Tag Archives: travel blog

Why New York?

I love New York City with a burning passion. It’s the one place I will never say no to. Why? Because the possibilities are literally endless. If you want to marvel at the arts there’s a million places to do so, if you are a foodie check out the East Village, Little Italy, or Chinatown, if you want something offbeat to do check out the Museum of Sex or Enchantment, both offer a crazy experience.

This time around I chose to enjoy Times Square, the Museum of Sex and the East Village. The Museum of sex is currently featuring an exhibit called NSFW: The Female Gaze and it was one to behold, it showcased works from new artists that focus on breaking gender and social norms. Allowing for each woman to showcase her most natural self. My personal favorite artist in the bunch is Polly Nor, I’ve mostly seen her work passing through my Facebook feed but being able to enjoy her work up close was a great experience. In addition one piece of art in the installment that garnered some chuckles from my mother was Shona McAndrew’s Norah. She’s a large paper mache sculpture wearing nothing but I “heart” NY shirt, worn-out underwear, and a pair of gym socks. The small qualities of Norah remind every woman of themselves, such as her pubic hair peeking out of her underwear and her relaxed posture on her armchair.

After that we chose to go to the East Village to check out a store called Enchantments, it’s known for being the oldest witchcraft, unfortunately pictures can’t be taken inside but I was very excited to get a new personalized candle, it was inscribed with runes, my name, symbols, and my zodiac sign, as well as various oils inside. Mine was made with the intention to keep me safe while I travel. It was a wonderful addition to my home and I’m very happy to have it.

New York is full of wonders as long as you have the energy to search for them. Just remember it is the city that never sleeps so bring some redbull with you.

Snorkeling

If I asked you to draw blind hope what would it look like? Could you create a melody that sounds like the best moment in your life? If I asked you what it felt like to drive home, knowing that there is someone waiting for you, could you tell me? These moments, these feelings transcend the boundaries of the human experience. They are proof that this world exists on a deeper level than what we could ever imagine. These moments make up the world we were meant to see. So where am I going with these philosophical thoughts? It’s simple really. We need to keep trying, keep exploring, and keep sharing these moments to enrich our souls but more importantly, to inspire others to seek out adventure.

Snorkeling. With that introduction, you might’ve thought that I found a land that time didn’t command or climbed a mountain whose peak no man has seen. No. I went snorkeling in Cayo Icacos. My friend had suggested that we take a “catameringue” trip. I initially found humor in the name because it was so similar to the delicious lemon pie. It wasn’t until several weeks after we came home that I realized I was pronouncing it horribly wrong, apparently, it’s spelled “catamaran.”  Good start, but as long as we remember to keep moving forward, it will all be okay.

We pulled up to this beautiful dock, with boats floating on crystal clear water. After tossing our shoes in a bin (still not sure why we did that) my friends immediately went to the back of the boat. In loyal fashion (and because I had no idea what else to do) I followed. I’ve never been on a boat like this before. As soon as we started sailing away, we bobbed in tandem with the gentle waves, swayed with the breeze, and was graced with an indescribable view. Words could never really do it justice. Suffice to say, I didn’t know where to look, but was intent on committing everything to memory. It was important to make sure everyone else in our four-person adventure group was getting this same experience, so I kept checking in. There’s nothing better than seeing the people you care about happy (not even a view like this one).

When we stopped near a beach, Kelly asked my shoe size. I thought she was joking, then I realized we were going to snorkel. Apparently, everyone else knew this was happening except for me. It was all such a new experience, and to be totally honest… I never knew how people breathed out of the snorkel tubes. One pair of flippers, goggles, snorkel tube, and one quick lesson later, I was intrinsically part of this warm, blue ocean. I can’t remember how long we swam, I wasn’t going back on the boat until I saw a fish. After I did, I rushed to the boat to relay this information and despite my excitement, I was given the look. “You saw a fish” – Kelly. “One fish” – Shannon. “Your going to love the next place we go.” – Kelly. Fifteen minutes later, we sailed to another island. On the way, a bird got so close to the boat and flew with us for a few seconds. It may sound silly, but I felt like we were one of the same. Imagine that? When it was time to get back in the water, everyone started jumping off the boat. Super casually throwing themselves off the side like it was THE NORM. After a little encouragement, I did too. It was a little high, but jumping in is never a bad thing is it? Read close because this next part, it’s unreal. My friends were already swimming ahead of me, I got distracted by the views above water. As soon as I started swimming, a school of blue and yellow fish were directly beneath me. They were swimming all around, comfortable and happy at home in the sea. My heart at that point was too full, but then Kelly turned around (I had no idea she was even waiting) and gave me some bread to feed them. Honest to Pete, they came right up. They weren’t scared or apprehensive, just trusting and excited (how cool is that?!) We swam and swam, saw coral reefs, gigantic fish with vibrant patters, sea urchins, and fish with long noses. I don’t remember how long I was under water, time froze in that moment. When I did come up to feel the sun, I looked to the boat only to find three people already waving back at me.

You never really know when the best days of your life are going to happen. One morning, you wake up and fall off a hammock. Then you find yourself on a boat, in the middle of an ocean, on a clear day, surrounded by people with hearts of gold. It’s the kind of day you don’t know what you did to deserve, the kind of day you revisit in the hard moments, it was the kind of day that ignited a passion. So no… I didn’t peak an unclimbed mountain or travel down an endless river. I went snorkeling, and that experience in itself, was enough. More than enough.

Excitement and Expectations

It all started with a promise. A pinkie promise to be specific. I think we need context here, so let’s back up… not to the age of dinosaurs just to an age of change.


I’ve worked at the same restaurant for four years, watched the predictable parade of characters waltz in and out knowing they were never meant to stay. Somewhere along the way, this “authentic” Mexican restaurant became my home away from home, in some ways it still is. It became my comfort zone, and its bright, slightly tacky decorations were enough for me. But life has other plans, it comes at us fast and shifts the world beneath us until we end up right back at square one. These plot twists tend to leave us recovering, rebuilding, and re-discovering ourselves. At least that’s what I was doing when I met this charismatic, slightly insane bartender who would throw tickets at my face while speaking rapid Spanish. I had no idea then that I just met my best friend. Flash forward five months later, one too many beers, more than enough existential conversations (for Shannon anyway), approximately 500 hand hugs and here we are, at the bar making plans to go to Puerto Rico.

Traveling has never been my passion. Looking at restaurant décor was as close as I’ve allowed myself to see the world. So when I was asked to travel with my friend back to her home, I was shocked that I said “yes.” In hindsight, I think the initial answer was not so much for my benefit. I read about Hurricane Maria, saw news footage of destroyed homes and flattened forests, but its the stories that I heard were too much. Too much sadness but they were strangely laced with hope for the future and filled with love for a home that could never really be destroyed. So I made a pinkie promise.

As the countdown to the trip hit single digits, my excitement began to increase exponentially. Maybe it was the names in the stories that I didn’t recognize (Karen & Kelly), or the pictures of mountains looming over turquoise water, or maybe it was just the idea of going somewhere unexplored. My bags were packed, my ticket was ready, and so were my friends. Only one mildly horrifying challenge remained: the plane ride. I fully expected to kick the bucket at 30,000 feet, but I made it through (unless my spirit is writing this) with the help of liquid courage, plenty of hugs, and ocean sounds weaving their way through my mind. Before I knew it, we were in PR a place I’ve heard so much about and I was ecstatic. Then I peeked over to see my friend excited for an entirely different reason that had everything to do with coming home. That’s when I knew I was somewhere special.

The first sight I registered was a palm tree. I have never EVER seen a real palm tree before, I didn’t realize they were so tall. It seems quite silly that a tree so tall should have so little branches. Despite this confusing conundrum, I was so thrilled by its island like presence that I went right over to touch it. I guess we can check that off the bucket list.

My excitement was unparalleled in that moment, and honestly, it got so much better from there if you can believe it. I still can’t. Expectations are something else entirely, too great and we risk being disappointed. If they are too little, we need to question why we even bothered in the first place.  So what were my expectations traveling to PR? I had none, not because I didn’t want to be over or underwhelmed, but because I had never really traveled anywhere before. All I hoped was that my friend would be happier and maybe I would swim in the ocean because I heard it was warm. I’ll be the first to admit, I never expected this.