A Golden State of Mind

by Gabbie Graham

When I was young, I always dreamed of traveling and becoming an explorer of the many of the beautiful sights the world has to offer. 

The Luckyday Program at Southern Miss has given me the opportunity to live out that dream when I never thought it was possible. I have now been on two of the discovery trips offered by Luckyday, and these experiences have truly changed my life for the better.

One of the other many dreams I had when I was young was to travel to California. After traveling to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon during the discovery trip my freshman year, I had gained a new love and appreciation for our nation and for traveling. When it was announced that this year’s trip would be to Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park, and San Diego, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to go. It would also be my second time flying, so I was excited to experience that thrill again.

Once we landed in the legendary LAX airport, I knew then that this was going to be one of the most interesting and exciting times of my life. It turns out I was right.

While spending our day in LA, we visited the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and drove through Beverly Hills. I was in complete awe of everything around me. The people, the scenery, and the attractions just seemed so fascinating.


Gabbie and Mark Gordon shopping along Hollywood Blvd.  – photo by Wisam Beauti


Then while on the way to San Diego, we went hiking in Joshua Tree National Park. I am no hiker, but I am always up for a challenge. I persevered with the help of my friends I had made on the trip and fell more in love with nature and the beauty around me.



Gabbie in Joshua Tree National Park pausing for a picture on the Barker Dam Trail.

Our final days of the trip in San Diego were spent at the renowned San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, exploring the night life of the city, and just enjoying each other’s company. From staying up until the early hours of the morning chatting and laughing to exploring the new territory of the city, we made the most of the time we had in California.

These trips have truly opened my eyes to a whole new world that I never thought I would get to see and experience. If there was one thing I would tell anyone to do while they’re in college, it would be to travel as much as possible because it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful our world really is.

Gabbie is a junior Luckyday Scholar majoring in public relations. 

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