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Textbook traveler

Sedgebrook woman gets global education

Created date

April 26th, 2010
Verie Sandborg always thought she would pursue a Ph.D. when she retired. But after getting a taste of international travel through her job, she took an educational journey of a different sort. Instead of learning about the world from books, she decided she would see it for herself. [caption id="attachment_11602" align="alignright" width="167" caption="Verie Sandborg (Submitted photo)"][/caption] To date, Sandborg, a resident atSedgebrookin Lincolnshire, Ill., has visited 32 countries and 40 U.S. states. An adventurer to say the least, Sandborg is not just lounging on beaches and strolling in museums. I call it travel and not vacation because it s like taking a class, she says. She has hiked to the breathtaking Iguassu Falls that straddle the Brazilian- Argentinian border, spent the night in an authentically recreated Zulu village, and was once charged by an elephant on safari in South Africa s Kruger National Park. That worked out okay because I m here to tell about it, Sandborg says with a laugh.

The start of a world tour

[caption id="attachment_11603" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Tunisia (Submitted photo)"][/caption] While working as an environmental and sustainability executive at Baxter International, Sandborg traveled extensively. Since retiring, she s continued to make her way around the globe. In 2000, after her daughter s graduation from law school and her son s completion of his Ph.D., the family took a trip to Italy to celebrate. Just about every year since then, Sandborg has taken at least one trip abroad, usually with her daughter. Sometimes she schedules a second international adventure with friends. Over the years, Sandborg says she has learned a great deal about history and different cultures. On a visit to England, she was particularly touched by the Coventry Cathedral, which was bombed in World War I and later rebuilt. Resurrection of the cathedral began the day after the bombing not as an act of defiance, but rather a sign of faith, trust, and hope for the future of the world, according to the cathedral s website. I was so moved by how they could come back from that, Sandborg says. One of her favorite countries is Tunisia, where Sandborg was impressed by the people and the country s long history of promoting human rights and economic development. [caption id="attachment_11600" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Stonehenge (Submitted photo)"][/caption] When it comes to dining abroad, her top pick is China. As a vegetarian, she says Chinese cuisine offers her more choices than she is able to find in many other countries.

The history in our own backyard

While she has logged more than a few frequent flier miles exploring the globe, Sandborg says there are plenty of opportunities to get a deeper understanding of our nation s history right here in the U.S. She counts the Civil Rights Museum in Alabama among her favorites. I was very touched by that and by what people had gone through to get where we are now, she says of what she learned at the museum. It was a beautiful place and engaged your emotions. [caption id="attachment_11601" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Verie Sandborg dances to samba music in front of a train-car full of passengers while the train descends Corcovado mountain in Brazil. (Submitted photo)"][/caption] Just a few hours drive from Chicagoland, the Lincoln Memorial Museum in Springfield, Ill., is another one of Sandborg s top travel destinations. While the museum provides plenty of historical facts and relics, Sandborg says what she appreciates is its ability to conjure the spirit of the 1860 Presidential election.

Using technology to document her travels

Sandborg doesn t usually collect a lot of souvenirs (except for pillow covers, which she says are easy to pack and add a global flavor to her home s d cor), but she has always taken plenty of photos and kept journals of her adventures. As family and friends became increasingly eager to hear about Sandborg s travels, the tech-savvy retiree decided to start a blog, where she archives her photographs and written memories. I ve developed a new skill that I didn t think about earlier, she says. I had already been writing up things in my journals, and it seemed like a natural thing to do next. Sandborg says her globe-trotting is far from over. She s currently planning a trip to Egypt with her son and daughter. Australia, Sweden, Norway, and Cambodia are all on her must-see travel list. And, she says, I also would love to get back to Africa to do a safari again. I just want it all! To read more about Sandborg s travel adventures, visit her blog at