Ever dreamed that your hobby or talent could pay off in a big way? Debora Scott, winner of U. and Colleges.com’s Will Create for Travel™ contest can attest to it . The Grand Prize was a two week Contiki Holidays trip to Australia and a $500 cash scholarship. Debora, a first year student of Digital Media Production at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh wowed our judges with her catchy radio ad entry titled C-O-L-L-E-G-E-S. Here is her story:
When I entered the Will Create for Travel™ contest I was hoping to place second so I wouldn’t have to fly. I dabble in music track production and song writing as hobbies and put together a rhythmic lyric with rap influence as my entry. When I got a message from John Carrieri, CEO of U. and Colleges.com saying I had won the trip to Australia, I couldn’t believe it. My fear of heights and flying would soon be a thing of the past.
The following week, Mr. Carrieri called to ask if I could meet with him in person while he was in Pittsburgh. Throughout our conversation I was impressed that he was genuinely interested in what I had to say as we jumped topic to topic. I learned that through Colleges.com there are unlimited possibilities dedicated to enriching all aspects of educational growth for students.
The following week, I began my incredible journey. As we flew across the United States I was in awe. Clouds looked like suspended puffs of white mist. Being in the air brought a new perspective into my life. It made me realize just how small we really are compared to nature. The pilot pointed out the Mississippi river below us. The reflection of sunrays made it look like a winding stream of liquid gold leading me to somewhere beautiful; leading me to the land down under.
I have gained such respect for nature since coming to Australia. Seeing how much the country cared about its environment made me feel obligated to do the same. Everywhere we went was so clean and vibrant. Australia oozes beauty from the top of the palm trees to the smallest grain of sand. The Australian way of life made me appreciate all things. Suddenly the ocean was not just another picture in a book or frame in a movie. It became a part of my life.
When I landed in Sydney I checked in and joined up with our tour group aboard the bus. Our tour guide Mick went over the guidelines and expectations which were mainly common sense and respect. He then explained how anyone who didn’t adhere to the rules would become nominated for trash duty and have to help clean the coach. We drove through Sydney listening to commentary from Mick, an easygoing Aussie ‚bloke’ who loved his job and enjoyed sharing the history of Sydney with us. We also had a cool bus driver, Tom.
In Sydney we saw numerous landmarks; Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, the beautiful Sydney Opera House, The Music Institute and Art Gallery, magnificent parks and statues. Mick boasted about the strength of the Australian navy, pointing out a few the Australian naval fleet. Sydney’s first library and garden still have some of the original plants from 1788.
From Sydney we headed up the east coast, stopping in small towns along the way. At dusk, we arrived at a very beautiful resort in Coffs Harbour. The resort is on a secluded part of the beach. This was my first time seeing the ocean. I watched the waves roll in crashing against the shoreline and washing away. It was absolutely stunning. I climbed onto a huge rouged rock to get some photos of the sun disappearing behind the horizon. Once I reached the plateau and gazed out into the water, I saw a breathtaking view. Being out on the beach late at night is an experience I will never forget. The waves at high tide crashing against the earth is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Wave after wave crashing against the sand pulling it into the ocean washing away the path of yesterday and waiting for someone to lay fresh footprints is absolutely amazing. Sitting upon those rocks I had no worries. I wanted to wake up at dawn to watch the sunrise for the cycle to be complete, and I did. The waves were there to meet me at the shoreline pushing sand between my toes. I climbed back up on the rock to watch the sunrise. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my first day in Australia.
Our next stop was Byron Bay. We were told many hippies settled in this town. So of course I had to stop in a mind, body, and spirit shop where I bought some incense and stones. A little further down the road leading to the beach I stopped to buy a hand woven blanket. The peddler named Skippy offered for me to have a seat and chat a bit so I did. Skippy explained to me how the blanket was woven. As we talked, some of the people traveling with Contiki walked by. They were shocked to see me sitting on a blanket in the grass talking to the locals. They started to intervene in our conversation when Skippy politely told them I was in good company and shooed them away. I was only a block from where the coach was meeting us. We talked until I had to get back to the bus at which time he kissed me on both cheeks and gave me a hug goodbye. Continued