Since I can remember, my family has taken a yearly travel to the beach. Through the changes in my life (divorce, lost friends, and the like) the beach seemed to always be a safe-haven for me. So, the summer before my senior year, my family traveled to Corolla, North Carolina for the first time. I hoped for relaxation; what I got was much more than expected.
The first surprise upon our arrival on the island was the lacking cell phone reception, which—much to the dismay of myself, my sister, and my best friend—only weakened as we traveled further up the island. What would we do for a week without the technology to feed our teenage addictions? We would soon find out.
QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
We pulled up to our beach house, with the punny name of “Nx2C,” already quite distressed, to find the place where we would enjoy swinging on the hammock outside whilst reading a novel, having late night conversations, playing board games and really losing our earthly bonds as we forgot our lack of communication with the rest of the world. By the end of the week, unbeknownst to us at the time, we would not want to leave.
The first adventure, though, lay behind the scenes of the little town. Bicycles were waiting to be ridden, and we three girls decided to journey into town to see what we could find. After trekking a few paths we discovered the Island Bookstore, which, being book-worms, we found as an escape and excuse to buy souvenirs. Across the unpaved parking lot of the Historic Corolla Village, Lovie’s Kitchen Table, a specialty foods and coffee spot hummed in our minds and stomachs. We might have come for the beach, but we stayed for the local love, as we discovered that unexpected paths can lead to magnificent treasures. We rode our bikes to this personal bookstore café nearly every morning, but it was where our bikes could not take us that, for me, the real memories were made.
One morning, I woke the girls up at the crack of dawn, not for a ride, but for a view. I had always wanted to see the sunrise, with its lavish spectacle of colors ranging from my favorite, orange, to Rachel’s beloved purple; and so, went to see it we did, despite our longing for sleep. The peace of the empty beach is still to this day one of my favorite experiences, along with a few other sights that were captured during our adventures.
With my family’s help, I lengthened my list of firsts that week: defying my fear of heights parasailing over the Roanoke and Currituck Sounds, driving a vehicle other than a car while jet skiing, and meeting wild horses that the island is known for, getting my dad’s minivan stuck in the sand on the way. These may sound like normal adventures for any seasoned beach go-er, but the truth was that while I had always dreamed of being brave and daring, I usually only took the risk of contracting cancer from the sun as I lay, tanning my skin safely on the sand and reading of other’s adventures, as I had previously spent nearly 17 years of vacations. The extraordinary part of this summer was not that it was the summer before everything changed, but it was the summer that I made the decision to change. No longer would I lie down upon the lazy sands and let the passionate winds pass me by. That week in Corolla, I decided to live standing up, with my arms outstretched, taking flight.
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