Addiction… to alcohol makes you unreliable as it slowly eats away at your liver… to cigarettes makes you smell awful and slowly kills you… to cocaine makes you insane and slowly kills you. Traveling… now traveling may consume your paycheck, but the side affects are much more captivatingly extraordinary. I am by far a lucky person to have only been drawn in by the latter. When I’m not hiking through unstable terrain, city stomping to the nearest taco truck or meeting exuberant individuals, I feel an itching boredom creep into my veins. An itch that can ony be satiated by sunsets in foreign cities.
*8 years old*
Giggling with Sawyer, we were thrown side to side in the charter boat as our parents looked like they would soon vomit. They didn’t seem to enjoy the short trip from the cruise ship to the shore as he and I did. We were pirates! Honing in on our treasure with each dip of the waves. The day ashore was spent snorkeling for starfish in the crystal water, tubing down cavernous rivers with colorful fish and exploring the markets of Cancún. Eight days of brilliant sun, white sand and unforgettable adventures as we bounced around ports of Mexico and Honduras, loving every moment of it, never wanting to leave, not knowing I had already caught the travel bug.
*10 years old*
Everyone seems so happy here! I remember thinking as bells, whistles, dings, shouts and flashing lights engulfed the scene in front of us. Everyone was very happy. And very drunk. Las Vegas is yet a place I have revisited since I have become old enough to actually participate, but as a child, it is a wonderous place. The myriad of colorful lights up and down the strip made it seem like a different world. We saw spectacular shows, ate loads of candy, screamed on roller coasters and played arcade games until bedtime in our pyramid hotel, the Luxor. I even got in it with the authorities for standing too close to my mom while she played on a slot machine, so I kinda did it right.
*12 years old*
The sun felt so good. Tanning was really nice. It used to be boring, but I get it now. Bellies full of virgin piña coladas and hair full of sand, Ellie and I lay on our backs soaking in vitamin D. My sister was “watching” us and the parents were off somewhere… doing something, but we didn’t care. How could you, when you were this relaxed? Riviera Maya is such a gorgeous destination. My highlights I remember here consist of unlimited ice cream, hanging with my best friend, cousins, sister, parents, aunts and uncles, parasailing for the first time and almost burning down a restaurant. Aaaah. Good times. After trips to Mexico, Destin and Mustang Island, beaches (really any body of water) were definitely becoming my favored spots. Thanks mom and dad!
*13 years old*
What is that smell…..Ouch! These people are mean! I pulled my Hollister jacket back onto my shoulder after someone had very rudely bumped into me, without saying sorry. My… how many people you have. My… how tall your buildings are. My… how great your shopping is! New York City was a whirlwind of emotions. I hated it and loved it. Five days were definitely not enough to experience all the city has to offer, but we squeezed in the wax museum, Central Park, the Empire State Building, Times Square and China Town. I was clearly impressed by all the city had to offer. I’d be back, but for now, we had to go meet family in Schenectady. We ate bagels and lox and hiked through the mountains. Our stay in a cabin in the woods made me appreciate how heart-warming nature can be… the way the trees and rain intensify the purity of the air… the way the deadening silence can be so peaceful it makes you want to cry. The extreme paradox from the bustle of the city to this stillness made me love it all the more.
*15 years old*
“Fifteen? That’s the same age as my younger sister…” This fine fellow I’d been speaking with finally asked my age. He was twenty and clearly not happy I was not. Apologizing, he swam away. I couldn’t give two figs, though, because I was back in my happy place… my sandy, salty, sunny happy place. Mazatlán is a paradise many don’t know about. The locals are kind, the coffee is delicious and the shopping is phenomenal, not to mention the stunning beaches – my favorite. I experienced a lot of firsts here… the most memorable being the first time I got drunk. Oh boy. Were my parents beyond the land of pissed. It was just too easy as my eighteen year old sister and I were together the whole time, and all we had to do was charge it to the room… “How old are you, miss?” “Oh, dieciocho.” Flash a smile. Done. Piña coladas and screwdrivers for dayyysssss. Mexico was always a fun time, when it was more safe.
*18 years old*
I’ll give you one guess. Yep. Beach! Senior trip to Hawaii for two weeks with my two best friends. Waikiki Beach is baffling in all its beauty. This whole trip we were going, going, going. We explored North Shore where we ate massive ice cream snow cones at Matsumoto’s, searched for sea turtles and were thrown around by the strong waves. We splurged and bought matching rings made from the corals found in the nearby ocean. We drank too many virgin piña coladas wishing we could have some Captain Morgan rum. We danced during vibrant sunset in grass skirts at a luau on a beach as we ate roasted pig, fresh pineapple and Haupia (a common dessert made with fresh coconut milk). Writing this now makes me want to go back. Back to a place where you don’t care that you have sand everywhere. To a place where the stars shine brighter and the air smells of salt.
College stripped me of my freedom to travel. When I wasn’t in class listening to professors drone on about things I would never need to know, I was working as a server in a restaurant. When I wasn’t slinging food and drink, I was at the gym trying to keep myself fit (Freshman 15 am I right?). I was bored. I was itching. After two years of work and school and school and work, I found my opportunity. I felt my breath catch and a smile spread across my face as I saw my next adventure laying before me.
~To be continued~