The winner of travelBIGO’s February 2009 Punzabo Award (and $100) is Alison Koenig! Her essay entitled “South Dakota” tells of her first trip away from the United States’ east coast to visit her uncle. Exploring what felt like a completely new and foreign environment, Alison reflects on how very different each part of the country is.
Alison visited some of South Dakota’s best treasures, including The Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Bear Butte and the Badlands during her trip in the Summer of 2006.
Back then she was 16 years-old. Currently, Alison, who was born and raised in Saugerties in Upstate New York, is 19. Of growing up in Saugerties, Alison explained, “It’s just the right location for me. I’m not too far from Kingston and there [are] still enough places for me to hike and get outside.”
In her winning essay, Alison spends a great deal of time describing the types of volcanic rock at Bear Butte. She writes, “I learned that it actually isn’t a butte at all but a laccolith, formed when magma never reaches the surface in an eruption. It cools and solidifies into a mound that remains when the softer rock on top of it erodes.”
Her acute interest in the rock formations makes perfect sense, as Alison is currently studying geology and earth science during her second semester at Ulster County Community College. She described her future career goals, “I want to become a field geologist some day and maybe even go into archeology.”
Additionally, Alison is also an avid writer and a big fan of softball. She works part time at Panera Bread and is very happy as an employee of the sandwich chain. She said, “The atmosphere is great, the people I work with and even the customers are amazing and the food is really good too.”
Unfortunately, Alison has yet to have another travel experience since her awe-inspiring trip to South Dakota. But, she is hopeful that her next great travel adventure is right around corner in the spring or summer of 2009.
A twin from a big family, Alison is honored to be the February 2009 Punzabo Winner. She explains, “Winning the readers’ choice… means that people are interested enough to read about what I’ve experienced. I’ve always loved to write and explore so when I can combine the two and have people interested in them I just feel amazing and very grateful.”
Help pick next month’s Punzabo winner (PunzaboAward rules for Travel Journals) by rating all the stories you read on travel BIGO. And remember, you can be next!
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.