Exploring

  • Waving goodbye to my chaperones and fellow exchange students, all of the excitement that had built inside me on the 12-hour plane ride to Costa Rica turned to dread as I realized that my classroom Spanish wasn’t going to cut it.    My host family picked me up at the San Jose airport and drove me...

  • Skin blistering heat. River water moving as slow as an act of Congress. Disappointment after every turn from hope that we would soon reach the end. Our family’s much anticipated white water rafting trip was undeniably unforgettable, just not in the way we were hoping for. Having an outdoorsy army...

  • Red, white, and blue. Patriotic colors fly through the sky as we celebrate America’s independence. Scurrying out the door to enjoy the fireworks, the phone echoes through the empty house. Usually this call would be ignored, but an overpowering force turned me back to the recently vacated house. My...

  • Contrary to popular belief, there is more to the Hawaiian Islands than what is portrayed on a postcard. I myself had been to Hawaii before, but at the time I too was mesmerized by the commercialized version of the islands that is ingrained in most people’s minds.     It was my freshman year of...

  • I have visited thousands of places, dozens of countries, lived through marvelous adventures, but nothing will ever compare the amazing experience I had in Polynesia. I was sixteen, I loved swimming and I got to realize one of my biggest dreams; diving, and finally being one with the ocean. My...

  • There are those vacations that leave you with fond memories, and there are those that leave you forever changed; my trip to Assisi was of the latter. After enduring a grueling five-hour layover, a turbulent overnight flight, and poor quality airplane food, I arrived in this quaint mountain village...

  • It was one of those ideal days where the air was warm and thick, but a breeze blew cool and crisp under the heat of the afternoon sun. I was sprawled out over a boulder the size of a small car, and basking in the glorious sunshine way up high on a mountain peak in the Wind River Range. It had taken...

  • Shoes. Piles of dark, weathered, worn shoes. If they could speak, they would disclose secret tales, too ghastly to imagine. The leather-bound soles might sigh, weep, and hesitate to tell about the arduous roads they marched, and those souls who walked in them. However, that is exactly the point....

  • All the sounds fade away as the doors close and suddenly I am apprehensive, unsure and excited all at once. The elevator is packed with people who have come from all over the world for this moment. No one speaks and in the silence I hear their steady breathing. But we are all too preoccupied to...

  • Dictators have had a horrible history throughout the world, and although they are not prevalent in the United States, I found my life being controlled, not by a person, but by fear. My fear of doing things that made me uncomfortable, being hurt by others, and what other people would think of me...

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