A new time, a new place, a new experience. My summer vacation could be described as virtually anything but old. The time zone was different as I was traveling to the East Coast from Wyoming. The environment was a new encounter as well, along with the more humid weather, so it is definitely safe to say this trip was full of firsts.
My boyfriend, Ty Bauer, and I set out on our own for the first time, free to venture a new part of the country for experiences that we would forever treasure and for memories that would last a lifetime. So, as soon as school commenced for the summer, our plan to get away was set into motion. Our destination: Ashland, Virginia.
Virginia was the place, summer was the when and and meeting Ty’s mother, her boyfriend, and Ty’s younger brother was my objective. Nervous, anxious and intrigued were the omni-present emotions rushing through my body when Ty had first proposed the idea, but those emotions quickly changed to feelings of happiness, freedom, and the wonderful aura of being stress-free. Three feelings have been hard to come by, especially since I have spent the majority of my life bouncing from hospital to hospital and undergoing test after test.
I have a medical condition that requires a heart and double-lung transplant that I have yet to receive and a moment without stress, a moment of freedom and a true peaceful moment of bliss is the greatest medicine the world has to offer me. So, as one could imagine, this vacation was much more to me than a fun experience. It became a climactic change in my life that eliminated all the negatives and stressors that my condition entails.
Ty kept my mind off of all those things and took me on a two week long journey of fun in the Virginia sun. My very favorite part of this summer vacation was getting the opportunity to view the ocean. Ty’ mother, Tonja, drove us to Virginia Beach on the fifth day we were visiting and it was a time I will never forget.
I walked barefoot on the scolding hot sand and felt the waves against my legs. It seemed like everyone around me was complaining about the fiery sand, the abundance of people, or the power of the waves, but unlike them, I found no reason to complain. I simply felt fortunate to be where I was and everything, good or bad, was part of the experience. I would not have changed it for the world.
I guess since my life has been one filled with illness, I know how precious even the small things in life are. I try to take nothing for granted and treasure all that I can. There at the beach, I was a normal unrestrained teenager. No one knew I was ill and , therefore, no one treated me differently. To the world that day on my vacation, I was simply Julie, not the sick girl. And that very aspect of my vacation made it all worthwhile. I was truly happy and carefree and for one like me, even a simple moment like this can save a life.
This vacation was life changing and exhilarating. Ty’s family welcomed me with open arms and showed me a side of the world I will never forget. Most importantly of all, they showed me what it meant to really live life for all it is worth, disregarding the impairments and imperfections one may or may not have. The only thing a person can do is live the best way they know how and because of my summer vacation to Virginia, I too know that way life can be.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.