Traveling with 14 people is not exactly easy, but in my family, we don’t like to leave anyone behind, so once a year the entire extended family takes a vacation together. Last year, we all went on a Caribbean cruise, but we stayed in Miami, Florida for two days before the cruise began. The worst part about traveling with so many people has to be finding a way to transport everyone from place to place. As we left the local California Pizza Kitchen after dinner on the first evening, we felt the unusual cool weather that had settled into Miami for the night and decided that we would take cabs back to the stunning hotel that we were staying at. Because we were not dressed to be out in the cold for long, we all just piled into whichever cab we felt like instead of dividing evenly. I ended up in a cab with two of my siblings, two of my cousins, my uncle, and both of my grandparents.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
As the cab left the restaurant, we quickly realized that our driver had no idea where he was going, and since we weren’t from Miami, we weren’t much help to him at all. Before long, we were no longer on the ritzy streets with gorgeous views that everyone thinks of when they imagine Miami, but instead in parts of the city that nearly gave my grandparents heart attacks. My uncle tried to talk to the cab driver and find out what his plan for getting us safely back to the hotel was, and after a while, we realized that the cab driver really didn’t have much of an idea of how to get us back to our hotel. After a lot of panicking from my family, we finally managed to get the cab driver to pull into a gas station, where we called my parents, who had gotten into a different cab. My parents had their cab driver turn around and come and find us so that we could follow their cab back to the Holiday Inn that we were staying at. As if to put icing on the cake of a bad taxi ride, the driver began playing completely inappropriate rap music on the way back to the hotel, right of in front of my horrified grandparents.
Upon arriving back at the hotel, my grandma began exaggerating the story into what sounded like a kidnapping. My mom was very concerned and asked me if I was scared, and I realized that at no point during the entire experience had I truly been afraid. The experience made me realize that the magic of traveling isn’t just seeing the differences between one place and the next, but discovering that you can feel safe anywhere as long as you’re with people that you love. It’s like the old saying, “home is where the heart is”. I’m not saying that anyone could have found a sense of home in that taxi, but my heart will always be safe with my family, and no matter where I am in the world, as long as my family is with me, I’ll always have that magic feeling that I can do anything.
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