Punzabo Winner Learns That It Really Is A “Small World” After All | My Family Travels
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The recipient of travelBIGO’s April 2009 Punzabo Award (and $100) is Molly Calahane! Her winning essay entitled “European Culture” explores the fact that the cultures of the world are not has different as many stereotypes would have us believe.  Upon landing in Rome during her school trip, Molly was expecting to be blown away by the glaring differences between her life on the west coast of the United States and the way Italians lived.  But what she discovered was different… just not in the way she thought it would be.  Molly learned it is a “Small World” after all.

A 16-year-old high school student from Santa Maria, California, Molly always knew that she wanted to get away and see the world.  Wanting to be in a larger city with more activity, Molly said, “[Santa Maria is] one of those small towns that, as a teenager, all you want to do is get out of it. The Central Coast of California is a beautiful place to grow up, but there was never really anything to do on a Friday night.”   But, despite that eagerness to move on, Molly is not one to deny that her hometown makes some of the best BBQ in the state of California!


Currently a freshman at the University of California Santa Cruz, 19-year-old Molly is adjusting to life as a college student.  Of her new home, Molly has no complaints.  She explained, “I really enjoy Santa Cruz. It’s a very relaxed school, with a lot of really interesting classes. The campus is beautiful and the beach and the redwoods are both in my backyard.”

And although she is enjoying college life, Molly is also very focused on her studies.  She is planning on majoring in Literature and possibly pursuing Linguistics.  Though her final career goal is not solidified yet, Molly said that she could certainly see herself as a High School English teacher, “I always admired my English teachers; in fact it was with a former English teacher that I went on my trip to Europe that I wrote my essay about, and I would love to be that English teacher that helps inspire someone.”


Until then Molly will just have to settle with inspiring the BIGO audience.  She is honored to have been chosen by her peers for this month’s Punzabo award.  Molly revealed, “It was really nice to see that people actually were reading [my work] and enjoying it.”

Since her shocking lesson in European culture, Molly has ventured over the pond one more time when she visited the British Isles in the Summer of 2008.  Of her journey Molly commented, “I travelled through Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales and it was another amazing trip. The hillsides were beautiful and my travel companions were some of my oldest friends.”


Anyone who submits an essay or travel journal is eligible to win a Punzabo.  In fact, some of you have won and you don’t even know it.  During the month of March, Lucy Yang was selected as the winner for her essay “Jamaica; not a beautiful place at all.”  Despite our efforts to find Lucy, we were unable to track her down.  Lucy if you are out there, or if anyone knows Lucy, contact us so your $100 prize does not go unclaimed.   As for the rest of the BIGO community, make sure you keep your contact information up to date.  That way when you finally win your own Punzabo, we have no problem handing you your well-earned check!

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! 

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