Behind the Scenes of Traveling for a Week Straight: What I learned on my Spring Break

Life is about traveling outside of your comfort zone. If you’re not feeling a bit uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. Growing requires discomfort. In order to grow, you need to leave your comfort zone and be vulnerable in the open. Only there, can you accept new ideas openly.

This Spring Break Conner and I traveled down the Southern Coast of California for a week straight stopping in Santa Barbara, Ventura, the Santa Cruz Island, Huntington Beach, Venice Beach, and San Diego. We took the Pacific Coast Highway and sailed along the water which was straight out of a daydream, but with daydreams come nightmares. There were a lot of challenges we faced by traveling a week straight on the trip. Traveling has its high’s and low’s and you have to have the face low’s to get to appreciate the high’s. 

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When we got to where we were staying on the first night away from our sheltered Central Coast city of San Luis Obispo, we were both certainly uncomfortable, but also very excited. It sounds a bit dramatic, but we’re definitely not the same people we were when we left. We learned a lot about ourselves, and the world.

The lessons we learned on our trip are as follows:

Traveling for a week straight can be pretty exhausting. We had nowhere to be during the day to just have a place to rest, because we stayed in a different hostel each night. I left my winter jacket (the bane of my existence, I get cold a lot…) in a hostel in Venice Beach. It was the fourth day of our trip and I was very sleep deprived so I got much more upset about it than I should’ve when I realized it was gone. I was angry at myself for being so irresponsible…but people make mistakes. And usually these kind of small mistakes are very fixable with a little help. This leads me to my next lesson. People usually want to help you out. 

People in many parts of the world are generally good, so have faith. It is important to remember to look out for yourself in unfamiliar places but it is also important to trust and to have confidence in the humans around you. My jacket was in the lost and found at the hostel. No one had stolen it and it was right where I had left it in the storage room. I was so cynical believing that there was no chance I would get it back and that certainly someone has spotted this expensive jacket and decided it was theirs, but we called the hostel and the woman working put it aside for us to pick up on our way home the next day.

Another representation of a time we practiced trust was in La Jolla when I was trying to fit my car into a parking spot inches to small for even my tiny car, and a dad with his two kids saw me struggling among the flow of busy traffic to parallel park my car. He knocked on the window and asked if we needed a hand. I was skeptical and almost declined his offer, but he looked like a good guy. He handed his coffee and hat to his kids next to him and proceeded to do the best parallel parking job I have ever seen. There are a lot of bad people in the world but also a lot of good.

You don’t have to know where you’re going to have a successfully good time. There’s a difference between having no idea what’s happening/where you’re going, and having the desire to explore the world with no plan. We did plan out most of our trip to ensure a safe and successful vacation, but some of the best parts of the trip were the parts where we didn’t have a particular destination in mind. On Santa Cruz Island we picked a hike in a direction that looked nice because Conner doesn’t like maps or recipes (which is odd because he’s a straight forward thinking engineer) and it was a beautiful hike along the plateau of the island that ended in a secluded beach which the bluest water I’ve ever seen. When we were in Venice Beach we wandered along the boardwalk and came upon a street show with the Calypso Tumblers and watched them backflip over a dude who was six feet tall. In the Gas Lamp Quarter of San Diego we wandered along the main drag and came upon a restaurant called Cafe 21 and watched a woman flamenco dance and shared the best chocolate crepe cake of my life. Life is about the journey and not always the destination, so enjoy the ride. 

Let yourself let loose every once in a while! I’m not great at napping or at sleeping in general but in Santa Barbara we went to the Salt Caves and did a meditation session which included me falling asleep and waking up feeling more refreshed than I would have after a full night’s rest. Shortly after we went on a hike to inspiration point where I ate back all the calories I had burned on the hike by sharing (and finishing) a whole bag of jelly beans with Conner at the summit. I indulged in an ice cream at Salt and Straw, I devoured the tiramasu french toast at Brockton Villa in La Jolla, and decided to donate money to a very wise young monk in Balboa Park (using a card reader on his own iPhone…? He says they’re wealthy La Jolla monks…). He then gave me a book on “the human purpose” and his blessing at which point, I’m totally serious, the sun came out for the first time that day. Thank you, buddhist sun God. 

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The world is a very big place with a lot of adventures still to be had, so do not have fear. We met a variety of people from a variety of cultures in the world in our hostels who taught us about where they were from and gave us advice for our future travels. Turns out, even European kids like a good game of beer pong in the States. If you’re afraid of falling, then you can never fly, and you will not make it to the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail in La Jolla on the edge of a cliff. You will not make it to the edge of potato chip rock at the top of Mt. Woodsen. You won’t make a new Australian friend who spent the last three months surfing his way through Mexico.

There’s a lot to learn about the world around that you can’t learn reading a book or online, but simply by exploring. We learned about the difference between sea lions and seals up close, what roads to take in LA traffic (and how to deal with the angry LA commuters). We learned about a difference in safety between exploring Venice at night vs the Gas Lamp Quarter in San Diego at night, and how the entire fire department of San Diego will send seven fire trucks to your hostel at 3am if one person smells smoke in the laundry room (which is good to know how prepared they are). We learned about the difference between many character types of hostels in terms of their particular essences such as how social they are, what amenities they have, and what stories their inhabitants tell. 

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Even though it was only a 6 day trip it was an amazing Spring Break. We hit 8 different beaches in the six different days and traveled over 600 miles meeting people from many diverse countries to find out that the world is a big place which is meant to be explored if only you’re brave enough to get out of your comfort zone.

 

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Memoirs of a Waitress

I get bored of things quickly… Wait that sounds really bad. I need to have new experiences often. There, that sounded better. I like to be out of my comfort zone whether it be plunging toward Earth from 13,000 feet skydiving, exploring Mayan ruins on a family trip to Cancun Yucatan, or driving 20 miles to the nearest undiscovered coffee shop to write this article and enjoy a latte from a new barista. 

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This year I lived in San Luis Obispo for the first half of my Summer, taking a botany lab (I will NEVER look at trees the same way again) and working my three jobs. One was as a copywriter for the Cal Poly Corporation, a job that I love and am blessed to have. Another was an unpaid internship for the San Luis Obispo downtown association where I met some amazing people and set up/cleaned for the weekly Concert’s in the Plaza. The third was waitressing.

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I have been in retail, I have been a barista, but I had never tried to be a server before. The possibility of it excited me, so I applied to a friend’s restaurant in town and was told I would start my training the first week of my summer in SLO.

There were so many thoughts running through my head the first day of training. First off, it’s much more difficult than it looks to hold the trays with four full plates of food than we give our servers credit for. Even pouring or refilling water takes a certain amount of learned skill: you can’t splash the customer, and you have to make sure to not let any ice pass through the opening of the pitcher if they request a lack of ice. It seems easy, but believe me it takes more concentration than we appreciate as customers! 

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By being a server for the first time this Summer, I learned some life lessons I would really like to share with you for the next time you go to a restaurant and there’s a young bouncy blonde there who takes your order, who’s looking to make you have a positive experience eating (and hoping for a generous tip). 

As a server, I was trying really hard to do my best and of course as a human I would make mistakes. The craft beers sometimes were colored the same color (they’re all some variation of brown!) and if I gave a couple each other’s drinks I really appreciated if they didn’t make a big deal out of it and just switched without being hard on me. Patience goes a long way and is appreciated both as a server, and just in life, so be patient with people. We’re all human and make mistakes.

A smile also goes a long way. I was serving at a american-german fusion restaurant and we would have a lot of international touring customers, who didn’t always speak great English. You know what’s universal in every language? A genuine smile. It’s friendly and open and makes both you and your server more relaxed even if you don’t actually speak the same tongue and allows you to communicate without using actual words which is amazing. So, smile more! 

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I like learning your story. When I was working and it was slower at the restaurant, I liked taking the time to talk to the customers about where they were from and telling them my story: I’m a third year Journalism major at the local University who stayed in beautiful San Luis Obispo this summer to get ahead in classes and make some extra cash in the place I love. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to people and tell them your story because it makes your world and their world a more dynamic place.

Don’t forget why you’re here. So you came to eat at the restaurant and enjoy your meal? I’m here for the experience of serving you and learning the skills it takes to be a server, as well as learning your story and hearing your life advice. Sometimes we get too focused on the next step (eating, then leaving or serving, then earning the tip) to enjoy why we’re here (for the experience). Take advantage of the time you have while you’re here, slow down, and enjoy it.

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You’re going to get knocked down sometimes. There are going to be bad times as well as the good. I remember being embarrassed because my manager got very upset with me for not pouring a draft beer correctly, when in reality I am a 20 year old who had never consistently poured draft beer in my life before I started the job 3 weeks before that and who isn’t even allowed to legally drink beer in the first place in the United States. I took the criticism very personally and beat myself up for his reprimands. But then I realized it was one mistake and that I’m too tough to take something as silly as his criticism personally and I got over it. People are going to be rude to you in life and try to bring you down, but the important thing is to know how to get back up when you’re down, and to keep getting up. 

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Impressed I learned all of this simply by being a waitress at a german american fusion restaurant for a month and a half? Try something new and I guarantee you will learn more and faster than you ever could have by staying in your comfort zone and feeling safe. Go ahead, do it! The reward is worth the risk.

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Happy 1st birthday, adulthood blog: Why I am so Grateful for All of You

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It has been one year since I started this blog. Happy birthday, Adulthood blog. I’d like to say a little thank you to all of you who read it.

Why I am so grateful for all of you

I like writing, and I always have. Some people like drawing. Some people like building. Some people like solving complex math or physics problems. Everyone has their own creative outlet, and ever since I learned how letters fit together to form words, mine has been writing.

I don’t write to make money. I don’t write to gain popularity. I write because I want to gain  meaning and to share that meaning with as many people as I possibly can. I want to share my inspiration while inspiring others as well.

When someone contacts me and tells me that something that I wrote made them feel something or that something I wrote meant something to them, that is when I feel like I have made it. Even though I am only a 20 year old college student with little influence in the greater world, I know that I can make the difference in other people’s individual lives through my words which is an extremely powerful force.

Nothing makes me prouder than when someone tells me that my words relate to them and made them feel something, because that’s how we connect with others: sharing identifying  feelings.

I’m lucky enough to have an outlet for my words and I’m lucky enough to have people who care about me and about my thoughts and the words that I say. I just wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for every single one of you. If you’re reading these words right now, thank you. I want you to know you’re important to me.

I look forward to continuing on my journey and improving my skills and confidence and being inspired by everything ever as I grow older and maybe wiser and hopefully gain a stronger voice in the writing world.

Being Alone is NOT Being Lonely: It’s Opportunity

Whether you’re venturing off into the world studying abroad, or living in your college town by yourself this Summer, by “being on your own” you get to learn a lot about yourself and the world you live in.

This Summer, I’m back in SLO for the Summer “on my own,” and it’s incredible to see how much I have grown as a person since I first attempted to take care of myself last Summer when I moved back to SLO a few weeks earlier than everyone else. Through these two experiences, I have learned a few very important lessons that have made me grow up quicker and I’m grateful for those lessons very much.

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“Studying” on the beach…my notebook got sandy.

1) Freedom Teaches you Responsibility

Within reason, of course. There’s no schedule you have to follow when you’re on your own, and you learn to make your own choices and deal with the outcome of those choices. Being by yourself is the ultimate freedom and it means that there’s no one stopping you from doing what you want to do whenever you want to do it. However, you have to learn to balance the freedom of doing what you want with the responsibility of being an adult. Choosing to make the right decisions is a skill that can only be learned when you have that freedom to make your own decisions in the first place.

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The New Discovery of a Corner Coffee Shop

2) Try New Things

Getting out of your comfort zone is empowering. When you feel safe, it seems like everything is nice and stable and good and warm and fuzzy. Sometimes, it takes some instability, and the removal of your safety net to make you realize how you are stronger than you thought. You learn about yourself and you learn how to meet new people and be more outgoing, you begin to try new things you wouldn’t have before, and you begin to grow as a person. Change is scary but not moving forward is even scarier. Take advantage of the new opportunities you have RIGHT NOW, and you will be rewarded!

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Getting to know new people who teach you new things

3) Not Having Something There All The Time Makes You Appreciate It More

Often during the school year I’m too busy to stop and slow down and appreciate what makes my life as full as it is. Even if these things are not physically present for me right now over the Summer, such as my family, my best friends, and my boyfriend, I know that they are always going to be there for me a phone call or a short trip away. This makes me grateful to be where I am and look forward to enjoying time with them when I can in the future. It also makes me realize how grateful I am to be able to live in a beautiful city like San Luis Obispo, with so many things to do to occupy myself in my newfound free time.

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Getting the chance to finally hike to the “M” on Madonna

4) People are Friendly.

Seriously. I know I live in San Luis Obispo which is supposedly the happiest city in America and this most likely does help with the whole “friendliness” thing, but there hasn’t been one day I have been here on my own where I haven’t met and connected with someone new. Whether it be in class, at work, at my internship, at a coffee shop, or just food shopping at Target, there’s always someone new to connect with. Put yourself out there, be friendly, and the universe will take care of the rest.

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Meeting people at coffee shops is easy…also I spend way too much money on coffee

5) Stay connected with those you love

I enjoy it so much when a friend or family member contacts me, because it shows that they care. They care about you greatly even when you’re not together. Even if you’re not physically together right now, keep up your connections with people you love because they’re always going to be important to you, and because when you do inevitably feel lonely, they’re going to make you feel a million times better.

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Conner and I watch Game of Thrones over the phone together on Sunday Nights

Sometimes I feel like there’s a stigma against being by yourself when you’re young. That if you’re alone in a restaurant or solo hiking, it means that you have no one to accompany you which makes you worth less. But that’s not true. As long as you have a balance of being social and spending time with yourself, by being by yourself you get the opportunity to appreciate your own company. You learn more about yourself than you ever could if you were constantly distracting yourself by keeping busy.

The truth of it is, even though it’s sometimes harder to come home to an empty apartment or be lacking someone to share dinner with, I still enjoy being in a place of so much opportunity for me and a place that I thrive. If you feel this way too, know that you’re in the right place and that you’re going to grow and learn so much about yourself through this time. And remember that you’re never truly alone.

Why Travel is the Best Gift You Can Get This Christmas

 

It’s Christmas morning and you’re in college. Your generous extended family members aren’t sure what to get you exactly, so they cut you a check.

Now you decide: Do you spend it on a material item like new boots, or something intangible like a weekend trip?

I love to explore, travel, find new experiences and try new things. Traveling expands your mind and opens you up to new possibilities.

These kind of gifts are priceless. Only, they’re not. A day at the slopes or a week long vacation costs a lot of money, but I would much rather have these trips than a new name brand sweater or the latest iPad.You’re taking money out of your bank account, but making your mind richer.

 

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A hiking/camping trip I went on in Idyllwild, CA

 

Material items only provide satisfaction in the short run, while the reward of memories and culture of traveling will last a lifetime. It’s kind of like making an investment. The happiness we get from an experience increases in value over time. Nothing can replace these memories that make up a part of who you are, and these memories make you learn and grow.

It can be a difficult decision, because when you spend your money on a new pair of expensive jeans, they’re tangible. You can feel the jeans and see the jeans and show off the new jeans. But when you use your money to go skydiving, it’s an expensive personal experience that only lasts a few minutes, but is well worth the memories and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

 

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My first time skydiving

 

Material items are not a part of you, whereas the memories and experiences you get from traveling connect you with others, and satisfy you for longer. So… go use the Christmas money to go on that weekend trip you’ve been dreaming about the whole semester!  And then write a thank you note telling the one who paid for your trip how grateful you are for their contribution to the elevation of your quality of life.

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Second year Quarter 1 and Done

Fall Quarter 2015 Adjectives:

  • Exhausting
  • Rewarding
  • Fulfilling

This quarter went out with a bang… and by bang I mean me getting really really sick with pneumonia and coughing a lot… like a bang.

The quarter started out with one of the most exhausting and rewarding experiences of my life: The 10 week training process of becoming an orientation leader for Cal Poly with me roomie/sorority sis as my co leader, became worth it the first week back in SLO. We were in charge of introducing our 15 little “wowies” (incoming freshmen) to the SLO area and school by doing activities with them 16 hours a day for a week straight. And they’ve grown up so much these past few months! I am so proud of them all.

I made a few new great relationships and strengthened existing ones through being an orientation leader at Cal Poly.

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Group 203… We reeeeeally love fetty. I swear every time you hear Trap Queen you’re gonna think of us now 😉

Then came sorority recruitment which was also one of the most exhausting experiences of my life, but through which I also made many new relationships with new members and strengthened the existing ones with my sisters through the 12-14 hours a day we spent at the house for a week.

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Me and my biggie throwing what we know in front of an iconic SLO sunset after a busy day of recruitment 😉

I was so worried after recruitment I wasn’t gonna find a little I connected with as I connected with my big. I went on soooo many dates with soooo many wonderful new members. And I have literally no experience in the field of going out and dating. When I went on a froyo date with one girl in particular I knew: This girl is me but taller and a grade younger… That’s how I met my wonderful and perfect little! 🙂 I love you, leeeeetle.

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TLAM ❤

Half way through the quarter I was offered a part time job at the busiest Starbucks in the history of the world at the Cal Poly University Union, which has been an exhausting and rewarding experience as well. I know exactly what’s in your PSL and I now spend more money at Starbucks than I did before I worked there. And I have zero raaagrets.

There were many things I learned this quarter, and a lot I still have left to learn. There’s no set path in life, or a manual to show you what to do and when, it’s something you kind of figure out as you go along.

Becoming professional and looking more into career based opportunities has become a higher priority, but is something I find trouble navigating by myself. Luckily I have many resources and people to show me the way.

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It will show us the waaaay

This fall quarter we have made it through the good and the bad, like losing my keys many times and finding them in really weird places, getting a Cat named Ralph who is literally crazy and likes to lick inside the sink, and every other exhausting rewarding and fulfilling adventure in between.

Goodbye fall quarter of my second year, you were incredibly stressful, but the hard work was always worth it (Maybe not the pneumonia I am still recovering from, but experience wise, it was pretty great).

Welcome winter quarter, and all the new kinds of opportunities you bring for the future.

 

 

How you doin??

They say that we make time for things we care about. Well, don’t you care about yourself? It can be hard to give yourself enough attention when you’re constantly giving all of it away to others.college

I havent written in more than a month, because I have been so busy with Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome as an orientation leader and an active member in sorority recruitment, then catching up on the schoolwork, and making time for everything else like eating and occasionally sleeping. It’s been pretty overwhelming.

My first wake up call was when I freaked out about the school career fair and made a big purchase on a trip that I realized I didn’t actually want to go on in an identity crisis (luckily I got my money refunded because #poorcollegestudent), and my second wake up call was this morning when I couldn’t find my wallet, so I couldn’t eat because I didn’t have any money (it was in the wallet) couldn’t check out my textbooks at the library to do homework (my ID for school was also in my wallet) and I couldn’t provide any form of identification for my new job (yay!) because my license was… you guessed it, in my wallet. It was a strugglebusanigif_enhanced-buzz-20262-1366915892-22

But then I found my wallet on top of the fire extinguisher in our bathroom which I didn’t even until today, know existed.

Luckily through all of this I had friends to give me my food 6357658891044770381193990467_Friends-tv-Show-Quotes-2-300x218and help check out books, because your friends are like your family and a main support when you’re “on your own” as a young adult (you know who you are) but it made me realize that sometimes it’s more important to take time for yourself so that sh*t doesn’t hit the fan and have a ripple effect on everything else you were moderately successfully trying to balance.

Therefore as an act of self care (which I am learning about in my Sociology 110 class, thanks Liz Johnston) I am going to write a blog every Friday (or more), because I am a journalism major and I greatly miss writing for fun. Enjoy the debauchery.tumblr_inline_mss5k8Ab0w1qz4rgp