After a semester that challenged us in more ways than one, our members took advantage of their extended break. With six national parks, a road trip out west, and beautiful sunrises over the islands of Saudia Arabia, we had the adventure of a lifetime over the break. We can’t wait to share their unforgettable stories!
You’ll Always Find your Way Back Home
Name: Maggie Mulder
Major: Christian Ministry with a Spanish Minor
Displaying her servant’s heart, Maggie took this break as an opportunity to host seventeen of her closest friends from Samford, seven of them being sisters from her New Member Class in Delta Psi. In the first part of the break, Maggie’s friends from Samford met up near Colorado Springs. They drove out to the Rocky Mountains taking in the most beautiful views while staying at a nearby ranch. She proceeded to tell us how they visited six national parks in only six days! After they saw the Black Canyon, various Utah sites, Moab, and Bryce Canyon, Maggie and her friends ended their trip in Phoenix.
For the second half of the break, Maggie continued to play tour guide as her sorority sisters visited her beautiful hometown. This experience was eventful, including horseback riding, hiking, and winding down at night with “touristy things” that she typically would not have the chance to do. Maggie mentioned that she really struggled to go the long break without seeing her friends from college in the past. “Just the fact that they would take the time to fly and come out all this way here just shows the quality of people that attend Samford.” Maggie used these opportunities to try new things even though she’s lived there for over 10 years.
Staycation turned into a Vacation
Name: Savanah Needham
Traveling from state to state, Savanah Needham started her break by moving from Carlsbad, California, to what’s known as “America’s Finest City” – the sunny city of San Diego! With her brother-in-law deployed, Savanah and her sister had the house to themselves and relaxed on the gorgeous white-sand beaches! Savanah’s adventure didn’t end in California, however. Her family of four took a road trip out west and hit some of the country’s most popular national parks. From the crimson-colored rocks of Bryce Canyon to the green forest trails and waterfalls of Zion National Park, Savanah made the most of her time in Utah! She and her family continued their trip as they snowmobiled through the freezing cold winter wonderland in Silverton, Colorado.
Shortly after, Savannah packed her bags and went to the state she’s always dreamed of visiting – Arizona! Savannah spent a week in Arizona, where she saw Grand Canyon University and visited her best friend. The next attraction on her list was the stunning overlook at Horseshoe Bend, where she ran into two women from Samford she knew from studying abroad! During her travels, Savannah met many Zeta Alumnae and even furthered her relationship with her sister, who graduated as a Samford Zeta Alumna. Although Savannah had a fantastic traveling experience and what she calls her “peak,” Savannah remembers how scared she was to leave her comfort zone. She advises anyone nervous to travel to: pick a place, pack a bag, and hit the road! With her many adventures from state to state, we now know who to turn to when we need any travel advice. We can’t believe that Savannah did all of this even while studying for her real estate license.
Getting out of Your Comfort Zone
Name: Ashton Johnson
Off the coast of a tropical island in Saudia Arabia, Ashton experienced a different side of the world. She was treated like royalty by the welcoming people of the Middle East! Growing up with a father in the Navy, Ashton is accustomed to moving every two years. Today, her parents currently reside in Little America on an island called Amwaj. While in Bahrain, Ashton and her family took advantage of the warm temperatures. On Christmas Eve, they went horseback riding through the forts and the breathtaking downtown area at sunrise. Afterward, they enjoyed a delicious dinner at an Asian fusion restaurant called Monsoons. Ashton experienced adventure after adventure as she raced cars down the tracks of Bahrain and came face to face with camels in the wildlife parks! Much of Bahrain is composed of desert islands, and Ashton and her family made sure they visited the infamous item on their bucket list – the 400-year-old, ginormous Tree of Life that sits in the middle of the desert! Not only did she enjoy the wondrous sights of Bahrain, but Ashton also enjoyed seeing how Saudi Arabia’s culture compares to her life at Samford.
While the country differs politically and culturally from the United States, Saudi Arabia appreciates American food and even dedicates American Alley to the restaurants we see here in Birmingham! We are so jealous of all of the great activities and attractions that Ashton got to experience. Still, one of the most memorable parts of her story was how she managed to connect with other Zetas on the other side of the world! She and her sisters, who are both Zetas, connected with Zeta Alumnae from different chapters and got to know them over the break. She notes how amazing it is that you can be anywhere globally and still run into sisters from other countries! Ashton’s exciting adventure to Amwaj is a great example of Zeta Tau Alpha’s wide-reaching sisterhood, and we love that she was able to find comfort through her sisters!
Even though our members traveled worldwide, they still managed to find their home away from home & connect with ZTAs globally. We are so grateful that they agreed to share their stories with us. We’re dreaming of the moment that we get to experience some of the incredible things that they did! We’re so excited for the new year and to be working alongside so many amazing women, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming next!
Anna Haisten Williams & Olivia Lamb (PC’ 20 )