While I’m fortunate to travel all across the globe, there’s only one place I can truly call home: good ‘ole Georgia. Growing up, I went through an identity crisis where I hated my Southern accent, thought my hometown was too small for my dreams, and regularly Googled real estate listings in the Los Angeles area (I’m not kidding. I was one strange fifth grader). Now, that little Southern twang in my voice and the good-to-the-core hospitality and values that I learned in the South are some of the things I appreciate most about my background. I still get chastised by friends for saying “y’all” in the middle of Zimbabwe – just goes to show that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl 😉
I truly believe the place where I found myself, gained further understanding of who I am and what I’m on this earth for, was in Athens at the University of Georgia. Just hearing someone call the Dawgs or even seeing a picture of the Arch still sends chills down my spine.
When Bulldawg Illustrated asked if I would answer a few questions about my time at Georgia, I was happy to relive some of my best memories. It was on an infamous study abroad that I was bitten by the travel bug, so I owe a lot to my alma mater, not only for the education, but for the confidence to chase my dreams with a strong enough rooting in the character one inherits just from being in the South.
Here’s the original article, but it’s also copied below. It’s great to be a Georgia Girl – ain’t nothin’ finer in the land.
Name: Lindsey Epperly
Hometown: Columbus, GA
Current Town: Atlanta, GA
What Years at UGA: 2007-2011
School: Franklin College of Arts & Sciences – English Major
Family: No family of my own just yet! My wonderful parents still reside in Columbus, GA.
Profession: I’m a luxury travel consultant and manage my own travel planning brand, Vacations by Lindsey. I work one on one with my clients to provide them with customized vacations around the globe – from island hopping in the Caribbean to venturing on a safari in South Africa, and everywhere in between. My profession is one of my favorite conversation topics since many people don’t know that travel agents still exist – and those that do know we’re around are fearful that going through one will cost them extra money. It’s been my goal to educate others on the value of using a travel agent – I save my clients time and, often, money (never costing them more, that’s for sure!) and am passionate about the trips that I plan. I have more details, along with a travel blog that I keep, on my website:www.vacationsbylindsey.com. I’m very fortunate to have found a career that I love and I even get to test out the products pretty often with trips of my own!
Describe Athens in three words:
Best City Ever!
Share a favorite memory from your time at UGA:
My all time favorite memory at UGA was studying abroad at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. When I applied for the program, I was interested in pursuing a career in the film industry. However, as I experienced the ins and outs of the red carpet lifestyle and had time to explore France and Italy with my peers, my passion began to change. It was on an “accidental” trip to Venice when I watched the sun rise over the canals that I caught the travel bug. I knew I wanted to find a career that would allow me to travel – but not necessarily like that experience (which included an overnight, overbooked train ride and about 40 hours without sleep). I was actually offered my job as a travel consultant during a conversation about this study abroad. Just a few weeks after my study abroad ended, I walked into my local travel agency for a brochure. I didn’t realize I was talking to the owners and happened to tell them all about Cannes – they offered me the position on the spot. It was meant to be!
Second favorite memory, since I owe so much of my career to UGA: I competed in Terry’s Next Top Entrepreneur my senior year. I was the only non-business major and one of three girls to enter the competition – I walked in and the other competitors looked at me like I was lost. They were one step away from telling me, “Actually – the poetry reading is next door.” I held my head high and submitted my business plan for Vacations by Lindsey – by the end of the competition, I placed 2nd, which was a huge honor. The judges announced to the audience that the reason they were giving me 2nd place was because they felt I could run my business without taking venture capitalist funds. This gave me the encouragement to launch my brand, which has grown beyond my expectations in the past 3 years. I now serve a national client base, something I would’ve never dreamed of when I first entered the competition!
Band you heard while living in Athens:
I was in the Music Business program through Terry and had the fantastic opportunity to work under the booking agent at the Melting Point. While there, I suggested and booked one of my favorite bands, The Civil Wars, who went on to play two sold out shows during my time at the Melting Point. They were amazing – the audience was so captivated with their voices that you could’ve heard a pin drop!
A favorite restaurant in Athens:
I still crave my favorite meal at Last Resort – praline chicken and white chocolate cheesecake! If I lived closer to that restaurant, I’d be dangerous – I used to place takeout orders of just the cheesecake as a treat for myself after an especially stressful day. Or an especially good day.
A favorite shop in Athens:
My roommates and I lived right down the street from Entourage off of Milledge – we would take regular shopping trips together as study breaks and anytime someone had a birthday, you could pretty much expect a gift card from Entourage. I emcee’d one of their fashion shows, too, which I royally messed up. I usually enjoy public speaking and happened to get thrown an entirely new script right before going on and I choked! Probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life – but at least I got a free dress out of it!
One thing few people know about you:
I’m already living my dream job…but if I could do one thing besides being a travel consultant, I’d want to host a show on the Travel Channel. Watch out, Samantha Brown!
Favorite books and blogs:
The best book I’ve read recently is And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini – beautiful story and so well written. I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is fabulous so far – I can’t put it down. I only read a handful of travel blogs, two of my favorites are by solo female travelers – probably because I admire them for taking off on their own! The first is Adventurous Kate (adventurouskate.com) and the second is Passport Addict (passportaddict.wordpress.com) by Jane Okpala, one of my favorite clients and a fellow UGA grad!
Describe your typical Bulldog gameday:
I’m a girly girl and have always loved the tradition of dressing up on gamedays – I think I spent more time getting ready for the game than I did tailgating (and sometimes even at the game – I’ll admit, I’m far from sporty – but I do have a soft spot for my Bulldawg football). I lived with some of my best friends – many of my favorite memories were carpooling to and from the games with one another – we’d tailgate and spend the day with each other rooting on the Dawgs!
Share a tailgate recipe:
Brown Sugar Lit’l Smokies -warning: these are super easy and highly addictive!
1 Package Lit’l Smokie Sausages
I don’t have exact measurements, but you truly can’t go wrong making these – preheat the oven to 350 Degrees and cut bacon into slices to wrap around each Lit’l Smokie Sausage. Insert toothpicks into each sausage and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar – a lot of brown sugar. Bake until the bacon is crispy and the sugar is melted!