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

My high school senior picture in 1987.

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 was fun to look back at old black and white photos I’d taken in college, including these of former Nebraska Football Coach Tom Osborne and UNK Alumni Director Emeritus Jim Rundstrom.

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.

If my memory is correct, these are most of the editors (I’m the one with the great perm in the center of the front row) of The Antelope newspaper my senior year at the University of Nebraska – Kearney.

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.

Outside the Telegraph newspaper in North Platte, Neb., with fellow University of Nebraska – Kearney graduates Shelly Kulhanek, Dan Moser, (me) and Deb Egenberger

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.

As always, THANKS for sharing!

  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.
  • Stuck at home? We're just social distancing here in Nebraska and thinking up ways to experience travel without leaving our home. ⁣
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We have a NEW BLOG POST (link in bio) with more than a dozen ideas of ways you can curb your wanderlust while stuck at home. ⁣
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What are you up to today?
  • It’s Day 2 at home together and here’s what we’re up to. Let us know what you’re doing in the comments below.

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