My college alma mater, the University of Nebraska – Kearney, just featured one of my photographs and our travel blog on the cover of its alumni magazine, UNK Today!
It was so nice to see the story posted online today and we are looking forward to getting the hard copy in the mail later this week. UNK Alumni’s Michelle Widger contacted us last summer after hearing about our TV appearance on our local CBS station, KOLN-KGIN. She said she was interested in learning more about our travel blog and how I had gotten into travel writing. A couple months ago, she followed up with some interview questions and asked me to send one of my favorite photographs I’d taken of the sandhill cranes to use on the cover.
Michelle did a great job pulling the story together and we are so honored to be featured in the spring edition of UNK Today! You can read the entire story HERE.
Working on this article brought back so many fond memories of my college days. I thought I’d share a little history of how I got into writing in the first place along with a few pictures of me with bangs and a perm. Ye gods!
After graduating from high school in 1987 (let me do the math for you … I’m almost 48), I moved to Kearney, Neb., to attend the University of Nebraska – Kearney, or what was then called Kearney State College. I moved more stuff than
I needed into a 10′ x 18′ room in Centennial Towers East and began my studies in journalism. I had been on my high school newspaper and yearbook staffs and honestly wasn’t really thinking much about going to college at all until my high school journalism teacher told my mom something I did not know.
My mom recalls that at parent/teacher conferences my last semester of high school, Ms. Mary Wagner-Georgi told her that it would be a shame if I didn’t go to college. She said I had more writing talent than I realized and encouraged me to go to school to be a journalist. And so I did.
UNK was a great school for me. It had an outstanding journalism department and was small enough that I could get involved with school publications and other organizations almost immediately.
Today, I found a box with old black and white photographs I’d taken and printed for my college newspaper. I also found some weird looking thing that looked like part of a wire hanger with two different sized pieces of card stock on each end.
It took me a few minutes, but I finally remembered that we used those sticks to “shade” and “burn” when processing pictures in the dark room. Yes, boys and girls, the dark room!
I got involved with the The Antelope newspaper as a freshman when I stopped by the office one day to inquire about writing for the paper. I think the editor said something like, “Why don’t you come out in the hallway and we can talk about it.” The next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor in the hall with the rest of the staff stuffing advertisements into the papers and hoping I’d be asked to join the group again next week.
Four years later, I was named managing editor of The Antelope, and in 1991 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism – news editorial. I got my first newspaper job the the North Platte Telegraph (where several other Lopers were working) and later moved to South Carolina to be a sports writer for the Anderson Independent-Mail.
My newspaper career was somewhat short-lived. After becoming a single mom, I moved back to Nebraska to be closer to family and transitioned to public relations, which seemed to have better hours and higher pay.
While I used my writing skills most days throughout my 18-year career in communications, programming, and government affairs, it wasn’t the same as writing for the newspapers or magazines. I missed interviewing people and finding just the right words to tell their stories to others.
When health issues caused me to leave my full time job in 2014, writing was one of the things that helped me get through long days at home by myself. Steve and I started the blog just before I was diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis and since then, writing about our travels and those who’ve made them so special has continued to bring both of us great joy.
My favorite posts are those where I am able to write about the people who make our travels so memorable. Posts like the ones about Olde Main Street Innkeeper Jeanne, the Mayo Clinic’s Jane Belau, and our visit to see the home of our college students from St. Kitts are a few of my favorites and the reasons I love blogging so much.
As I mentioned in the article in UNK Today, I’ll always be grateful for people I met at UNK and the writing and photography skills I learned there. They served me well in my professional career for more than 20 years and are now helping me live out my dream of traveling the world and sharing those experiences with all of you.