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Westminster student broadens horizons through frequent travel

“I’ve been to 23 countries and 49 out of the 50 States,” said Cole Porterfield, an avid traveler and senior international business and management major. 

“I always try and have a bag packed,” Porterfield said. “I go on spontaneous road trips to Canyonlands and Grand Canyon, or I’ll go to New York with my friends.”

Porterfield said he is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States and is always ready for travel.

Emma Hild, Porterfield’s friend and University of Utah senior psychology major, said she loves traveling with Porterfield.

“[Porterfield] is always fun to be around and he knows a lot of places,” Hild said in a text message. “He is a big travel guy, so I trust his opinion on places and things to do.”

Hild said she and Porterfield have traveled to California a lot because that is where she is from.

“We have done road trips back to my hometown,” Hild said in a text message. “My favorite road trip was for fall break 2019 — Cole, our friend Madie and I did a road trip to [Zion National Park], [Bryce Canyon National Park] and [Grand Canyon National Park]. Then we spent a few days at my house in California [and did some tent camping and cooked on a camp stove].”

Miles Minshew, Porterfield’s friend and Westminster College junior theatre performance major, said he has known Porterfield since Fall 2018.

Cole Porterfield, an avid traveler and senior international business and management major, smiles while traveling in Grindelwald, Switzerland June 21, 2018. “Traveling makes me feel like more of myself,” Porterfield said. Photo courtesy of Penny Porterfield. 

“Cole and I met during [first-year] orientation at Westminster, back in the Fall of 2018 and we’ve been close friends ever since.”

Minshew said traveling with Porterfield is fun.

“He was always my go-to person to travel with when I would need to make a weekend trip back home to Boise, or even just a fun day trip to escape up in the mountains,” Minshew said. “He has [a wild] sixth sense where he can always tell which direction we […] need to go.”

Minshew said his favorite place he and Porterfield traveled to was California during spring break 2018. 

“I had never been to any of the Disney parks previously, so being able to go with Cole and a bunch of our other very close friends was such an incredible experience,” Minshew said in a text message. “I cherish it deeply.”

The following interview has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What does traveling mean to you?

A: Traveling, to me, is about gaining unique perspectives and appreciation for different cultures and things that aren’t normal to your everyday life and just being a more well-bounded person and experiencing things that are outside of your comfort zone.

Q: How does it make you feel when you travel?

A: Traveling makes me feel like more of myself. I feel when I stay stagnant in one place, I am not really doing the things that I want to do or the things that I feel like I wish I could. So, I feel when I travel, I definitely feel like the best version of myself and exactly who I want to be.

Q: What places have you traveled to?

A: So, I’ve been kind of all over. I’ve been to 23 countries and 49 out of the 50 States. [I] have yet to visit Vermont, but I’ll make it happen.

Q: Who do you primarily travel with?

A: Usually, I’m traveling with my mom. She and I have been all over together. And if I’m not with her, I’m with some of my best friends and we just kind of hop all around, do spontaneous trips.

Q: What type of spontaneous trips do you take?

A: I always try and have a bag packed. I know that sounds super cliché but, I really am always travel ready and I go on spontaneous road trips to Canyonlands and Grand Canyon or I’ll go to New York with my friends, or to Canada a lot cause I’m a dual citizen.

Q: Have there been any places that have inspired you while you were traveling?

A: Yeah, I think big European cities and just bigger cities in general really drive me to be a better person, be adventurous and go do things. And so, I think that’s definitely where I want to end up is [in a] European city probably.

Q: What do you typically do on long flights when you’re traveling outside of the country?

A: Two years ago, I had a 19 hour flight [to Hanoi, Vietnam] that was so boring; but, halfway through, they upgraded me to the first class area. And I never fly first class, but I did then and it was so much fun. They have these tiny, little rooms that you can stay in and it was super cool and very luxurious. I probably won’t be doing it again for a very long time, but it was really fun. 

Q: What do you hope to do with your major with traveling?

A: Using international experience and my international business major, I really want to take the best parts that I see from each country and kind of just bring them into my businesses, […] my everyday life and create the best version of myself and […] the community that surrounds me.

Cole Porterfield, an avid traveler and senior international business and management major and Penny Porterfield, Porterfield’s mom, stand in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France June 9, 2018. “Usually, I’m traveling with my mom,” Porterfield said. “She and I have been all over together.” Photo courtesy of Cole Porterfield. 


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Brooklyn Covington is a senior at Westminster College studying communication. She has fun in the sun and finds value in embracing her naturally curly hair. Brooklyn has a passion for fashion and loves being a pommy mommy to her pampered dog, Roo.

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