The summer of my 15th birthday I was given a choice by my parents. I had the choice of having a quinceñera, as most of the young ladies in my Guatemalan/Salvadoran family had done, or taking a trip to Hawaii. I had never been a very girly-girl, as you could say, so my choice was not a hard one.
SEMI-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
On the morning of June 5, 2013, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach, with a grin from ear to ear on my face, knowing that it was the beginning of my week-long trip to paradise. We loaded up the car, headed to the airport and arrived in Maui.
The first thing I noticed as I stepped off of the plane and into the airport lobby of Maui, was the humidity and the smell. The air was sweet, it gave the word sweet a brand new definition. To this day, nothing quite compares to the smell of fresh flowers, sweat, and the scent of the sun beating down on the pavement. The humidity was a different thing in its entirety as well. For the first time in my life, I welcomed the beads of sweat that accumulated on the top of my sunglasses while we drove to our hotel, the sun was warming my skin. The sweat caused by the humidity seemed to just be a symptom of happiness, and as a metaphor, I would get sick with that on my trip.
The hotel room gave me one of my most treasured memories from that trip. The room had a balcony, a balcony I got to myself as a result of it being in my room. Every evening I was able to witness the spectacle that is a sunset in Maui. From the moment the colors of the sky mixed with vibrant pinks and oranges, until the sun made the horizon its grave, and the promise of another day in paradise grew closer.
The days in Maui were almost as good as watching the sunsets, tucked into a chair while reading my favorite book. During the days, my family and I would take walks downtown, see the many tourist t-shirt places and make comments about how locals probably found comedy in the ridiculous number of stores selling the same things. I would walk the streets of downtown, and every now and then see the lost petal of a flower rolling along the pavement. I, unlike that petal, felt like I had found a second home in that little paradise. Any worry that had plagued me before felt completely nonexistent, like the mere idea of it was so temporary that a small laugh from my mouth could make it disappear from my mind.
After getting some poke for dinner, which had become as much of a tradition that could be created in the span of a week, I would to take a swim in the calm, warm water of the ocean.
On the last day I had in Maui, I headed downstairs where there was direct access to the beach. I took my time walking to the waves and let the sand invade the space between my toes. I welcomed the sand and looked back at the footprints I left, knowing that this was the last time my feet would be able to leave their temporary mark. I swam like I usually did, with the cool air above me and the warm water engulfing me. I never felt more like a mermaid than I did on that trip. After enough time passed that I had the excuse of saying I had lost track of time, I headed back upstairs to my parents where they greeted me with big smiles. I said goodbye to my little paradise that night, but as a result, I was welcomed with memories I will never forget.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.