Sally Foster ’55 is a writer, photographer and author. She loves to cook and travel all over the world. Recently, a friend described her in one word: tenacious. She says, “Over the years, I haven’t made lots of money, but I am very rich in the experiences I have had and in the life I have led on the ‘Road Less Traveled.’”

Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My border collie. With the arrival of daylight, I feel a paw scratching my shoulder and, if I don’t react, all 27 pounds of dog are stretched across my back. I live in a house and I don’t have maids. There are things to do, and I’d better start moving. But really, I want to work on one of my creative projects. Usually, this involves photography. 

Q: What are the true highlights of your career?
I would say having four children’s books published by Dodd, Mead or Cobblehill (under the umbrella of Penguin USA.) Other highlights would be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the
favelas—or slums—of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Attending an Ansel Adams workshop in Yosemite, Calif. or having a photograph published as a double-page spread in a National Geographic book on lion cubs are up there as well.

Q: What is one obstacle you encountered in your career? How did you overcome it? 
One of the most difficult things was trying to find a publisher for my first book. I had put together a dummy with the photographs and text. This was before the days of computers; it was all done with actual photographs affixed to the pages. After several failed attempts, I found an agent who was able to place the book. I worked with the editor at Dodd, Mead to produce three more books. Two or three other attempts didn’t make the grade and are tucked away in a desk drawer or in the bottom of my closet. Not everything you do is a success.

Q: What lesson or experience from your time at Garrison still resonates with you? 
At Garrison, I spent more time in the riding ring than in study hall. One day, Ethel Hoffman, one of the riding instructors, pulled me aside and said, “You know a lot about horses and riding. Perhaps, you could teach or help some of the less experienced girls.” Being an only child, I wasn’t particularly used to sharing or going out of my way to help someone else. I took her advice and really enjoyed the experience. At the end of the year, the riding department gave an award to the most helpful student. I have that little silver picture frame on my desk. 

Q: If you could give a graduating Senior one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find something you like to do … something you are good at. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Many years ago, LIFE magazine had a section called: “Words to Live By.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer said something that left a big impression on me. One sentence particularly stood out: “Seek always to do some good, somewhere.” You have a whole life ahead of you. Enjoy!

Q: What are you looking forward to? 
My trip to Mongolia in July. It is not a photo tour, but I will take a camera and hope that I can capture some interesting images. In September, I am going on Kathleen Clemons’ flower photography workshop in Tuscany, Italy. We will also have a cooking lesson. I can’t wait. 

Q: Favorite travel destination or new hobby? 
I will always pick Brazil because it feels like my second home. The scenery is gorgeous. The people are warm and friendly. The food is very good. I want to return to the Pantanal for the third time and to visit the Golden Lion Tamarin monkeys in their native habitat for the fourth time. And I can brush up on my Portuguese. As the Brazilians say: “Se Deus quizer.” Or, God willing.

This article was originally published in the 2023 Garrison Forest Magazine.