My Trip to Mexico and Back

My Family Sailed From California to Mexico And It Was A Life-Changing Experience For all of Us

A life changing oceanic trip to Mexico and back.

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For a decent amount of my childhood, 7 years to be exact, sailboats and traveling were big parts of my life. My family and I would sail from our home in Olympia, WA throughout the San Juan islands and back every Summer. Sometimes we would even sail all the way to Canada. These journeys gave me beautiful and unique experiences such as looking out of the boat at night and seeing dozens of seals laying on the beach or getting soaked from head to toe by standing next to a large waterfall, but none of these could compare to what I experienced on my journey to Mexico and back.

The journey that changed my life began in 2011. I was 12 years old and my little sister was only 9 when my family departed from Swantown Marina, where we used to keep our boat, Pearl. My sister and I spent the first leg of the journey with my grandparents, where we watched hours of cable, ate tons of snacks and delicious meals, and prayed the rosary multiple times per night. Thankfully after a week or two, my parents had arrived in San Francisco and my dad flew up to Oregon to bring us back with him. We said our goodbyes and got on a plan to meet up with our mom and a few of my parent's friends who helped them bring the boat to San Francisco. We spent a few days exploring, paddle boarding, and just simply having fun, and then we finally began heading south all together.

We stopped all along the West coast of California, meeting new people and finding new experiences every day. A little less than halfway through California, we started seeing dolphins swimming at our bow every single day. They would easily keep up with our boat with just a flick of their tail, occasionally leaping out of the water. As expected, they would always leave eventually, but once when we went for a few days on the ocean without stopping to go to land, I was below deck and heard a squeaking type of noise. It was late at night and I had begun dozing off, so I dismissed it as just my imagination. Then I heard it again, so I decided to go up on deck and up to the bow. I peered over the edge, and that's where I saw one of the most magical images I had ever seen. There was a dolphin swimming beside my boat in the pitch-black night. The dolphin itself was just a normal dolphin for all I could tell, but what made it so beautiful was that it was glowing while swimming in the water. The phosphorescence was being activated by its movement. Everywhere it moved it left a short path of light. It completely mesmerized me. I quickly ran to the cockpit of the boat to let the rest of my family know, but unfortunately, by the time they got to the bow, the dolphin had already departed, leaving me as the only one who saw it.

We continued down the coast, experiencing even more stories like getting dragged underneath the dinghy (small boat) while beaching or nearly getting rammed by a humpback whale multiple times,and got to go to so many more amazing places such as Knott's Berry Farm, a fun-filled amusement park with the Peanuts characters as the mascots. But the most entertaining stories were when we finally made it to Mexico.

When in Mexico, I had multiple different types of experiences. Ones that made me laugh, ones that scared me, and sometimes the ones that made me cry. One of the most hilarious things happened when my dad decided to go into the water to clean the hull of the boat. He spent hours down there scraping the grime and barnacles off it, and when he finally got back on the boat, he felt like his ears were popping. He figured the feeling would go away later, but the next day he apparently felt the same. Later that same day, my family and I decided to go into town to get a few groceries, and on the way back my dad all of a sudden felt the ear popping dissipate. He told me it felt as if something fell out of his ear. After he felt that, he looked at the ground and BAM! Tiny crabs. These tiny crabs had been inside his ear the whole time and all of a sudden, they decided to crawl out of his ears. After seeing the crabs, my dad looked over at my mom to see her staring at the crabs with disgust, and when their eyes met, they just cracked up.

Along with those occurrences, there were many more, including horseback riding on the beach on my 13th birthday, and having the very next day rain so much that we were able to collect gallons of water by placing bowls and buckets outside, and so windy that our anchor came loose, and we started drifting. This resulted in us having to pull up our anchor, so our sailboat didn't crash into another boat, and our dinghy even ended up flipping over, almost causing us to lose it. We also encountered problems, such as when our engine stopped working on what we planned to be a two-day trip without stopping. We had to raise our sails and let the wind carry us, but at times the current was stronger than the wind and moved us backward, turning it into a four-day trip.

In the end, I had multiple different types of encounters at this point in my life, all of them affecting who I am today. Without them, it's possible I wouldn't have the same sense of humor I have now or the same interests. I probably wouldn't even be as close to my family as I am now because, without that opportunity, I wouldn't have had to spend as much time with them and would probably have been around friends doing whatever middle schoolers did those days instead. This experience gave me part of who I am, as well as a load of stories to tell the world, and it is something I would never give up.

Cover Image Credit:

Sydney Buelt

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11 Must-Go To Day Trips In North Carolina

For the wanderers and curious...
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It's finally summer, classes are out! There are so many things to do in this beautiful state. There are many small towns to visit. These towns are perfect day trips. From the mountains to the beach and everything in between, there is something for everyone! Pack your car up and get ready for a summer of adventure.

1. NoDa

This is a small hipster district right outside of Uptown Charlotte. Music and art paint this town and it has a very creative energy flow. Amelie’s Bakery, a 24/7 french bakery, is located in this district. There is always something fun and new to try in this cute, artistic town!

2. Asheville


This town is known for the beautiful scenery and historic importance. The Biltmore Estate is located here, and it is open for tours every day of the year. It is the biggest estate in America. The downtown area is very artistic, and the mountains make for a gorgeous hike. This is definitely an adventure you don't want to miss.

3. Boone

This small town has a lot of outdoor activities. It is perfect for hiking and whitewater rafting. If you love nature, this is a must see. It is a college town where Appalachian State University is located. The downtown area is very old school and for modern hipsters.

4. Crowders Mountain

This is located in Gaston County. Once you reach the Pinnacle, the peak of the trail, with clear skies you can see for miles. It is a quick four-mile hike for the short one, the view is amazing.

5. Wilmington

This city is known for the beachfront. It makes a perfect day to hit the waves. There are many beach fronts to visit, such as Carolina Beach. Cape Fear Ocean runs through this city. White sand, waves and the boardwalk. If you are a fan of One Tree Hill, it was filmed here.The small restaurants and characteristics give this town a vibrant energy.

6. Serendipity House

This house is from the movie Nights In Rodanthe located on a beach in Avon, North Carolina. It has been remodeled, but the amazing characteristics of this make it a sight to see.

7. Linville Falls

This is located in Linville, North Carolina. Attractions close by are also the Blue Ridge Mountain. To get to the main fall, it is about a mile hike.

8. Outer Banks

Small beaches on the outer banks of North Carolina have wild horses. Corolla Wild Ponies run free, and you can even take a ride on them in the water.

9. Sliding Rock

Located in Brevard, this rock is actually naturally made from a small waterfall. You can actually go sliding down it. It is in Pisgah National Forest also near Asheville.

10. Devil's Tramping Ground

This is located near Bennett. It is a 40-foot circle that cannot grow life. If you leave something or sleep in the circle, the rumor is it will be outside of the circle the next day.

11. Land of Oz Theme park

Located in Beech Mountain, this theme park that was once full of life is now closed and for the most part abandoned. It comes alive for one night a year for an event. This is definitely a place to take a night adventure to...

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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