Funsherpa Atlanta explores the magnificence of Hotlanta with Keith Echols. In this feature, we learn about the amazing food down south, Keith’s inspirations, and future plans. From Salsa dancing to Hillbilly Handfishin, Keith shares his unique perspective on living life to the fullest.
Your blog has an interesting name, the Sojourner. Any interesting journeys to share with us?
The name “The Sojourner” has a couple of different meanings for me. The chief meaning and the main focus of my blog is my spiritual journey and travels. As a follower of Christ, I feel it is important to share my feelings in regards to my faith journey in the hopes that it will bring light to others and help them in the search for truth. Beyond my spiritual journey, my wife and I love to take the opportunity to travel when we can so I will talk about those travels on my blog from time to time. Most recently, at the beginning of July my wife and I went on a mission’s trip to Ecuador. It was amazing! It was so awesome to be in another country, interact with another culture and people, and most importantly share the love of Jesus with many people. We met a lot of awesome folks, ate a lot of great food, and had many fun experiences that we will remember for a lifetime!
What are your favorite things to do in Atlanta? What about your favorite places to dine?
Atlanta has a ton to offer to just about anyone. I encourage anyone who visits or comes here to live to find your niche and dive in! I have certainly done the touristy thing like going to the Georgia Aquarium, Six Flags White Water, and Stone Mountain. I have also done some things that are not as well known, but fun all the same. My wife and I met Salsa dancing, so very early on when we arrived, we made it a point to shake our hips to some Latin beats. Atlanta actually has a pretty lively Salsa scene! Piedmont Park is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. Some friends and I took in a Greek festival not too long ago. Beyond those kinds of activities it is always fun to find a nice place to share a good meal with my wife and my friends. I am a big fan of BBQ and my favorite place that I have found is Moe’s BBQ on 14th Street in Midtown. Another place I really enjoy is a Mexican fusion restaurant named Tin Lizzy’s. I mean where else can you get a Philly cheese steak taco and a southern fried chicken taco in the same order. To top it all off, Tin Lizzy’s has the best chips and queso I have EVER had at a restaurant! My final and by far my favorite place to eat in Atlanta is a restaurant called Tacos La Villa. The restaurant offers authentic Mexican fare at a very low price. The best part about Tacos La Villa is that it is in an old Quiznos! They still have the Quiznos tables and chairs and the “Mmmm Toasty” sign on the wall. So fun! So I say all that to say, if you are ever board in Atlanta…you don’t have a pulse.
What was it like growing up as a preacher’s kid? How did that shape your life?
I am the man I am today because I am the son of a preacher man. I am so grateful to my father and mother for raising me in a strong, biblically based, Christian home. I have always appreciated how dedicated my father is to his faith, but I certainly appreciate it now more than ever now that I am a husband and as I hope to be a father myself one day. What was it like growing up as a preacher’s kid? It was fun! I had a lot of good experiences growing up in the church. People have this perception that preacher’s kids are either boring or spawns of Satan. Both perceptions have been formed for good reason, but ultimately neither was my experience. I learned a lot about my faith while living under my parents’ roof, but what was great about my parents is they lovingly allowed me to be me. They did not make me become a Christian…they only thing they made me do was go to church. I didn’t mind going to church though because I made a ton of friends and I felt like I had my place. I eventually developed my own relationship with Christ and it has been awesome ever since.
You seemed to have lived in many different places. Can you talk about some of the favorite places and why they are your favorite?
I have had a lot of opportunities to live in many amazing places during my life. As a young child I lived in Japan for three years. I do not remember much about my time in Japan, but what I can recall is that Japan is absolutely beautiful! I would love to go back now that I am older. I also spent six years in Florida. For four of those years I lived in the Fort Walton Beach area and the other two years I lived in Tallahassee. Florida is by far my favorite place I have lived. Great weather, awesome beaches, fun attractions, and some of the best people I have ever met all were in Florida. I would move back there in a heartbeat!
What’s it like working with students? How has residence life changed? Where do you see it going?
Working with college students is a really enjoyable experience! I mean where else can you be an adult and get away with doing fun stuff on a daily basis. The students certainly keep me young, and there is never a dull moment. Residence Life for me really has not changed because I understand that this field is about constant change. Every day is different and every situation is different. It is odd to say, but the change has become a bit monotonous. Which leads to where I see this path going for me? Not very far would be the short answer. While I love what I do, I know that I am meant to do something else. I have a passion for orphan care and I am currently strategizing on how I can make the switch to that type of work. Time will tell as to where I end up, but for now I am content.
What’s in your bucket list? Which ones do you plan on crossing off soon?
If I am being honest, I have not fully fleshed out my bucket list. If I had to say right now the biggest thing would be to travel to all seven continents because as I said before my wife and I love to travel. I have most of them checked of the list but I still need Australia, Africa, and Antarctica. Outside of that, I have always wanted to go “hillbilly handfishin”. I would love to knock that one of the list in the next year or so!