Well, CR8 is officially over. At least, the European part of the experience is over. It’s been hard waking up alone (even if it is in Croatia). It’s been hard eating dinners without fifteen of the loudest Americans I know (even if I am eating with my family). Bottom line, I miss the fifteen. I miss the group as a whole and every person individually.
Cultural Routes taught me a lot. It taught me about the differences in the cultures of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It taught me that modesty is key, especially when delicious food is maliciously shoved on your plate and your hand moves with a mind of it’s own. I learned more about who I am and what I want to do. I learned how the 15 others on the trip got to where they are today and what they want to do in the future. I learned that the people in the Familia are some of the most amazing people in the world, and a group I will never take for granted. I will miss all of these fifteen, but I cannot wait to see what everybody does to change the landscape of the world.
Bianca Hursh: Bianca will be wildly successful in whatever she chooses to do. She is one of the most intelligent people I know, while she is also very down to earth. If she pursues her passion for the environment, I can see her solving some huge global issues and laughing and having a great time doing it.
Caydn White: Caydn has a lot of fortitude, especially in his beliefs. Whatever field he goes into, he will make a difference because he is the stone on which everybody else sharpens their swords. At least, that is what he did for our group. He challenged us to become better in ways nobody else did, and everybody rose to the occasion.
Claire Carter: Claire is perhaps the best laugher I have ever met. She will bring joy with her wherever she goes. But she also has an ambition to help those in need of speech therapy, and has a passion for those communities. I see her being a light to those in need, someone who people are dying to be around because of her attitude and passion.
Caroline Jones: Caroline Jones is a person full of energy, adventure, and always in wonder of the world. This attitude is infectious, and will make it easy for her to find success wherever she chooses to find it.
Caroline Wade: CWade is the sweetest person I know. Her upbeat attitude often held everybody together. She is also one of the smartest people I know, and I have no doubt she will make a fantastic doctor one day, one that I would gladly send my children to see. I cannot wait to do the next three years of pre-med classes with her.
Cooper Gould: Coop brings the adventure out of everyone around him, but is also very thoughtful and kind. He will keep any industry he is associated with from stagnating because of his comfort with risk, and will steer towards success because of his intelligence, integrity, and hard work.
Eleni Michaelides: Eleni will make a fantastic businesswoman. One of her unique skills is the ability to make structure out of the unstructured, This skill will undoubtedly be useful in the business world. Her kind heart enables her to also empathize with others and see things from different perspectives.
Eli Reynolds: Eli is the most genuine person I’ve met. From good ‘ole Alabama (as much as this pains me, Roll Tide!), Eli touches the hearts of those he meets. I’m excited to see where this takes him with medicine, and I think he will be a fantastic doctor because of his intelligence, drive, and care for others.
Luke Beasley: Luke is a soft spoken leader. Not that he won’t voice his thoughts, but he actually just has a soft voice. He leads with a great attitude, and has the ability to lead all kinds of people, even all of us Type A personalities on the trip. I would gladly follow Luke down a path unknown to me because I know he always has a plan, and a good one at that. He will bring integrity with him wherever he goes, which will make him successful.
Jane Lynch: Jane is very kind. She is also very intelligent. But above both of those, she is a relator. She gets people, and people get her. I’ve never struggled to have a conversation with Jane and I don’t think anybody ever has or will. Jane’s ability to stimulate conversation and spark friendships so quickly will allow her to be wildly successful in the business world, wherever that may be.
Sydney Galloway: Sydney is amazing. She is a leader, but also a great team player. She is perhaps the most versatile person I know. She steps up when she needs to, and back when someone else needs to step up. She does everything with great intentions, never seeking a spotlight or praise, although she certainly deserves both.
Jack May: Jack will be an athletic director if he wants, and whatever program he works for I will be a fan of for a couple of reasons. The first is how Jack views sports as a way to change a city and society, not as the end of the road. He will make his athletes better people, not just better at excelling on their respective fields and courts. He will also lead with integrity, building programs on solid ground, which is extremely valuable in the landscape of the world today.
Mackenzie Warren: Mack is driven and focused. She sets her eye on a goal and achieves it. But she is great at also living in the moment. She is passionate about a lot, especially dogs. If she chooses to pursue a career in animal non-profits, I can see her quickly gaining a following and making a difference. Wherever she goes, she will have the ability to incite passion and reach her goals.
Robyn Reid: Robyn was amazing on the trip. I really enjoyed getting to know her. Look out for her six-song album to be released in the future. Her love of music and her goal of an album shows her extreme drive and appreciation for life
Dr. P: Where to even begin…Dr. P is one of the best people I know. His yearly ability to take fourteen students and over three and a half weeks lead them through Europe, allowing them to grow in themselves and others, all while challenging us and expecting a lot from us makes Cultural Routes the experience it is. He is the cornerstone of the experience, and from that cornerstone a great experience is built, one that culminates in lifelong connections and people willing to change the landscape of the earth.
To the fifteen, I miss you all. I love you all. I cannot wait to see what happens over the next three years and the course of our lifetime.