Asia Monet Hayes (2018) Graduation and Great Ideas

Visit Asia’s Original Post by clicking on the title below:

Graduation and Great Ideas

Graduation Picture of Asia in front of Denny Chimes, Tuscaloosa, AL
Denny Chimes, Tuscaloosa, AL

Leaving Tuscaloosa is bittersweet, but I am overjoyed to be starting this new chapter of my life as both an Alabama graduate, and as a member of the Ramsey Family. With graduation behind me, it is time to kick my Great Ideas Tour (GIT) planning into drive! The Great Ideas Tour is a part of the John Fraser Ramsey Premier Award at the University of Alabama. The award honors John Fraser Ramsey, a history professor at the University of Alabama who dedicated his life to the university and the students.  GIT is “the opportunity to travel Europe and discover [your] own sense of possibility and responsibility within a global humanity.”

My journey begins January 7, 2019 when I board my flight to London, England. With one backpack, a journal, and camera in tow I hope to continue the legacy of Dr. Ramsey by embracing his joie de vivre!

Please check in for updates, photos, and news of my tour. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing this journey with all of you!

Vienna, Austria- Rachel (2016)

Posted 06/27/2017 by Rachel Ramey

My last stop of the Great Ideas Tour was Vienna, Austria. There was a cheap flight from Dubrovnik to Salzburg, and we arrived in Salzburg in the early afternoon. It was pouring rain, so we didn’t get a chance to explore the home of the Sound of Music, and find the beirgarden recommended by Kit, instead catching a train straight to Vienna.
John Harris has hosted every Ramsey Award recipient on their Great Ideas tour in Vienna. Dr. Ramsey, the man whom the award honors, bought John a Eurorail pass for his first trip to Europe when he was in college. John returned to Vienna after college, intending to stay for a few months, and never left. He worked as a trainer, then began to open gyms.

Dubrovnik, Croatia- Rachel (2016)

Posted 06/25/2017 by Rachel Ramey

A beautiful option for exploring Croatia is island hopping. We had a free day in Split so we bought ferry tickets the night before to go to the island Hvar for a day trip. (Alex and Elizabeth said we couldn’t miss it). Unfortunately, I got sick that night and couldn’t take the trip the next morning, so I’ll just have to return to Croatia to visit Hvar someday and go to Niko’s Place.

Split, Croatia- Rachel (2016)

Posted 06/23/2017 by Rachel Ramey

My favorite experiences in Split were the evening concerts at the courtyard in the shadow of the Roman ruins. We sat for hours on the steps of the plaza just listening to the musicians. It was a perfect space for dancing under the stars, although no one danced. I would love to return someday to dance in the courtyard. In all the hours I spent listening to the music, only one little girl, and one couple dance for one song each. It seemed like a waste of dancing space.

France and Belgium- Rachel(2016)

Posted 06/20/2017 by Rachel Ramey


We found the Manneken Pis, the famous fountain statue of a little boy peeing.  He usually has an outfit on to match the season, but the monument was under construction so he had no clothes. He is used as a symbol all over the city.

Porto, Portugal- Rachel (2016)

Posted on 06/12/2017 by Rachel Ramey

Next stop was Porto, a beautiful city on the edge of the Rio Douro. We took a bus up the coast from Lisbon to Porto, arriving in the city in the early afternoon. The hostel was located on a one-way cobblestone street near the center of the city. Following a tip from my friend Luisa in Brazil last year we went to explore the city and watch the sunset from Vila Nova de Gaia just across the river.

Lisbon, Portugal- Rachel (2016)

Posted 06/05/2017 by Rachel Ramey

the delay since my last post. I was sick for awhile, but I have finally turned the corner (I’m not taking as many trips to the bathroom) and I can post this piece about Portugal as soon as the Internet is strong enough.

Athens, Greece- Rachel (2016)

Posted 05/28/2017 by Rachel Ramey


After Santorini, we had 24 hours to spend in Athens before Kristen had to catch her flight home. We planned to make the most of our short time in the city to see as much as possible. We arrived on our flight from Santorini around 9am. We left the airport right away to catch the metro into the city. At the metro station, the board of departures said ‘strike’ next to every location. The metro was on strike. I’d read in the guide book that strikes were common especially on the ferries and busses. little did we know that the following day, the busses and ferries would both be on strike as well…
The bus took us directly into the city center. Since we had arrived early to the city and couldn’t check into our hostel until the afternoon, we stored our backpacks in the airport, and just took an overnight bag into the city so we could carry it with us as we traipsed around the monuments.

Santorini, Greece-Rachel (2016)

Posted 05/24/2017 by Rachel Ramey

One of the tips I got for my great ideas tour was to make sure I included some cities where I could relax and take a break from moving everyday from sunrise to sunset. Santorini was a perfect place to stop, take a breath and simply enjoy.

London-Rachel (2016)

Posted 05/20/2017

If you read the last blog post about Reykjavik and it seemed like there were only a few pictures or there were grammatical errors, I accidentally published a draft of it before I was finished. It takes at least a couple days to find enough wifi and time to upload all the pictures for each post, so I accidentally published it when I was only halfway done. Please go back to the blog to see the updated post with the new pictures if you are interested.