J.J. GRINDE, MIDDLE, stands with one of the elephants at the Dumbo Elephant Spa.			        submitted photo
J.J. GRINDE, MIDDLE, stands with one of the elephants at the Dumbo Elephant Spa. submitted photo

      J.J. GRINDE IS AN INTEResting fellow. Though he’s young, you may already know him from any of several roles, whether it be as a local kid around town, working as an EMT for Ripon Guardian Ambulance or serving as the high school tennis coach for a couple years.

     None of those, however, compare to what he chose for the next chapter of his life. After completing his degree in December at Ripon College in just 3 1/2 years, Grinde decided to take that extra semester to do something special: travel.

     “I would have hated wasting my time at Ripon during my last semester and hated myself in the process,” said the 2013 RHS grad.

     But he’s not just traveling — he’s blogging his way across Asia. ...

     Parts of his blog are kind of like “Humans of New York,” but with much, MUCH more content.

     ... he talks about how he goes exploring Thailand with a group of Wisconsinites he ran into (“I keep meeting people from Wisconsin everywhere. Perhaps the freezing cold has effectively driven a large portion of the state off, or maybe it is pure chance.”)

     Two girls even knew the sons of Ripon’s Jeff and Jill Puhlmann-Becker.

     “Strangely enough, the more places that I have been able to visit, the more these coincidences occur,” J.J. observes.

     Together, they visit a Thai boxing match, go zip-lining and take in a tennis match. ...

     ... the next chapter of J.J.’s life unfolds beginning at the end of August.

     He’s joining the Peace Corps, and will be teaching chemistry to youth in Mozambique for the next two year.

     As J.J. wrote in announcing this development, “This adventure is just getting started.”

     To read the entire column, see the March 9, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.