“All aboard!” Climbing the ramp toward the ship, I lugged along a large suitcase, packed tight with every vacation necessity: sunscreen, swimsuits, and sandals. I had it all! Yet, I didn’t know what was to come of my first experience among the Caribbean waves. Of course, the following week I came home with a slightly bigger suitcase, full of historic culture, self-accomplishment, and family memories that will last forever.
Our adventure began on Christmas Day as my brother and I dug through a huge box of random items, which in turn became clues to the final surprise: a cruise for four. With departure set for the fourteenth of February, a calendar countdown was immediately in progress. As the day drew closer, I could hardly stand the excitement. In fact, the night before our flight to Miami was like Christmas Eve all over again! After hours of travel, we had finally made it to port. I stood in amazement as the gigantic boat towered over me. It was like a city on water. My dream had finally come to life!
With so much to do in such a small amount of time, my mom made sure that everything was scheduled with perfection. Picture by picture, we gathered memories that will live beyond the vacation. Our first expedition included a spectacular tour of the Ancient Mayan Ruins in Mexico. Among a diverse group of travelers, we examined the remains of an incredible historic civilization. Experiencing the life in another country such as Mexico, was a definite eye opener in understanding that my country is extremely blessed. Observing another culture, first hand, increased my admiration for those in poverty around the world and has indeed helped me remember to be grateful for the life I have.
The next destination was Grand Cayman, where we played all day long under the sun. My family beheld a beautiful overlook of the island as we sailed high behind a boat racing along the coast. With the wind in my face and an exhilarating rush of adrenaline, I could hardly hold back a grin. That day I felt a sense of accomplishment after overcoming an inner fear of flying above a bottomless ocean. As my life motto states, “You’ll never know until you try it!” For each and every experience in life is another building block upon my own self-confidence.
“Jamaica, No Problems” concluded our week of exquisite exploration. Our personal encounter with dolphins was an experience of a lifetime, as I had never acquainted so closely with a sea animal. In under an hour, I already felt a strong connection with the dolphins and found it difficult to leave them behind, but we had another adventure waiting ahead. The famous Dunns River Falls is a known landmark of Jamaica. Climbing a total of 600 feet to the top, the incline represents a journey of obstacles to be overcome by unity. Holding hands and shouting encouragement, we helped each other reach an ultimate goal. This remarkable simulation built a special trust between my family that can never be broken.
A vacation, no matter where, is only what you make of it. With an open mind, you may come home with more than just a suitcase of items. I learned so much about the world, my family, and myself while aboard a simple escape from home. The breathtaking view of the sunset, glistening upon a blue sheet of water extending in every direction, can never be replaced. For this, I must express my deepest appreciation to my incredible parents for an adventure of a lifetime.
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