Rachel Toole wants so much more from life than what Grand Rapids has to offer

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“I want to get to all 50 states before I die,” sophomore Rachel Toole said.

At fifteen years old holding a love for traveling, Rachel sets her mind to the future. While most sophomores focus their sights on close-coming events, Rachel looks far beyond her life in high school.

“If I don’t get into [The University of] Michigan,” Rachel said, “then I will definitely go out of state because I’ve always wanted a home to go back to.”

Rachel grew up in a family where traveling was frequent. Although her dad is physically unable to fly due to motion sickness, that has never stopped her family from traveling across the country.

“When I was younger, we would always go to Florida for spring and summer break,” Rachel said. “I thought it was super cool to drive through all the different states.”

Despite the fact that Florida is a usual destination spot for Rachel, her favorite place to be is Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

“[Gatlinburg] is so pretty,” Rachel said. “The mountains are literally gorgeous.”

Tennessee may seem like a random and unconnected area to some, but to the Toole family, the city holds plenty of historical value.

“My parents would go to Tennessee a lot,” Rachel said. “I would see a bunch of pictures from their trips. Seeing those is kind of cool. So is going to the same places they’ve been.”

The “where” in traveling plays an important role on every expedition, but the “who” affects the trip equally as much. Rachel’s sister, Kelsey, is an asset to not only family trips, but also her life as a whole.

“We are so similar; it’s kind of like talking to myself,” Rachel said. “It’s kind of like being best friends with myself.”

Rachel loves traveling with her sister so much that she plans to make it a common occurrence for the rest of their lives.

“I want to travel with my sister when I’m older,” Rachel said. “I want to take trips with our families because I think going on trips with big families would be so fun.”

Although Rachel is only a sophomore and is unsure of her future, she keeps a rough draft in her mind that sustains her motivation. Rachel knows there is more to the world than what Grand Rapids is able to give her.

“I don’t want to be driving the same roads my whole life,” Toole said. “There is so much out there.”

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