I was just talking with a friend tonight about the draft lottery at dinner here in Florence, Italy.

I was born, grew up and went to school in Raleigh, N.C., including of course N.C. State. My draft number of 10 was chosen in the very first lottery based on my birthday. After my student deferment ran out, I enlisted in the Air Force for four years rather than get drafted into the Army for two. Up to that point in my life I had traveled very little.

I was assigned to Korea and then to California where I am to this day. The lottery changed my life and exposed me to new worlds. Once I saw California I never looked back to NC and I became a travel agent because what I saw in the Air Force was only a taste of what I wanted to experience. To date I have been to 92 countries.

I am grateful for the way things turned out, although that was not my feeling at the time.