California: San Diego
Any time I would be doing an ice breaker that required a fun fact my go-to was always the fact that I was [insert age] and had never seen the ocean. The way my life went, I just never got around to it. Well, now, at 22 I can't use that as my fun fact any more. My Mom had a business conference in San Diego, and she asked if I wanted to go. I said yes because who doesn't want to escape the cold for a few days in February, tell their professors goodbye, and see the sun. I thought it would be a good Rx for the bad case of senioritis I've developed. So, I said yes and packed my bags.
Day 1: After hours on hours in the airport waiting to leave, a hellish flight to LA, and a very late arrival, I was glad to get some sleep before my first day exploring the city. The biggest question I faced had to do with transportation. Cab? Nah. I used two things - Car2Go and Uber. Both were great and served different purposes. I was proud of myself for navigating around the city both on foot and via car. I also managed to visit the USS Midway Museum - educational and awesome. The highlight of the day had to be meeting a 98 year old man outside near the monument for the USS San Diego. He is the last living member of the crew, and frankly, he's amazing. Meeting him was a humbling experience to say the least.
Day 2:The second day was spent exploring more of the city. I wanted to go visit the campus of San Diego University because it was only about 10 minutes from where I was, and has a chapter of my sorority. I didn't get to meet any sisters while on campus, but it was neat to get to check out another campus - that wasn't closed for snow. I spent that afternoon at the zoo, which was wildly impressive.
Day 3: This was my big day. This was the day I got to see the ocean. I started with whale watching. It was great, and I got to see some whales, dolphins, and sea lions in addition to other wild life. However, discovering that I get sea sick and spending the next two hours wondering if I was going to be "that girl" giving her breakfast to the Pacific Ocean made the trip less than wonderful. After that, I met up with my Mom and we hit the beach. We walked along the boardwalk, collected shells, shopped, gathered sand, ate at a local restaurant, and just took in the waves of the Pacific.
When it came time to go home, I was actually kinda sad. I'd loved the sun, the beach, the life. It was a "big" city, but wasn't scary or overwhelming. I'd go back in a heartbeat. I was sad to say goodbye and return to the land of snow and ice, but coming home to find signs and decorations my siblings had made to welcome me home made it totally worth it. I've always felt that air travel was slightly magical. I mean, there's a giant hunk of metal and it's going up in the air. That's cool. And magic. I can only hope that when I start traveling for work it won't lose its magic. My desire to travel is what gave me that last push to take the post-grad job I accepted, and I can only hope for many more adventures.