July 3, 2014
I usually wake up to skyscraping buildings and rush hour traffic and I’m used to the sound of police sirens and rowdy Lakers’ fans roaming the streets at night. I live in Downtown, Los Angeles and have spent most of every summer here my entire life. But I have a feeling things are about to change.
This weekend, my local church is sponsoring a family trip to Idyllwild Pines, a camping community in the San Jacinto Mountains. 100 miles away from the city doesn’t seem that great of a distance. Nonetheless, I feel both anxious and excited.
I leave tonight and I think I’m ready.
July 4, 2014
Today, I didn’t wake up to the usual surroundings of LA. Instead, I woke up at 5:30 AM for a 5-mile hike. For every police siren going off back home, I heard little bees buzzing around me. For every Lakers fan roaming the streets, I was accompanied by laughing friends along the dirt trail. And for every tall building I’ve ever seen, I saw even more and even taller bright green trees.
I never witnessed such natural beauty until I reached the peak of that mountain and watched the sun rise exactly as I settled down.
Still encompassed by towering trees and dirt trails now, I am reveling in this moment for as long as I can.
July 5, 2014
My church mates and I just finished playing cheesy get-to-know-you games and running past hula-hoop and jump-rope obstacle courses on the most beautiful grassland.
One woman asked me to watch her son while she ran to restroom, so he and I walked away from the oh-so-dangerous activities to sit on the grass. I grabbed a pack of chips from my bag and he grabbed that from me. Instead of scolding him for not asking politely, I laughed because he and his mother became so comfortable with me so soon. He laughed too. And then he grabbed my sun-hat.
Within an hour of playing games with family, friends, and even strangers, I got to know a few people better. That made me realize I want to get to know more people. Not just now and now just here.
July 6, 2014
After lunch, Dad and I made our way back to the tent. Out of mere admiration of the dried up river we walked by, we spent the next hour venturing through bushes and mossy puddles as if we were live on an episode of Man vs. Wild. Climbing large rocks and jumping over little ones, exploring the river was a hilarious, dangerous, and absolutely fascinating experience.
I most definitely want to do this again.
July 7, 2014
I’m on my way home and I honestly don’t want to leave. It’s amazing. In three days, I only began to appreciate the beauty of a single community. However, even though I’m leaving, this time it’s different. I am more excited than I am anxious to go home because I have new knowledge. I have learned some of the most important aspects of traveling: there are exciting adventures to go on, wonderful people to meet, and countless destinations to enjoy. Thanks to this short but impactful trip, I have decided I’m not going to spend the rest of my summers in LA. The world has so much more to offer than skyscraping buildings and rush hour traffic. I will take what I have learned, and alongside family, friends, and perhaps even strangers, I will begin my exploration.
I know I’m ready.
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