by Brenda Shepard, Admissions Representative

Traveling can certainly be stressful, but I think it’s important to take the good when it comes and run with it while you’re on the road.  Especially now that I’m traveling for Mason’s Admissions office and have such an important job to do for high school students.

 As I drove through the Green Mountain’s winding roads and curved my way up toward the Canadian boarder, listening to classic rock songs I’d never heard before on XM radio, I looked off into the distance and what did I see? Fireworks. Perfectly placed in a valley in between two peaks along the mountain range.

I knew this trip would be its own variety of “special” when I saw those bright bursts of color in the utter darkness of the mountains at night.

While traveling in Vermont, I had the opportunity to stop at the Cabot Creamery, famous for their world famous cheddar cheeses. Humbled by the hard work and dedication that these farmers and plant workers do day in and day out, it only inspired me more. Getting lost finding my hotel? “Not a big deal,” I told myself.  I’ll find it eventually. Driving around from high school to high school, trying to get to each one on time as to not burn any bridges along my way, I refused to let myself become stressed if a large tractor trailer pulled out in front of me, slowing me to a speed of about 30 on a 65 mph road. It just meant more time to take in the luscious green scenery.

Nearing the end of my trip, I pulled over onto a dirt road to have my lunch of leftover pizza from the night before.  As I sat in my car, looking around me at the cornfield to my left and empty field of greenery to my right, I realized that this was a simpler way of life, no better or worse.  Plenty of warm, happy Americans tilled the soil and provided this corn for the rest of the country, and maybe even the rest of the world to enjoy. 

On adventures like this, travelers should remember to take time aside from the main tourist attractions (though the cheese at the Cabot Creamery was delicious) and take a step back to enjoy the “way of life” around them.  Observation is a powerful tool for travelers of new areas.  You can get to know a great deal about people by critically thinking about the environment, the economics and the energy that people thrive off of in their day-to-day lives.

 As most good stories do, my journey very far north, into Vermont, came full circle as I descended back down into Virginia at Dulles Airport. As we circled, waiting for the “o.k.” to land, I looked out my window and saw, of course, fireworks.