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Pursuing Infinite Possibilities: Stephanie (Benson) Garr, class of 1999

Stephanie (Benson) Garr has always been on the move. As a student at Eagan High School, she was flying high as a state champion gymnast, excelled at her academic ventures and explored her creativity in writing. Today, she is a world traveler and blogger extraordinaire sharing her life as what she calls a “digital nomad,”

After graduating from Eagan High in 1999, Stephanie set her sights on a career using her talents as a storyteller. She pursued a double major in journalism and psychology at the University of Iowa and graduated in 2003 with two bachelor’s degrees. She moved to San Francisco and kickstarted her career as a writer and editor at various music, travel and yoga publications. Eventually she landed a gig at Rhapsody—now Napster—as a music writer and editor. Throughout her career, she interviewed some of her favorite music artists and attended countless shows. But in 2016, her and her husband made a lifechanging decision.

“We moved out of San Francisco, put most of our belongings in storage and headed out for a life of travel as ‘digital nomads,’” she said. “We've since visited and temporarily lived in 21 countries and counting. And we're still on the move.”

From the Amalfi Coast to the bustling streets of Belgrade, Serbia, and down to Sri Lanka, Stephanie is taking her viewers on tours of some of the most unique places in the world. Her YouTube blog “Big & Small Travel” is a video diary offering first-hand accounts of her travels. Most recently, Stephanie and her husband were in Singapore and created a video detailing their fast-paced 24 hours. This year, Stephanie said will bring more travel and more time to use her creativity to share the world with her viewers.

Stats

A 1999 graduate of Eagan High School; B.A. in journalism and B.A. in psychology from the University of Iowa and is currently traveling the world sharing her passion for adventures and writing on her blog and YouTube channel, “Big & Small Travel.”

Fun fact

The Garr couple spent 2018 crisscrossing the globe, beginning and ending in Italy. In total, they slept in 41 beds and visited eight new countries. And for them, this was “slightly less” traveling than the year prior.

How did District 196 prepare you for life after high school?

“At District 196, I felt a supportive push to be creative, work and study hard, and pursue anything I wanted. I graduated feeling like I could achieve anything. It gave me the confidence to take risks and make some big decisions in my life that I have never once regretted.”

Which District 196 teachers made the biggest difference in your education?

“There were definitely a few, but I have to call out Heather Megarry, the Eagan High School gymnastics head coach, who was there with me all four years as a gymnast, and who celebrated with me as I won the state gymnastics competition as a senior. My time on the gymnastics team at Eagan was fun, challenging and inspiring, and has since shaped who I am and the way I approach both work and play.”