Did you ever want to ride on the back of an elephant while enjoying an African Safari? Did you ever want to bask in the mist of Victoria Falls. This Waynedale woman decided to live the dream.
Sharon Amick grew up on Maplewood Drive in Waynedale. Her parents, Marion and Virginia Amick have lived and worked in Waynedale. Sharon went to Maplewood Elementary School, Miami Middle School and then graduated Valedictorian from Wayne High School in 1989. She applied to Stanford University. "I had a list of colleges that I knew I could attend, but my dream college was Stanford. I applied there, but I really didn't expect to get in." To her amazement, she was accepted. She moved to California and began college, majoring in Human Biology and Child Psychology. She graduated in 1993.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. While Sharon was still attending Stanford, she met a friend that told her about Calcutta and an orphanage, Shihu Bhavan, where Mother Theresa worked. Sharon decided she wanted to go there and do volunteer work. She was there 3 months, from mid-September to mid-December 1993.
We sat and talked in the living room of her parent's house on Maplewood Road. Her parents were radiating smiles of approval as Sharon talked of her adventures in Calcutta. Sharon sat on the couch with her legs tucked under her, expressing her feelings with the movements of her hands and the comfortable body language of a self-assured woman.
"What a shock it was to get off the airplane and step back into a third world country like India. We took a taxi to the orphanage and beggars surrounded our vehicle. Everything was just so different than the United States."
Rod King submitted a story to The Waynedale News on Sharon in the October 13, 1993 issue titled "1989 Wayne Valedictorian works for Mother Teresa." In that article Sharon expressed her fondness to travel and explore exciting places. "The local food in Calcutta consisted of dahl, which is a type of bean soup, and shapati, which is a wheat & water mixture. Men pulled rickshaw taxis and while I was there I met other travelers and learned of other exotic places that were awaiting my discovery."
Sharon went back to Stanford and finished her Masters degree in Sociology. After college she went to work at Oracle, which is the second largest software company in the country. She worked in human resources for five years and in 1998 she and two other women decided to take a leave of absence and spent 5 months exploring South America.
Sharon changed jobs in 2000 and worked for the Kadiri Company, in pre-sales and management resources. In 2002 she traveled to New Zealand for 25 days and in 2003 she asked for a leave of absence to travel to Africa. The company wouldn't go for it. "I think they were afraid of setting a company precedent. We parted on good terms and I may go back there when I get finished traveling."
While in South Africa she went on a Safari, did bungi jumping, visited Victoria Falls, and went down in a shark cage to watch Great Whites. She went whitewater rafting on the Zambezi, and visited with mountain gorillas. Sharon said that the activities were expensive, but the accommodations were as little as ten dollars per night. "Africa is well suited for backpacking travelers and I often stay in inexpensive dorms. I met other travelers along the way from all over the world and we often had similar goals and dreams."
Sharon was getting ready to fly from Waynedale back to San Jose. She was meeting her boyfriend and then she plans on traveling through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. She will be gone until December 19th. Sharon agreed to share some of her travel adventures with us. If you want to know what it is like to ride on the back of an elephant or bask in the mist of Victoria Falls, stay tuned to The Waynedale News for a series of articles on Sharon's adventures.