Last year, my father told me we were taking a summer vacation with his siblings and their sons to California. Naturally, I awaited the trip with eager enthusiasm; I had always heard interesting stories from others about California, and I could not wait to see my family again. Little did I know that I was to take home many exciting experiences and stories of my own. Additionally, I learned many valuable lessons while in this beautiful state. While on my summer escapade in California, I learned just how diverse California really is, I saw my family’s true colors, and I learned when and when not to use a GPS.
I had always heard from many people that California is, in many ways, one of the most diverse states in the nation. Mainly, I found out that California is one of the most environmentally diverse states. I saw a huge variety of landscapes. I saw the beautiful grassy valleys of Yosemite National Park; I saw Giant Sequoias that are more than two millennia old; I even had a snowball fight there—in May! There were so many different changes of scenery on my trip, but they were all equal in beauty. I learned much about California, but I also learned much about my family as well.
The California trip with my family had us all cooped up together for days at a time. We traveled together, ate together, and slept together. Previous to this trip, I had actually never spent more than a few hours at a time with my uncles and cousins, who live three hours away from me. This trip gave me the opportunity to spend some raw quality time with them, and I found out what they are really like. This can be seen as a double-edged sword—I had no idea that my uncle Steve was so naÃ¯ve and anxious. Yet at the same time, I discovered that my uncle Bob, normally a serious man, was actually a daring go-getter who loves exciting adventure. The time we spent together proved to be very valuable to me. I received the opportunity to gain some insight into my family. One thing all of us learned together, though, is that technology, namely in the form of a GPS, is not always the best way to navigate.
We were on our way from Yosemite National Park on our way to Sacramento one day on the trip when the GPS we were using told us to turn right onto a rather obscure-looking road. We were in a blithesome mood and decided to humor it. We turned onto the road and quickly found out that this was no mainstream thoroughfare. We wound up going on a one-lane dirt road in the middle of a mountain! To our left was the steep slope of the peak; to our right, a massive drop, with a myriad of trees populating the forest. Eventually, after about two miles of windy, rocky driving, even the GPS lost our location. On its screen was our floating arrow in a virtual space of nothingness. Needless to say, after yelling at the GPS and after viewing a couple of landscapes that could have come straight out of The Deliverance, we cautiously turned around and went towards the nearest interstate.
In conclusion, my vacation to California gave me much more than a mere sightseeing experience. I gained many priceless memories, as well as intuitive (and humorous!) knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I may only hope that my next trip somewhere will be half as enlightening.
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