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  • Jennifer Wayland, Owner, Island Travel Group

To the SJO Graduating Class of 2018

In reading through the Spartan Times this week, we hung on every travel dream and decided to share some advice for our graduating class.

Robert Glazier, if you act on your plan to live in Jamaica, or even own a vacation home, you need to know my friend Steve Zindars from Fithian. Not only does he own property in Jamaica, you may just opt to call his little vacation enclave your home away from home and skip all the red tape!

Wyatt Douglas, I felt the same way you did, when I left Illinois to attend college out of state. I literally got down on my hands and knees and kissed the ground when I returned. Keep an open mind - see the world- and find a special place to call "home."

Mitchell Thompsen, we haven't been to Oslo, so we hope to learn from you when you return!

Jordan Turner, Bryant Gawthorp and Nathan Schuele, let your guard down and enjoy the peace one can tangibly sense after spending time in Japan, one of the safest places in the world, a place where kids can walk and take the subway by themselves to school.

Chase Stiner and Mark Maddock, buy your European leather walking shoes upon arrival in Spain, and sit at the bar in the restaurants, to meet people (the bar is about the food, not about the beverage.) Oh, and try all of the tapas you can!

Payton Smith, a man after our own hearts; Go SJO!!

Trystan Tapia, a man after my OWN heart; those little islands do exist and I know their tight little community will welcome you with open arms, even if only for your annual hiatus.

Tyson Skinner, it sounds like you live your passion for art, and I can't think of a better place to enjoy and share your passion with others. Enjoy Paris! If you get homesick, just drive out into the rolling hills of the French countryside, perhaps toward Normandy where you can visit your home land when you set foot on American soil at the Normandy American Cemetery.

Andrew Richardson, Kathryn Bigger, Taylor Cain and Chyann Hockett, there are lots of opportunities to live in Hawaii, even if temporarily. Don't wait! Often fresh college grads head to Hawaii, share an apartment and take service jobs such as restaurants or Uber, so they can surf all day, and work in the evenings. Once that is out of their system, often they return to live out their career and raise a family at home, with no regrets.

Elijah Place, Ryan Ferriman, Noah Getty, Bryce Haake and Mason Housenga, when you live in California, you will be so close to several of our most spectacular National Parks. Visit them all!

Skylar Price and Rebecca Long, before you travel to Australia, you need to talk to the Harper/Wendt family. They have an impressive background, having lived and traveled to Australia numerous times. Bailey is in your class - she can hook you up!

Allison Place, you are so focused; let us know when you open your business in Santorini; a popular honeymoon destination. We will recommend all of our clients!

Brianna Lilly, sounds like Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space program is for YOU!

Jordynn Loghry, Washington State is a smart move considering it is consistently ranks in the Top 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Courtney Kneer, we have lots of friends in Cancun Mexico. Continue to sharpen your Spanish!

Bryce Kelly, Ireland is the one place I have said I could live. Big tech and engineering firms are moving to Ireland all the time; you shouldn't have a hard time curating a successful career. You will make amazing friends in what I personally call one of the friendliest places on earth!

Hannah Hutcherson, Abi Burnett, and Bailey George, Bora Bora is one of the most picturesque, serene, places on earth, and it is sinking, so go as soon as you can!! I suggest incorporating a few days on land with a cruise to the rest of the Polynesian islands (while you're there), on the all-inclusive Paul Gauguin or a more interactive Windstar Cruise.

Miranda Hahn, If you decide to practice law in NYC, you should start a rec hockey league in Central Park or perhaps Rockefeller Center. There are over 100 adult hockey teams in NYC.

Anastasia Gordon, I hope you have the opportunity to live in New York, even if only a brief experience. You will probably need a roommate at first, so keep in touch with Miranda Hahn, or find someone with similar interests to share your experience with.

Emily Graver, try trekking Angel Falls with G-Adventures. I trust you will meet like-minded participants, and G-Adventures has a tour for every interest, budget.

Hailey Dukeman, our advice is that before you travel to England, do yourself a favor and watch the YouTube videos about what NOT to wear, so you blend in like a local. Armed with that and your own personal style sense, who knows who you will meet!

Nathan Elsbernd, it appears you may be interested in your family geneology; be sure to arm yourself and make as many connections as possible, using Facebook and other means, before you go. Germans are much more responsive when they know there is a family connection. Mr. Frank Krawczyk, M.A., is responsible for 60 historic monuments in south-western Germany. They include Heidelberg Palace, the Palace and Palace Gardens in Schwetzingen, the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, the Welkersheim Palace and Palace Gardens, the World Cultural Heritage site of Maulronn Monastery. He loves to talk history - you should meet with him during your visit!

Chase Earl, perhaps you would consider working in Vancouver, in the travel industry, making connections and enjoying the raw beauty. Then you can spend off-peak season traveling the Caribbean where Canadians flock for the winter and have much more time to share and bond.

Lane Demay, if you are joining the Army, I have no doubt you will make it to Germany. Thank you in advance, for your service!

Madeline DeJarnette, India is a very popular place to visit these days; more popular than ever. Take advantage of the multitudes of travel options, perhaps one like Contiki, that caters to 18-35 year olds. Go and start writing!

Jeremy and Nicholas Cagle, it sounds like you two should team up like the VagaBrothers; check them out on YouTube!

Connor Blobaum, follow your music dream, including your visit to a music festival in Belgium; it will be professionally and personally fulfilling for the rest of your life!

Alexis Adams, visit Venice and the rest of Italy before you set roots; and don't rule out Thailand for the same reasons you mentioned Venice :)

For more travel advice, visit us at The St. Joseph Travel Hub & Travel Club in the Main Street Mall at 109 N Main St., St. Joseph, IL 61873 or email

Jennifer Wayland can be seen and heard promoting travel, monthly on WCIA3 CILiving, as well as on her personal and business facebook pages: Jennifer Huls Wayland, Island Travel Group & Events, Island Bridal Travel, Island Family Fun Travel, and Island Corporate & Incentive Travel.

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