© Megan Cline

After studying journalism and philosophy at the University of Central Florida in sunny, gator and tourist-infested Orlando, Rachel bought a one-way plane ticket, packed three suitcases full of shoes and bolted for San Francisco.

Rachel churned out hard news stories as a reporter and editor for a 24/7 Bay Area wire agency, primarily covering crime, business and politics. When the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts started taking a toll, she decided to leave the news desk behind to embark on an RV adventure around North America.

After five years on the road, Rachel ditched the RV for better closet space. She moved to Virginia to earn an MFA in creative nonfiction writing at George Mason University. Rachel is working on her first book, a memoir that uses coffee and cafe culture in the Balkans to explore identity and inherited trauma.