People associate a number of emotions with travel; however, adrenaline isn’t typically one of those emotions—unless you’re a Southwest Airlines Intern! On Friday mornings, before I leave for work, I always pack a backpack with the essentials for travel: a swimsuit, my passport, hiking shoes, and a rain jacket. One thing I don’t have? A boarding pass or a destination! One of the great privileges of being an Intern at Southwest is unlimited space-available travel. If there is a seat available on a Southwest flight, it is open to any Southwest Employee, including Cargo Sales Interns like me. With this privilege comes a major requirement: a go-with-the-flow attitude and a passion for exploration.
This summer, I’ve been fortunate to spend the majority of my weekends traveling with my fellow Interns. As July is Parks and Recreation Month, we’ve been especially focused on exploring as much of America’s open space and natural wonder as possible. Earlier this month, our enthusiasm for the great outdoors took us to Phoenix, where we rented a car and began our journey through the state. The first stop on our road trip was Antelope Canyon, located in a Navajo Tribal Park near Page, Arizona. The canyon itself has been carved in sandstone by thousands of years of wind and water erosion. The first room in the canyon is spacious and peaceful; the space is bathed in a soft orange light and individual particles of dust are illuminated in the calm air. As we walked, the canyon progressively became more challenging to navigate as we weaved our way through the undulating red sandstone. I think I audibly said “wow” more than a hundred times during our hour-long tour.
After reflecting on our experience in Antelope Canyon, we made the short drive to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to visit Horseshoe Bend, one of the Colorado River’s enormous incised meanders. Nothing can truly convey the scale of Horseshoe Bend: staring into the vast canyon is almost like peering off the top of a skyscraper, but the view feels slow and solid. As I look through my photos from that day, I’m reminded of the frustration I felt at trying to get the entire view into one small square.
We ended our day at the Grand Canyon, pulling into the visitor’s center just as the sun was beginning to set. We’re a pretty chatty bunch, but once we approached the canyon, our group became noticeably quieter. We found comfortable rocks to sit on and quietly watched the sun set over Arizona.
Travel is an incredible part of the Southwest internship experience, but it‘s by no means the best—coming back to work on Monday after a weekend of exploring the country is almost as exciting as beginning a trip on a Friday afternoon. In my time at Southwest, I’ve learned that I love this Company because of the People and our Purpose. As an Intern, I get to complete meaningful work alongside my Cohearts, while bringing our Customers closer to what they love every day.
If this piques your interest in Southwest’s internship program, check out careers.southwestair.com/campus-reachfor more information. Applications for spring 2019 internships will be posted on careers.southwestair.com from September 1-14.
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation, and conservation. As a national partner of Southwest Airlines, their work draws national focus to the far-reaching impact of successes generated at the local level. Leveraging their role in conservation, health and wellness, and social equity to improve their communities, NRPA’s members of park and recreation professionals and advocates are 60,000 strong and represent public spaces in urban communities, rural settings, and everything in between.