My boarding time had inched close enough to the present that I began to sweat a little. It was only after I had to remove a pair of shoes from my oversized travel bag at the check-in counter that I became nervous.
“See, I told you taking out the boots would help cut enough weight,” my dad said as he grabbed the pair of shoes I removed from the large purple bag. I rolled my now 50-pound bag through that little section of the airport check-in counter. I just kept throwing in extra stuff that I thought I would need during the summer abroad without thinking about the overage charges. Nearly everything in my room was able to fit in that mobile monstrosity. I had just enough time to get rid of a perfectly good water bottle and take a deep breath before stepping into the back of the airport security line.
It took literally getting hit by a small boulder in my left leg to check back into the “real” world mentally. You know, the one where people live indoors and are accustomed to interacting in spaces with more than two other people in them. The amount of time I had spent on my own in the outdoors allowed me to nearly escape the pandemic entirely. The hiking buff that covered my face reverted to its intended summer use as a shield between my mouth and nature’s most annoying flying insects (sorry entomologists). However, a recent hike with a friend helped knocked me back to reality.
I grew up in a predominantly white, rural town. Some people identified as Latino or Hispanic, but in every single class that I was in, whether it be dance, school, gymnastics, or karate, I was always the darkest one. There would be another Black person occasionally, and it wouldn’t be until I was able to explore more around town that I finally saw the rest of the community. The ones with darker skin like mine were, quite literally, segregated on the other side of town. None of the people I hung out with even knew about it. My classmates would even freak out when we got another Black boy in class.
Four years ago, I found myself sitting in the driver’s seat of my brand-new car with my best friend in the passenger seat. We drove from Southern California to Oregon, camping and visiting with friends along the way. What started as some sort of cheesy rom-com where a friend tried their best to reunite two old friends with a bit of history became a cheesy story of friendship that we still talk about until this day.
My best friend and I found ourselves, once again, traveling by car across the country. However, instead of heading north, we traveled east so that my best friend could move the last of her things to her new place in Texas. We traveled with two well-behaved dogs in the back seat of her newer truck next to our luggage piled off on to one side and a trailer full of nearly everything my best friend owned with her new husband. I didn’t need to, but I jumped in the car to spend the last few days that I will have for a while with my best friend. I was also craving adventure, and I knew that we were planning on seeing the Grand Canyon. Continue reading “The Road Trip From California to Texas”→
Nearly a decade ago a group of my friends and I decided to take a trip to Oregon. We would go and solve the mystery of our lifetime, up to that point, and enjoy the trip in the process. However, due to a number of complications, the trip to Oregon became an impossible thing, and over the course of the planning, we had lost friends and lovers along the way.
My best friend and I eventually made it there together after a long road trip from Southern California and kept blogging about the journey along the way. I didn’t fully know it then, but the trip that came on the precipice of a new beginning for our futures would change both of our lives forever.
It’s only natural that now, three years after the trip, the first car that my best friend ever bought would have Oregon license plates. I have seen it as a reminder of the trip and what we have taken away from it. There’s no doubt in my mind that we have grown and closer and wiser since then, and I’m sure the reminder is to keep progressing as both individuals and as friends of more than twenty years.
As we approach the final months before my friend’s wedding and the series of projects that I am hoping to tackle around that time as well, I can only think back to the trip as encouragement to do my best, leave my comfort zone, and continue moving forward.
It was once an obsession, a drive, and a journey both physically and mentally. It became a story that spanned many blog posts and a memory that I never want to forget. For some reason, the state of Oregon was a white whale that in time just became a shared state of mind between two people. It became a place that my best friend and I would share forever, and I’m okay with that.
Taking the time to clear your schedule and pack your bags for relaxation isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when planning a trip abroad. Thinking ahead is the difference between what could make or break a trip, but don’t panic. We’ve listed a few tips below for you to follow before you jump in the car or hop on that airplane and begin traveling around the world.
Make a List
Having that feeling that you forgot something as your plane is taking off for a destination overseas is probably one of the most nerve-racking feelings. Without a written or mental list, how will you know what you stuffed into your suitcase is what you really need or, even worse, if it is excluding anything? Making a list and then double checking it right before you begin traveling abroad will take the stress out of wondering if you forgot something, and it keeps you organized in the process. Continue reading “Quick Tips On Traveling Abroad”→
Looking for interesting ways to vacation without breaking the bank? Try these five staycation ideas to keep the summer fun going.
1. Go on a geocaching adventure.
Geocaching was first coined by Matt Stum on the “GPS Stash Hunt” back in 2000. It is an outdoor treasure hunting game that uses GPS-enabled devices. Those willing to partake get to navigate a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (a container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be found all over the world, so there are bound to be some hidden around your own town.
Just remember, if you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), the rule is that you leave something of equal or greater value in the same spot and then write about your find in the cache logbook by going to Geocaching.com. To learn more about Geocaching, visit the website.
2. Create a makeshift water park.
Forget heading down to an actual water park and spend way too much money on tickets and overpriced food and try turning your backyard into the ultimate summer paradise……Read More