An interview with Chloe Loeffelholz, Development Manager

Carly (she/they) is a senior at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College studying Place-Based Ecological Justice, Knowledge, and Storytelling. Carly is currently traveling on an Adventure Learning Grant from Fairhaven College. Their primary focus is to meet and work with people who are protecting land and water from impacts of industrialization and the climate crisis in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.

How did your Traveling School semester impact you?

The Traveling School fueled my curiosity about the world that has led me to some of my favorite memories, people, and places. I became both more independent and community minded as a result of my semester. This combination has helped me build both a strong community and a sense of self.

In what contexts does The Traveling School come up in your life now?

As I study abroad on a self-directed travel grant, the memories and lessons from my Traveling School semester in South America feel close by. Even learning Spanish was sparked by my semester! I also trace my tolerance for long travel days, ability to make new friends quickly, and critical thinking about places I move through and my impact on them back to The Traveling School. 

Is there a specific lesson from your semester that sticks with you today?

One of our first Global Studies lessons was about the danger of a single story. This lesson taught me that there is endless diversity in how people see a place, a community, or themselves. Today, it reminds me to think critically about places I live in and travel to while considering what my own stories about these places are.

Can you draw any lines between what you are up to now and what was sparked for you on TTS?

I am continuing to return to the interests and curiosities I first discovered as a Traveling School student as I travel through South America learning about efforts towards environmental justice. I returned to Bolivia largely because of the fond memories I have of exploring cities and deserts with my Traveling School cohort. 

Interested in exploring more alumni stories? Check out The Traveling School’s 2023 Impact Report