I have been on the road now for almost three months and have been to 11 different institutions and nine different states. Getting to go from coast to coast has been incredible. The most amazing part of this journey is all of the nature I get to see. Being from Florida, I never really liked being outside because it was always so hot. I am from Sarasota, Florida which has the #1 beach in America. I do not take this for granted and know some people do not have a beach within 8 hours of their homes, but getting to see hills and mountains has been breathtaking for me during my time as an LC. I had no idea what I was missing until I started to travel and visit such amazing places.
I went to the University of North Georgia for a chapter visit with the Kappa Lambda Chapter. This school is in Dahlonega, Georgia which they kept calling a ‘little mountain town.’ The chapter members there said that I could not leave Dahlonega without taking a hike. They also taught me a new term: ‘granola.’ I immediately thought it was people who enjoyed eating granola but that is not fully the case. If someone is granola, then they are a person who loves the outdoors and constantly loves to do activities in it. One collegian even told me that she has a goal to see every national park in the country. How cool!
I have been thinking about the term a lot lately since I left Dahlonega and realized that we all should have a more granola approach to life. We are constantly on our phones or our computers or binge watching a show on Netflix. The outdoors have become more of a chore than a fun activity. We constantly are counting our steps to make sure we were active enough for the day but we don’t walk for fun. I am guilty of it too! We get caught up in the business of our lives are forget what beautiful things are out there for us.
While traveling, some of my best memories have been the times spent outside. Here are a few of my favorites.
Before hitting the road as a leadership consultant, I took a trip to Colorado to visit one of my best friends. This is where I really started to appreciate the outdoors. The mountains were huge! Even in the middle of the summer, you could see snow at the top of the mountains. The below photo is from Breckenridge, Colorado.
When I went to upstate New York to visit the Theta Pi Chapter at SUNY Geneseo, it was very cold for me. I put on all my layers and the collegians took me to watch the Geneseo sunset which is a must-see for the town.
The phrase ‘stop and smell the flowers’ is a real thing at Elon University. When I visited the Kappa Zeta Chapter, I found out that the campus is a registered botanical garden!
Although I come from the #1 beach in America, that didn’t stop me from taking up the Phi Chapter members at the University of Rhode Island on their offer to go to the beach in Narraganset, Rhode Island. A little different than Florida, but so beautiful.
Lastly, my favorite spot was on Preacher’s Rock in northern Georgia during my visit to Kappa Lambda. One of the collegiate members, Emily, woke up at 4 a..m to take me on a morning hike before my flight. It was amazing to watch the sunrise.
Emily’s friends would identify Emily as granola. I asked Emily what she loved about the outdoors and she said:
“I feel rejuvenated after being outside honestly. It gives me a peace and puts me in such a happy state of mind. There’s just really so many amazing places to explore and see, even in our own backyard, but if you’re never actively looking or searching, there’s no way we’ll get to see them all.”
Unfortunately, our society is not treating our earth in the very best ways. All of these amazing sights could be gone in a few years if we do not maintain the beauty of this earth. Sigma Kappa’s service initiative is Inherit the Earth, so we should be leading our campuses to have a ‘go green’ mentality. Behaviors as simple as recycling or bicycling can help our earth.
“You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. If you’re trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging. If an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waste for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road.
If you can stay off the road just two days a week, you’ll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds (721 kilograms) per year. Combine your errands — hit the post office, grocery store and shoe repair place in one trip. It will save you gas and time”
Our world is incredibly special and has so much to offer. I encourage each of you to remember to stop and notice all the beauty that is around you each day. Take time to think about what you can do to unplug a little more and also think about what you can do to help our environment. We could all use a little more granola in our life.