Leather seats with oversized pillows, hostess serving chicken and apple juice, 39,000 feet above civilization, clouds overshadowing the wings, front-row views of sunsets.
That was everything my trip was not. No leather seats. No first class. My family makes it their duty to visit at least one national park on every trip. In the past year, my father worked for an airplane company, which meant monthly travels to a new destination: Vancouver, Seattle, San Diego, Orlando, Chicago, Portland, Quebec, India, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, Reno, you name it. However, this luxury ended quick, and we resorted back to long road trips where we’re all forced to…
SEMI-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
As an angsty teenager, this is the one situation we all dread. “How was school today?” “Why aren’t your grades up?” “Who is this boy and what are his grades?” “Why do you have to go to this party tonight?” “Why aren’t you studying?” “Why can’t you fold your sheets, make your bed, make a lunch, get a job, maintain straight As, and exercise? Is that too much to ask?”
The road began to Yellowstone National Park from Phoenix began with a groan and a nap. Fourteen dreaded hours in one sitting position in a full car. What could go wrong? I thought as long as I have my camera and my iPod full of new downloaded songs, this trip could live up to the Disney World trip or the India trip. Wrong. I forgot the AUX cord. Somewhere. I don’t know where. I still can’t find it. So, no more music. That’s okay because I still have my headphones. Four hours later, my iPod died and I realized I forgot my charger, too. Ten hours left… After many more failures, I succumbed to my younger sister’s desire to play UNO and my parent’s desire to play old Indian songs.
The gates of Yellowstone opened on the fourth of July for us. A new, profound experience was ahead of us. The only thing that could stop in our way is a … BISON? Yes, we waited for the bison to pass for thirty minutes. Words cannot even describe the beauty of this park: soaring waterfalls, hot springs, bursting geysers, grassy plains full of bison and bears, reflecting lakes, mountainous treks, perky little squirrels.
Hikes with my mother (and possibly a bear) at six in the morning to see a unique view of Old Faithful motivated and reminded me to not be pessimistic and more easy-going. Becoming more spontaneous and relaxed was an effortless transition from my stressful schedule back in Phoenix. At every attraction board, I would force my parents to stop and enjoy the view of falls or the wildlife or the sunset to the point where my parents locked the doors and closed the roof to the car. This trip opened up a new side to everyone in the family for the better.
To be completely honest, this was not the ideal vacation. I slept on a cot for a week and most of us caught a cold by the end of this trip. Friends on Instagram post of beach pictures from Aruba or extravagant dinners in Paris. This was better than Paris and Aruba. Before this trip, I hesitated every time any one asked my sister’s age, I barely knew about my parent’s past, and I never knew about the miraculous adventures of my grandmother. I’m grateful to have spend my birthday with such inspiring family and dedicated rangers in a treasured park full of history and charm. Regardless of what people may say, nature binds people like no other trip.
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