“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.”
My career in journalism began around the same time I got my first car: a 1999 bronze Toyota Sienna – a minivan.
My car and I have a history. I was six years old when my parents bought the car to chauffer my two younger brothers and me around Miami. That van never failed us; I was dropped off and picked up at drama lessons, volleyball practice and friends’ houses. But it wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I truly appreciated the legacy sitting in the driveway.
At age 16, I earned my drivers license and inherited the decade-old car. It brought me to my first day on my high school’s newspaper staff. From there, it drove me to Miami’s Community Newspapers headquarters to ask about writing a monthly column from a teen’s perspective. It carried me to The Miami Herald for my first interview with three of the paper’s top editors – and every day of work at One Herald Plaza for the next two years.
My car lugged all my belongings to the University of Florida where I worked my way up to staff writer status covering Student Government at the Independent Florida Alligator, the nation’s largest student-run independent newspaper. It dropped me off at the curbside of Miami International Airport when I flew to New Orleans to participate in the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, where I reported extensively on the Times-Picayune cutbacks, earning the front-page spot.
More than 150,000 miles later, my minivan has taught me the importance of how to be unassuming, how to be accommodating, and how to be reliable and loyal. How to keep driving through all of life’s expressways, speed bumps, and stop signs. It has aged as much as I have.