Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 15: A travel Story.

Picking one travel story doesn't seem possible, so I've cleverly come up with the idea to put most of my travel experiences into a huge paragraph instead.

I've been blessed throughout my life; I've been able to travel more than the average person. One of the perks of being an only child is, well, more opportunities are available to you. One of the places I've been is the Caribbean - my family and I went on a 7 day cruise when I was 14. I was so stoked to be going to the Caribbean, seeing as I was obsessed with Johnny Depp and the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (and I mean it when I say obsessed, my folder was covered in Johnny Depp pictures). I had an absolute blast. My dad and I took a sailing/snorkeling excursion while we were stopped at a port in St. Vincent (where I also bought my souvenir coconut turtle I brought everywhere with me the duration of our vacation - I was still much of a little girl at 14). I've also been to Hawaii (Oahu) for a family vacation when I was 16; Hawaii was such a treat for an ocean-loving person like me (I'd recommend going to the North Shore versus Waikiki, you get much more of a local feel there). I've been to New York City twice, once with my dad when I was 11, right after the Sept. 11 attacks had happened (I actually wrote journal entries to depict what NYC was like when I was there for my sixth grade class) and the second time was with the AP English Club when I was 15. I went with Caitie and we had a great time. It was our first trip together! We saw a musical (Phantom of the Opera; my second time), went to Times Square and Central Park (we saw the building Yoko Ono lives in!) and the Statue of Liberty (it started snowing when we got there, it was unbelievable) and Staten Island among other places. For senior year, the AP English Club (Caitie was president, I was treasurer, which is why we were so "involved") went to Canada (Montreal and Quebec). Honestly, that trip was the most fun I've ever had on vacation. So much happened, and at the time it wasn't funny but in retrospect it was hilarious. I really can't go into what happened on the trip because it was so insane, but just believe me when I say it was an experience I'll never forget. The summer between my freshmen and sophomore year in college, my family and ex went on a cruise to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Los Cabos) which was very fun considering it was my first real trip to Mexico (I had only been to Tijuana before then). Puerto Vallarta was definitely my favorite. We rented a car and drove up the side of a magnificent, wild mountain (you could see the ocean the entire time), and lo and behold, there was an awesome restaurant (apparently Predator was filmed in that area because there was a statue of one from the movie by the restaurant) that was built right next to an even more awesome waterfall! The best part was that you could swing from the restaurant into the water by a rope, and you could climb to the top of the waterfall and slide down smooth rocks into the water below. It was seriously the coolest thing I had ever seen. I did not want to leave. We didn't do much in Mazatlan, but we did visit some old, cool churches and have some amazing tejuino. Los Cabos was too tourist-y for my taste, but I did go on what is known as a "banana boat." It's this huge floaty device that can seat up to six people and looks like a yellow banana. You sit on it and hold onto it with your arms and legs with all your might (there are no harnesses) and then a motor boat takes you out into the ocean (we seriously went a mile out - at that point I was somewhat mortified because I knew there were sharks in the warm water and falling off that far out would have been terrifying!) Because you're going so fast over the swells being thrown off is a guarantee. I was very proud because we did exceptionally well and didn't fall off even though the driver of the boat was clearly trying to throw us off. I think it's mostly because I was so afraid as we got further and further out that my natural instinct came into play; I was in "Survival Mode." It wasn't until we were almost to the shore that I let up, and the driver swerved us into a huge swell and we were thrown from the banana boat with a force I could only describe as "^#@!" The pain was terrible. I was literally in disarray and felt like I was going to black out - thank God for life jackets because for a few seconds I didn't know which way was up when I was in the water. I know you're thinking, "Fun you say?" But it was, minus the pain of the fall! I'm kind of like those crazy people who get semi-hurt doing something really fun and emerge screaming "That. Was. Awesome!" We also went kayaking which was fun but somewhat scary. I completely flipped out half way on our trek to the little island (it was probably about 1.5-2 miles of kayaking before we got there from the beach) because there was a feeding frenzy going on about 20 feet from where we were. Honestly, there were seagulls going apeshit and tons of splashing and thrashing - I truly do believe there were sharks over there. And if you've ever been kayaking, you know how low the kayak is to the water. Flipping that flimsy thing over would be nothing to a shark. I started panicking and paddling and yelling to the extreme annoyance and confusion of my partner. I'm sorry, but one thing I am scared of is sharks. I love the beach and swimming in the ocean, but if I get a bad feeling or I see something like that I am getting out of the water ASAP. Too many seals in the water? Time to get out. I've just been mauled by a monster wave? Time to get out...maybe after the next one. There was a lot of thrashing 20 feet away from me? Time to get out ASAP! Other than my panic attack, Los Cabos was enjoyable. We also went to get breakfast (chiquiles) and it was the best chiquiles I have ever devoured.

The states I've traveled to include Hawaii and New York (as above stated), Utah (go to Zion National Park; breathtaking park!), Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida (only for a short while, I want to go to the Harry Potter theme park so bad!), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Maryland (I went to visit Vanessa at her school for her birthday), Washington, and Virginia. The state I want to visit the most is Alaska, and then Oregon (for Portland).

Of course, I live in California. I've been (mostly) everywhere in this state. Los Angeles (I live 45 minutes away depending on traffic; the mecca of concerts galore), San Diego, San Francisco (tons of times, once on a family vacation and a few times since college since my best friend lives there), Santa Barbara (I went to UCSB my freshmen year so I know the area very well), the O.C. (beaches!), Big Bear, Mammoth, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, and just about anywhere else popular or non-popular. One place I've never been in California is Yosemite. I love national parks and one of my life goals is to go to Yosemite and Yellowstone. I've been to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which is amazing - they have the big tree you can drive through there, which we did (Redwoods are my favorite types of trees). I also want to go to Big Sur.

This September my family wants to take a vacation to Canada, so I'll be going again which is great. There are a lot of places I still want to visit and experience, in particular out of country. But truly, I have been so blessed to have gone anywhere. Traveling and exploring new places is my favorite thing to do. Where will you go next?

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