Contributing Editor: Sandra Scott

Sandra Scott

Sandra Scott is the author of "What's Cooking in..." which has run in ITN since 2009. Scott and her husband, John, have been traveling and writing about travel since the 1980s. Since Sandra retired in 2001, they have been traveling seven months a year. Both are members of NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association), and Sandra is also a member of IFWTWA (International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association). Sandra taught Social Studies to seventh-graders in Mexico, New York, for 25 years and was director of the children's theater for 17 years.

She coauthored two books on the history of Mexico, New York, and helped start a state/local park on Lake Ontario (http://howardsplace.net/manorhouse.html). Sandra and John also raised four children, each now with at least one college degree. Sandra's articles have appeared in magazines worldwide. She was the travel columnist for the Post Standard in Syracuse, New York, and now writes a weekly travel column for the Palladium Times in Oswego, New York, and a syndicated roundup on Senior Wire Service as well as destination columns for several food-and-beverage websites.

Sandra wrote, "Having taught social studies means I am interested in culture, and cooking lessons are a great way to interact with people and learn about their culture. That led to my writing a couple of cooking articles for Copley News Service several years ago, with more after that focusing on regional recipes. "John does the cooking. After the first few cooking lessons, we found that I couldn't cook and also take notes and pictures at the same time. So if there is participation, he does that part."

Sandra has found a way to combine her talents with her dreams. She wrote, "Once a teacher, always a teacher! I do a lot of travel presentations. I am passionate about travel. Travel leads to understanding and appreciation of cultures, which leads to respect, which, I hope, leads to peace." In an effort to develop "an interest in the world within the minds and hearts of students," in 2001 the Scotts created the Annie and Blue cultural awareness project whereby with their alter egos they visit schools throughout the world and share their experiences with students. Then, as Annie and Blue, they write about the visits and send the articles to a number of schools. Sandra wrote, "Our visits are very informal. If the school is set up for PowerPoint (not all have electricity), we do a PowerPoint presentation. If not, we have a few exercises we do or it is just a 'meet and greet.' We have been to a school for the deaf in Bali, a Sikh school in Delhi, schools in the jungle. . . .

Sandra Scott and her husband, John.   

Sandra Scott and her husband, John.

"To set up a visit, we ask a guide, ask at the hotel or just walk into the school; amazingly, only once have we been turned down. We tried going the formal route, arranging it in advance, but it didn't work, as school officials were afraid we might have an ulterior motive. "I am a secondary teacher, but schedules for grades 7 through 12 are generally are very tight, so we usually end up in a third- or fourth-grade class, where often they are studying parts of the world.

"For students in the US, we tell them about the culture, history and/or environment of each of the various countries we are visiting. They love seeing the floating schools on Lake Titicaca, and they always react when they learn about the school where one day a week the students clean the school! "For the foreign students, we show how their peers around the world are studying the same things and like to do the same things after school. In other words, 'People around the world are more alike than different'."

Sandra added, "Some of my former students still stay in touch and have become compulsive travelers. One father told me, with good humor, 'It's all your fault. My son is working in Japan and my daughter is studying in Argentina!'" Visit the Scotts' website, www.sanscott.com, and their blog, http://travelingwithannieandblue.blogspot.com.