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!

  • What a privilege to be in @visitbentonville this weekend to celebrate the opening of @themomentary and our friend, @addie_roanhorse. Addie’s Osage ribbon work- inspired design is featured on this tower at the Momentary and it is just fabulous! 
This new space opens to the public Feb. 22 and general admission is free, thanks to the generosity of the @waltonfamilyfdn.
  • In @visitmasoncityiowa, you'll find the boyhood home of famous composer Meredith Willson. Perhaps best known for his musical, "The Music Man," Willson based the show in large part on his experiences growing up in his hometown.⁣
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Mason City has kept Willson's memory alive through an extensive museum and convention space, which we got to see on our hosted tour of the town, called The Music Man Square. A part of the experience at Music Man Square is a tour through Willson's childhood home.⁣
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Now is the perfect time to head to Mason City for a visit. Hugh Jackman is set to play Professor Harold Hill in a Broadway revival of, "The Music Man." With that show opening in 2020, all eyes will be back on Mason City.⁣
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@thehughjackman @musicmanbway
  • When the @museumofamericanspeed invited us to come for a complimentary visit, we weren't sure what to expect. ⁣
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Yes, the museum is chock-full of race cars, engines, history, and car-related memorabilia. But it also houses other collections like one of old lunch boxes.⁣
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We had so much fun standing and taking in the lunch boxes, looking and trying to find the ones we had when we were kids. Ann had "Charlie's Angels" and Steve had "Super Friends." ⁣
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If you're ever near Lincoln, Nebraska, check out the Museum of American Speed. It's a true hidden treasure in the midwest. ⁣
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What kind of lunch box did you carry to school? Any kids of the 70s and 80s who had the ones we had?
  • Sometimes you find things in your own backyard.⁣
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Just up the road from our home in Crete, Nebraska, we found the National Museum of Roller Skating. Our curiosity piqued, we stopped in and took a look around. There we found the world's largest collection of historical roller skates, costumes, and memorabilia. ⁣
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It took us back to our childhood and spending time at the roller skating rink (do kids even skate anymore?). We remembered crossing over on the turns for the first time and bending at the knees for "Downtown" by Petula Clark. So many great memories. ⁣
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Sometimes, we focus so much on getting away that we forget that we have some really interesting places close to home, as well. The next time you feel a hankering to go somewhere, maybe try going down the street. You never know what treasure you might find and what memories it evoke.
  • This was our Valentine’s Day dessert last year. Chef Kurtess Mortensen at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile created this memorable dish he called “Fat Elvis.” It was a chocolate bread pudding, served alongside banana brûlée and caramelized peanuts then topped with marshmallow cream, homemade peanut butter ice cream, and a candied bacon garnish. We are giddy with anticipation to see what he comes up with tonight! We are budgeting our calories accordingly. 😉
  • “Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
– Lewis Carroll
  • It's been a long winter. I need to see flowers again! Are you with me?Let's talk about these flowers. ⁣
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We are often asked about our favorite place we've ever visited. While that question is hard to answer, we almost always mention Tallinn, Estonia, as a contender.⁣
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Estonia has an interesting history. Conquered in 1227 by Denmark, it never again enjoyed independence until  1920. That freedom was short lived, however, as the Soviet Union occupied the country in 1940. Finally, in 1991, Estonia regained its independence and has remained free ever since. The country joined NATO in 2004. ⁣
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Visiting Estonia, we could see the remnants of Soviet control. Large block buildings dominate the landscape. They are of Soviet Communist design: utilitarian in nature with no thought given to design. They look just like the buildings you've seen in movies about the Soviet Union. ⁣
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Now free, Estonians have done what they can to erase the gray days of Soviet control. The Soviet-style buildings are painted bright colors, and flowers abound in the streets. The people are warm, cheerful, friendly, and welcoming. ⁣
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Yes, Estonia is a wonderful country, and we can't wait to return.
  • Each year from late February to early April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhills Cranes migrate through Nebraska on their way north to their breeding grounds. It's considered one of the greatest spectacles in nature, so thousands of people come to experience this incredible time.⁣
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We traveled to Kearney, Nebraska, one of the best cities for crane viewing, last year. Because the best times to view the cranes is sunrise and sunset, we found ourselves with some free time during the day. It turns out that Kearney has a lot to offer in terms of things to do.⁣
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Scroll across our highlights on Instagram, and you'll find the stories highlights we made during our time there. On our blog (link in bio) you'll also find a post we wrote with ideas for 20 things to do in Kearney while you wait on the cranes. ⁣
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Put crane viewing on your bucket list. It really is one of the most amazing experiences we've ever had in nature. And don't worry about being bored between sunrise and sunset--Kearney has too much to offer.

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