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Holly McCamant: GeoNerd: Finding new interests

Over the years, I have had many different interests. Some I have had and still have, like my love for dogs.

Other interests I had for about a year or so and then left me wondering why I was ever interested, like my strange fourth grade desire to learn car statistics from Consumer Reports magazine.

However, there have been a couple of interests of mine that have intensified to the point where they help define who I am.

One of those interests that has really grown recently is my love for learning about different places, their geography and about their culture. I’ve also gotten a severe case of the travel bug, a disease that makes you want to travel everywhere from London to Mumbai when you’re stuck at home.

This condition of being a geography nerd started when I was young. It’s rubbed off on me from my dad, who has been to 19 different countries. He’s traveled to a ridiculous number of European countries and spent two years in Senegal for the Peace Corps.

While he was there, he visited a lot of the West African countries. He’s been telling me random geography facts ever since I can remember.

The first time I can remember being interested in the location of places was when I snuck out of bed as a young kid to stare at the big Minnesota road map hung up on our wall in the kitchen. I stared at a lot of different maps and had my parents explain them to me.

When I was probably about 4, I remember my mom telling me about how we allied with Russia during World War II.

As I got older, I started to know a lot more about the world. I became aware of the facts such as that Africa has a lot of counties and that the west side of the Berlin had been decorated with artwork and the east side with soldiers with guns.

It’s not my fault that I live with a person who has been in both West and East Germany when they were separated.

My love for geography was sparked when I went to North Carolina this year, when I realized that I loved traveling. On that trip, I had so much fun learning about the culture there that I just wanted to go everywhere.

Geography is also a ninth grade class, so since I’m taking that class this year, my dad and I have had a lot of interesting conversations. I know that most kids my age aren’t curious about why Gambia and Senegal are separate and knowing that Pakistan separated from India before it was covered in class, but I actually find that stuff fun to learn about.

Now, because of my condition, I spend a lot of time reading the travel section of the Star Tribune, playing Hangman Geography and being jealous of the lucky people who write travel blogs while I write about how I wish I could go to the places they get to go to.

That doesn’t include the amount of time I have had extremely nerdy discussions with my dad about geography and begged him to subscribe to National Geographic Travel magazine (please, Dad!).

I would love to keep on writing about my geonerd condition and travel bug, but the Amazing Race season finale is on tonight and there is no way I am going to miss that show.

Holly McCamant is a freshman at Frazee-Vergas High School.