Author's Name: Jasmine L. Written Age: 16 Traveled Age: 15
I honestly did not know what to expect from my vacation to the West Coast. Social media portrayed it to look amazing with breathtaking views, but what was it actually like? Life seemed perfect there, but was I really a fair judge? I had been living my life stuck indoors, peering through a screen of edited and flawless social media photos. A picture could only tell so much, an edited picture even less, yet an experience could convey an entire story. I realized this adventure could let my curious mind figure out just what the world had to offer.
The two-week trip, through Nevada, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, provided us with an endless selection of interesting landscapes to look at. We drove through arid rocky areas, yellow grasslands, sandy deserts, mountains, old forests, and much more. At each turn, I marveled at the beauty of nature.
While the countless hours spent in the car, driving from city to city, were dreadful, I soon realized it was a great opportunity to strengthen our family’s communication. I appreciated that the car ride forced us to talk, both seriously and humorously since it was better than listening to an awkward silence. The many McDonald’s drive-thrus, gas station snacks, and emergency bathroom breaks on the highway only made this experience more memorable.
My favorite part of the trip was going to Yosemite State Park in California. Entering the park, it was as if modernization had never happened. Buildings and man-made objects disappeared into the distance as trees, wildlife, and mountains engulfed us. The sound of noisy car engines and screeching tires were replaced with chirping birds and towering trees. The lack of service and signal made my phone, the object which dictated how I spent my whole life, become useless. This made me notice the new landscape, the new smell, the new feel, and well - the new everything around me, which was something that I could never experience from just looking at a photo. All these sensations registering at once became overwhelming, but also beautiful in a way that words cannot describe. My eyes were not blinded by the fluorescent lights of a light bulb; instead, they blinked in the natural light of the sun. It made me remember the beauty of nature, the beauty I had forgotten and ignored in the previous months while cooped up inside.
This vacation has influenced not only me but also my family even to this day. We now go out more, especially to a nearby park. Going out to connect with nature has become something I look forward to and a stress reliever. Even though I’m back home on the East Coast, I will forever have the lessons and memories of the West Coast with me.